By on November 1, 2012

“I wouldn’t ask too much of her,” I ventured. “You can’t repeat the past.” “Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!” He looked around him wildly, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand. “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, nodding determinedly. “She’ll see.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

The idea that modern cars are dull, derivative and devoid of character has been gaining a lot of currency over the past few years. In truth, it’s nothing new. In LJK Setright’s heyday, he was already advancing this trope, while claiming the cars of post-war period were the last of the breed as far as emotional stirring transportation was concerned.

The relative nature of driving and the nostalgia that goes hand in hand with cars from a bygone era has kept this notion alive. Anyone who has left a lover, re-united with them and then broke it off for good, knows that the heightened expectations and euphoria that accompanies the initial re-union quickly gives way to the sobering reality of bad habits and feelings of contempt. Owning a classic car has many parallels.

In September, when I had the chance to drive not one but two of the greatest sports cars of the 1990s; both were 1993 models, with less than 30,000 original miles, and both were Mazdas. One was a privately owned MX-5, the other an RX-7, owned by Mazda Canada that lived most of its life sitting dormant in a warehouse. Both are now as close to showroom as possible, driven sparingly and maintained with painstaking care.

As a Miata owner, the 1.6L car is the benchmark against which every other Miata is measured, but I’d never driven one. My first example was a first-generation 1.8L car that I adored and neglected. It was the exact car I coveted in high school, the ultra-rare British Racing Green on Tan version that was a Canadian exclusive, and and that car and I became permanently intertwined. So much so that when I bought my second Miata, a 2003, my friends objected largely on the basis that “it wasn’t the green one”  and could never measure up. The second generation car is barely heavier, a fair bit more powerful and much easier to live with every day compared to my 1.8L NA. But the 1.6L is even better.

On paper, the differences between these two cars are negligible, but there is an very tangible lightness to the 1.6L cars that was somehow lost in 1994, when the larger motor was added. The 1.6L motor is livelier than the big-bore Miata, freer revving and displaying much more charm. Make no mistake, this car is still slow, but there are benefits too. The 100 extra pounds make a huge difference in the way the car responds to lateral movements, and the skinny, low-grip tires only enhance the feeling that you are driving a Smurf-blue bathtub mounted on a skateboard.

Most early Miatas in this part of the world have been ravaged by the grind of harsh roads and even harsher weather. This car’s owner is particularly meticulous, maintaining it only with original parts and an obsessive maintenance schedule. Despite the 36,000 kilometers on the clock, it’s had three timing belt changes throughout its life, with a fourth due up soon [this was initially reported incorrectly as eight changes - Ed]. This car is intended to be an heirloom, and that alone stops me from really laying into it and extracting every last molecule of performance.

This paradox the main reason why I’d never own a car like this; every time you drive it, there is an infinitesimal degradation of its condition that can never be regained. After a few years of enjoying it like a Miata should be enjoyed, the chassis will flex, the seats with crack and the paint will fade. There is no counterpart that can absorb the ravages of age by proxy, Dorian Grey-style. I could never live my life knowing that something capable of bringing me so much joy could only be used sparingly, on rare occasions when conditions are perfect. But the owner is a much more disciplined and mature human being than I am, and those moments, often spent with his wife or daughter in the passenger seat, are likely that much more satisfying.

Despite what the Miata zealots will tell you, the current NC does capture that urgency and visceral fun, even if it’s a bit heavier, with a higher beltline and goofy front end styling. I would happily take one, and not be afraid to go and do donuts in a shopping mall parking lot after a fresh snowfall, lest I get salt on it. The heated seats would keep me warm, and the folding hardtop would add another layer of insulation, even if it felt like an albatross around the car’s neck.

It would be a compromise for sure, but if I ever needed to remind myself of what I was missing out on, the genuine article would only be a phone call away.

Stay tuned for Part 2, featuring the RX-7 and the car’s trademark habit of catastrophic mechanical failure

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54 Comments on “Capsule Comparison Part 1: 1993 Mazda Miata...”


  • avatar
    ...m...

    (“against which every other miata is measured”)

  • avatar
    jrhmobile

    Certainly you don’t want to defile someone else’s heirloom, but if it’s your car, you can enjoy it like a brand new car of your memories.

    There’s a lot to be said for buying a pristine older vehicle and treat it like a car. Enjoyable transportation. It’s a lot more fun to live in a time capsule than it is to just look at it from afar.

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …the problem is that cars which have predominantly set throughout their lifetime, rather than been driven the way they were intended, tend to develop a host of hidden issues which can seriously compromise their reliability, as we’re about to see illustrated in part two…

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Actually there’s a raft of low-mileage older Miatas out there which are plenty reliable. Mechanically simple and with an excellent aftermarket, they’re a driving enthusiast’s best-kept secret; most owners are mature people who garage them in bad weather and drive them, gently, only on nice days. Most tuner boys won’t touch them because of the testicles-in-a-handbag stigma, which means there are lots of near-pristine examples waiting to be plucked, turboed/LS swapped, and thrashed in the hills and on race tracks. There’s a reason why they say, “The new Miata’s biggest competition is a used Miata.”

      The FD, on the other hand, is an engine-blowing reliability nightmare, but it was like that when it was new, too…

      • 0 avatar
        70Cougar

        I had a 1990 that had 75k miles on it when I sold it in 2007, and it would sit for months at a time in the winter and always start right up and go. I didn’t do anything to it except the scheduled maintenance, and the only major repair it ever needed was a steering rack.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    “Despite what the Miata zealots will tell you, the current NC does capture that urgency and visceral fun, even if it’s a bit heavier, with a higher beltline and goofy front end styling”

    Not a fan of previous generations Miatas, they just look too unsubstantial and I have never had the desire to drive one. I think the current generation has road presence thanks to the higher beltline and the power folding hard top is the icing on the cake despite the added weight and complexity. I acquired a new 2012 liquid silver Grand Touring with PRHT in September as a weekend toy at a steal. Now it has 750 miles on her and I love looking at her in the garage studying the exquisite design. I love the tension from the front wheel well spread back to to the cowl. Driving her and listening to the rich exhaust note as the engine revs on a sunny day is an exquisite experience. I know I could not own this as my only car. Rain nor salt will ever touch her “skin” and it makes me want to move to a warmer climate, but I guess the longing to drive her this winter will only make her more appreciated in the spring. I still need a name for her though, I guess I’m still in the bonding process.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      I’ve driven all gens and owned 2 NAs. The NC is quite a bit more car than the first two, no argument there. But it will never ever be a true Miata. Not in its wildest dreams. That fun, lightweight, playful feeling is lost on the NC and that’s the main reason I wouldn’t touch it. That’s also the reason why I passed on S2000. With that said I’m glad you enjoy yours, that’s what it’s all about.

      Also, none of the Miatas are about road presence. You need at least S2000 for that.

      • 0 avatar
        Speed Spaniel

        Hey, one customer lost another one gained. I wouldn’t touch a roadster without a power hard top, xenons, heated seats and a sweet Bose system. It’s more about comfort and refinement for me than all about raw performance. I have no intention tracking this car – maybe 15 years ago I would, so maybe that makes this current generation Miata an old man’s car. Maybe that’s why it’s called the MX-5 Miata and not Miata. I beg to differ with you about road presence. Park a Miata next to an S2000 (like I do at work next to a coworkers S2000) and it’s wide shouldered stance and smiley grill make the S2000 look like junque. It is AMAZING that a product that’s been out for some time and is at the end of its product cycle feels so fresh and relevant. It’s going to be interesting the direction Mazda takes with next Miata.

  • avatar
    Ex Radio Operator

    Dang, now you’ve went and done it. After looking at that pristine smurf I will be forced to drop the top and go for a spin in my 60,000 mile 1991 Canadian BRG. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Even driven hard I usually get at least 500 smiles per gallon. Thanks, Mazda!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Uh, there was a British Racing Green with tan interior special edition in the US for 1991. My cousin’s husband had one at his Pontiac lot in Indiana. I still regret not buying it.

    • 0 avatar

      That was a 1.6 car, and production ended in 1991. Mine was a 1.8L car, which Americans never got.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      One, I think we’re splitting hairs on the first generation BRG Miata. In the States, the BRG(british racing green, tan leather) was the first of the special edition Miata’s. Thank you Mazda for never getting complacent with Miata, even though it started out being a homerun. I had a black and tan 1992, loved it.

      Two, for the chap that can’t envision having a new Miata without the retractible hardtop and Bose sound system. The hardtop feature is nifty, but I will look for a 1960′s Motorola aftermarket car radio before I spend one dime for the the ‘priviledge’ of anything Bose in my cars. I’ve driven a slew of Acuras with Bose-designed systems, I have a pair of home speakers by Bose, I have a Bose wave radio, and honestly to me, the Bose reputation is totally unearned. As far as standard and optional car sound, my favorites are the Sony Mach 460 system in the mid-90′s Mustang GT and Cobra, and the premium sound Harman-Kardon system in my 3-Series coupe.

      As for the chaps who can’t image a sports car without a V8, or think the Miatas or S2000s are girls cars,one, maybe the girls know something you don’t, and maybe you need to spend just one week in either car before you pass judgement. They’re two examples of the good old days being right here, right now.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    EIGHT timing belt changes in 36,000 kms?! Talk about obsessive maintenance…

  • avatar
    Micah

    My current daily driver is a red ’93.

    I drove home with the top down last night, despite the 47 degree weather. It’s fun unlike any other modern car, and I’ve had the Mustangs and ‘Vettes. It’s much more satisfying.

  • avatar
    JohnTheDriver

    I had a ’92 NA 1.6L and all wanted was to get the NB. Got an NB and decided “meh” I kinda liked the NA after all. The NCs I could live without.

    Storytime … The accelerator would stick quite readily on my NB. One time sitting at a light a 911 rolls up next to me. I twig the throttle as one does while waiting for a light and, guess what? Throttle sticks. Sticks hard. I pound the floor and it just sticks worse. I glance out the passenger window and notice the 911 guy sorta just looks over at me and smiles. I’m now fumbling with the window button so I can say something like “dude, my throttle stuck, this isn’t what it looks like.” To late. The light changes …

  • avatar

    Guy a few doors down has a 1992 he’ll be selling next spring. It’s a little rough, or I might be tempted. Then again, I prefer the much less intrusive windshield header in the NC, which still feels much smaller and lighter than other current sports cars, including the FR-S. Once my kids are out of the house I wouldn’t be surprised to end up with one.

  • avatar
    Jaynen

    Just autocrossed my 1990 this last weekend. Totally stock except for some star specs on the 14″ original daisy wheels.

    This was my third event on the car which has excellent maintenance receipts and is in decent condition with only having 3500 bucks total into it.

    This weekend was an epiphany, I was already amazed by how much fun the little car is but once you come to terms with the open diff and let the car move about more its unbelievable fun. You can easily tuck the nose in with a small tap of brake, or throw the cars weight forward and back in the corner using the accelerator

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Compared to my Triumph Spitfire, a Miata feels like a tank. :-) But I like them anyway. I’d own one if I could fit comfortably in an early one, but I can’t. I find that almost always the smallest engined, lightest version of a car is usualy the best version.

    Little sports cars do get under your skin. I’ve owned my Spitfire for 18 years and cannot imagine life without it sitting in the garage. It always starts first turn of the key, even after sitting all winter. I took the little guy out yesterday for a romp to get a haircut and even though it was a tad chilly, I had a big smile on my face the whole time.

    • 0 avatar
      fredtal

      As new Miatas are compared to the original, is how I compare all Miatas to my Lotus Elan. I’ve only drove one a 1999, nice but not even close. Heck even a Elise is nothing like an old Elan. Guess I’m just an old fart with a fondness for the “good old days”

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    I’ve had 2 NA Miatas and a NB. The NA Miatas were well-made, quality cars. The quality of construction is well above that of a lot of 90′s era mass production cars.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    The Miata is pretty much the apotheosis of what I like in cars: small, light, tossable, etc. Only problem is I’m too big to fit in one. I could do all the usual seat tricks to squeeze into an NA or NB, but those aren’t compatible with leisurely 4-hour jaunts. I have enough legroom in the NC, but some piece of the dash hits me right below the kneecap. Sigh.

    • 0 avatar
      dan1malk

      I’m in the same boat about not fitting in the NC.
      At 6’3″ 210, my lanky ass legs don’t make it around the steering wheel properly, and I can’t move my right foot over to the brake.

      I can’t even test drive one. :( Sad story.

      Side note, I have plenty of leg room in an Abarth, strangely.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez

    With Derek’s bold praise of the 1.6, I’m surprised no one has come to the defense of the later 1.8 models.

    • 0 avatar
      Terry

      Allow me. I’ve been a Mazda Tech/Foreman for almost 31 years.
      The early NA 1.6 was a crankshaft-breaker–particularly the area just behind the front pulley. I replaced many cranks in these cars.
      The NA 1.8 had a much larger and stronger front crank snout, never saw one break.
      The NB 1.8 had variable intake runners, and ran stronger, smoother etc than the NA 1.8 My favorite years were the ’99 and ’00 NBs–the ’01–’05 had variable valve timing on the intake cam–more for emission control than power, and while the ’01+ was more heavily braced underneath, it was also heavier with seatbacks that –to me–seemed too tall for the car with the top down. The NBs also had lowered suspension anchor points which lessened the NA cars tippy feeling while cornering at speed.
      The Mazdaspeed (turbo) cars have a power delivery which doesnt suit my liking.
      The whole key to the NB cars is a procedure which is rarely if ever performed–adjusting the valves. Most are off(too loose) and correcting the shim clearance will yield a big power and response benefit.
      My valve-adjusted ’99, 65K miles bears this out every time it leaves the garage.

      • 0 avatar
        Dingleberrypiez

        Nice. I was also thinking of the 1.8 NA’s flatter torque curve, bigger brakes, torsen lsd, and stiffer chassis vs. the 1.6. But then I might be a little biased with the ’95 merlot in my carport. 86k miles.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        I think this is the second time I’ve seen you mention the importance of valve clearances in the NB. Curiously, though, I’ve never seen anything about in on miata.net or miataturbo, both of which are an enormous wealth of info on regular maintenance procedures as well as extracting maximum power. Flyin’ Miata doesn’t have any info on their site, either, and the few posts I found on miata.net nearly all talk about how rare it is for the clearances to be out of spec, and that most Mazda dealerships, when questioned, had claimed to never having done one.

        Do you have any more info about it? I’d love to find out more. Regardless, over the winter I think I’ll pop the valve cover and have a measure on my 75k mile ’99.

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        I used to work with a genius in Vancouver, Washington who could make any Mazda sing. As I recall, his name was Terry. Coincidence? Those RWD 626′s were excellent, especially considering their live-axle design. I’ve always wanted to connect with those who coped with a Mandrax and cocaine-infused me to apologize. They managed to repair everything I could inflict on the models of the era. Modern-day wizards.

  • avatar
    waltercat

    Thank you, Derek, and thank you for the Gatsby quote as well. I too am an NB owner – a red ’03 with not quite 25K miles on it. To me, this is the sports car I wanted in the 60s and 70s, when I couldn’t afford one – beautiful, responsive, well-built, and even (reasonably) comfortable. Oh, and cheap and easy to maintain and feed and insure. I’ll be putting mine away for her winter hibernation soon, and looking forward to the first sunny day in spring.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Very nice article there Derek,

    Love that Smurf blue on the early Miatas, it’s a blue much like the Grabber Blue used by Ford, and others.

    That said, I’ve never driven any of these, nor the RX-7/8, but now understand the driving dynamics that is Mazda in general, thanks to my 03 Protege5 wagonlet.

    Responsive chassis, and steering makes for a car that is fun to drive, and you know what it’s doing.

    The only complaint is the mileage for the older non Skyactive motors could be better with better cruising range to go along with. I barely get 290 miles out of a tankful, if not closer to 280 miles on a full tank, but with the smaller gas tank, filling it up isn’t as painful as in cars with larger tanks, so that kind of makes up for it all.

    Lately, due to loosing a family member to death, I’ve been putting on the miles with it, and will be doing just that this weekend before things begin to settle down somewhat.

  • avatar
    niky

    Hoe many Protege owners are here? Seems like an epidemic (04 Laser/Lynx owner here).

    While ere is an unmistakeable somethi lost in the NC that the NA had, it’s still a fantastic toy, especially after the facelift fixed some of the steering and suspension boggles. Want it lightweight? Buy it in poverty spec without the hardtop. But, IMHO, with the PRHT, it’s just about as perfect as a sportscar gets.

  • avatar
    toomanycrayons

    “…but if I ever needed to remind myself of what I was missing out on, the genuine article would only be a phone call away.”

    Nice to see car guys staying ahead of the research curve:

    “False memories are easily created. Our memories of historical events can be manipulated with doctored photographs; psychiatrists have been known to implant false memories of childhood sexual abuse and Satanic rituals in patients; and false memories are the most likely explanation for claims of alien abduction. All of this has profound and wide-ranging implications, but as yet there is no reliable way of determining whether a memory is true or false.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/neurophilosophy/2012/jan/27/1?INTCMP=SRCH

    A recent test drive of a ’72 TR6 disabused me, too, of many fond/false memories. “Riding lawn mower!” hadn’t been one of them. Hmmm, distinctly…agricultural? OK, that leaves…the sound: Perfect/True…forever.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      Cars are measured by context. When the norm was walking, a 30 MPH car was a rocket. When you’re used to a ’75 Ford, a Spitfire feels like a race car. Compared to modern sports cars, though, it’s an ox-cart, but the feelings of, “This is an excellent-handling car,” will remain, while the younger generation who’s never experienced it in that context will recognize it as the minivan-trailing antiquity that it is.

      For a variety of reasons, it’s still great fun to drive an old sports car, though.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I would certainly never compare the performance of my Spitfire in any direction to even the most feeble of modern cars sold in the US. A Chevy Spark will simply run away and hide from it. But that is not the point – the Spitfire is the most fun you can have with your clothes on at little more than walking speed. The problem with modern cars in general is that the limits are so high that they are only fun at speeds that will get your license shredded on the street. A Spitfire will make you grin like an idiot at 5 UNDER the speed limit.

        It is WAY more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slowly, and Spitfire is a slow car that FEELS fast because you are so close to its feeble limits all the time and all the noise and commotion going on around you. Plus being able to look UP at Miata drivers adds to the sensation.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        No argument here; I had a blast driving my uncle’s restored ’73 Spitfire through the Swiss Alps 5 years ago, and part of the reason I went from an 11 second sport bike to an older Miata was because I like the idea of having fun at lower speeds, and therefore more of the time.

        My point was simply that people remember cars by the context of their time. A Spitfire was an excellent handling car for its time, which explains why someone who remembers driving one in its heyday will still think it’s a go-cart.

      • 0 avatar
        Japanese Buick

        @krhodes1: loved your post. You nailed it.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    “This paradox the main reason why I’d never own a car like this; every time you drive it, there is an infinitesimal degradation of its condition that can never be regained. After a few years of enjoying it like a Miata should be enjoyed, the chassis will flex, the seats with crack and the paint will fade.”

    I’ve been enjoying mine as a commuter for 18 years. She has never let me down in all those years. Its added braces have kept it from degrading. The fabric seats are indestructible. And her paint hasn’t faded. Garaging her helps. Then again, she’s white. And she’s still not for sale.

    But I’m sure your mileage would have varied. Don’t give it a second thought.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I owned a 1997 Miata that I bought new for almost 16 years. Great fun car, reliable as a hammer, never let me down. But I let it down…put it into a guardrail this past Feb. I replaced it with an NC PRHT. Also a great car, in fact now I wish I had made the switch sooner. It’s just as fun as the one it replaced but much more practical and comfortable as well. I acknowledge the fact that I’ve aged 16 years since I bought my original probably has something to do with that.

    Because of the PRHT I find myself getting more top down time than before, and in the winter that’s approaching it’s much more comfortable with the thicker top, heated seats, and rear window defroster (can’t defrost the plastic NA window!). In fact I find myself driving the LS400 that my avatar derives from much less than I did when I had the NA. I really couldn’t do more than an hour a day in the NA but I can and do easily spend all day in the NC. (I’m 6’2″ and 190 for reference)

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    I’ve only got a tiny amount of MX5 experience, having swapped cars with a friend for a day several (8-10) years ago. I took it on a gentle run along a local winding/driver’s road and while it was nice, his low-mile 89/90 MX5 was didn’t make that much of an impression on me. Similar to krhodes1′s experience my classic car had the same general qualities of light weight, quick steering, accessible limits and I would say more of a go-kart-for-the-road feeling.

    He still has the car, it is rarely driven but is still in excellent condition. I think the only departure from original is the plastic rear window eventually went cloudy, so he replaced it with a glass one.

  • avatar
    Terry

    avatar
    JuniperBug
    November 2nd, 2012 at 1:40 am

    I think this is the second time I’ve seen you mention the importance of valve clearances in the NB. Curiously, though, I’ve never seen anything about in on miata.net or miataturbo, both of which are an enormous wealth of info on regular maintenance procedures as well as extracting maximum power. Flyin’ Miata doesn’t have any info on their site, either, and the few posts I found on miata.net nearly all talk about how rare it is for the clearances to be out of spec, and that most Mazda dealerships, when questioned, had claimed to never having done one.

    Do you have any more info about it? I’d love to find out more. Regardless, over the winter I think I’ll pop the valve cover and have a measure on my 75k mile ’99.

    The NA cars had hydraulic valve lifters, the NB cars use shim-over-bucket lifters. There is a special Mazda tool to depress the lifters so that the shim can be replaced. It bolts to the cylinder head cam journal caps above the lifters to be adjusted. I have this tool, and it does work, but you dont really need it need it.
    Remove the valve cover, set Cyl 1 valves on overlap, measure the clearance on #4 in and ex valves, the in on #2 and the ex on #3 cyls and record the clearances measured with a feeler gauge. Then rotate the crankshaft 360 degrees and measure #4 in and ex, #3 in and #2 ex valves and again record the clearances. Rotate another 360 degrees to bring the #1 cam lobes pointing up, the crank sprocket notch at the 12:00 position, the lower cam pulley marks at the positions in front of the plate behind the sprockets–and remove the sprockets from the cams. Remove the intake cam and adjust the clearance to spec by doing the math. Reinstall the in cam, do the same to the exh cam. Reinstall the timing belt and sprockets, torque to 45 ft-lbs. Rotate the engine 2 full turns, verify the cam belt timing marks and remeasure the valve clearance.
    I usually find them loose–by .004–.008″. Adjust the clearance–and throttle response and power delivery will open your eyes.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I bought a 1991 silverstone Miata in 1987 for $7k. It had 36k miles on it. I sold it two years ago with about 80k miles on it and sold it cheap for about $3,500. It served as a daily driver for a while then sat as my “weekend” car after I had kids and opportunities to drive in a 2-seater without room for a stroller just evaporated. During the 13 years I owned that car, I probably had 10 other cars pass through my hands… a 1966 MGB GT, a 1984 Porsche 911 3.2 Cabriolet, a Corvette, and a host of daily drivers including a 2001 525iT, a Saab 9-5 Aero, etc. In other words, I’ve never been a loyalist to any make or model, I just like to experience a lot of different cars… but the Miata I never thought I would sell.

    It was the least expensive car to own and operate I’d ever had. It would sit for months then fire right up as if I had driven it yesterday. Whenever I thought of selling it I just rationalized that I wasn’t driving it often, but I only paid about $150/year for insurance, it was paid for, and it didn’t cost me much of anything else to keep it. It was also nearly impossible to drive that little car without smiling from ear to ear, so I rationalized keeping it as an inexpensive form of therapy. Unfortunately, life intervened and it passed to a new owner who, from what I heard, has really cleaned it up and modified it for mild track duty.

    I had a remarkable dinner with Martin Swig and David E. Davis, Jr about six or seven years ago (still can’t believe they’re both gone now) and the discussion inevitably revolved around cars. Martin had an amazing collection of vehicles and when I asked him what he drove most of the time his eyes lit up and he said his 1994 Miata. I was taken aback… seriously, with a fleet of exotic machinery and a budget that far exceeded my wildest dreams he drove a used Japanese car worth less than $6k? I’ll remember his remark forever, “the Miata is the best sports car ever built. It gives you everything you need and asks for nothing in return.”

  • avatar

    (Obviously very late in reading this…)

    Wonderful story, Derek, very rich imagery. I’ll always love my ’91 BRG best out of the many Miata I’ve owned.


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