Our Cars: 1991 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

We all have cars that we’ve owned and miss because for reasons we can’t always remember, we sold. Today continues a new series of blog posts about cars that I’ve loved and cars I’ve owned. Today, it’s about Mary’s Miata. If you would like to write a post about one of your favorite cars, drop me note using the Contact tab above.

miata.mountainsMary has loved Mazda Miatas for a long time and thinks that they are just so darn cute. In the past few years she’s test driven several Miata but could never afford one. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago she decided that life was too short to wait and she wanted to start running autocrosses on one condition– in a WHITE MIATA!

We began looking at early Miatas, only some of them were not white but all of them were interesting. It started with the white 1990 model with BBS wheels that we came close to purchasing until the salesman let it slip that the car had recently been repossessed from a stripper who had stopped payment on the check and had hid the car is a stable with some horses. While test driving the car, she noticed that it made some funny noises but when we heard that tale Mary decided to pass.

Mary and I haunted the usual car search websites and one Saturday, we compiled a list of cars and went in search of the affordable Miata. We started with a black ’96 with steel wheels. While the miles were reasonable the car had seen hard use as an urban assault vehicle. The nice old, hippie couple who owned the car pointed at the hump in the hood and said “see that! You wrap a half a chicken in aluminum foil and drive up to the mountains and lunch will be ready when you get there.” I don’t think the Colonel’s secret herbs and spices included Castrol.

Mazda Miata MX-5

We called the next two owners on our list and left messages and decided to go take a look at a car that was further away. Along the way we drove by a Mazda dealer and asked if they had any Miatas. “Nope,” the nice saleslady said but Bob in Parts is trying to sell his ’93.” It’s got a lot of miles (186,000 it turns out) “but the engine is all chrome and get this,” he says excitedly, “It has teeth.” Fresh from the mouth of “Ralph the Shark” there’s stainless steel teeth chomping away in the front grill. The engine is a work of art but when Mary tries to sit inside, the smell of tobacco smoke stops her in her tracks. “We can get somebody to de-stinkify it,” says Bob.

Update: Since this was written Mary has undergone surgery and radiation therapy and last year was declared “cancer free” by her oncologist. The Miata is gone from the garage but it not forgotten and she still talks about this car and misses it. That’s why I’ve been looking for a clean unmolested example, with manual transmission for her but so far have just been ‘kissing frogs.’