On August 1, 2006,
I bought my first car. I’d been shopping with a good friend of mine for about a
week and a half, scouring online classified ad sites such as Craig’s List,
Autotrader, and Cars.com. I even checked out eBay Motors.
My only criteria in searching for a car at the time was for
it to be: cheap, and most of all, FUN. My dad lives by the phrase: “Have 4
wheels under your ass and go.” If I depended on him to find me a car, I would
be undoubtedly shoved with either a Honda Civic or a Buick Century, both of
which I would sooner ride a bicycle as a method of transportation. I realized I
would have to take matters into my own hands.
Going on the suggestions of said friend, he and I checked
out an old Nissan 240sx. The shit was falling apart, but it drove. I wasn’t
ecstatic. And the asking price this guy was trying to push bordered on cruel
It would have been a week and a half of cruising all over
fucking New Jersey (easily 300
miles, and I footed the gas, too) later till I found my baby in a used car lot
in Deptford, New Jersey
(commonly known as a fucking shithole.)
This is her (or at least a photo of someone else’s ’94 M Edition):
A 1994 Mazda Miata M-Edition (only 3,003 produced for both
Europe and US) in a dazzling Montego Blue Mica paint job (a metallic paint made
from a combination of 11 paints, that changes from ocean blue to emerald green
depending on sunlight and angle). 105,000 miles on the odometer. STICK (a short
word on stick a bit further). After a brief foray of looking at a couple of
240sx’s, I was suggested upon Miatas. I’ve never been a huge fan of Miatas;
whenever I’d see them on the road, I’d just think they were cute little cars. I
knew, however, that they were cheap and peppy. After a week of visiting them in
various lots and driveways all across Jersey, my opinion
on them changed entirely. I started noticing subtle exterior details that I’d
never seen before. The NA’s (1st generation Miata) headlights, for
example, are just awesome. Having a big black button for flip up headlights
makes you feel like James Bond.
One day, I came upon an eBay auction. It still
had about 5 days left at the time, but just for the sake of curiosity, I wanted
to see the thing. So the next day, my buddy and I drove down to Southern
Jersey (which sucks complete ass) to check it out. It looked
great; no rust, few clear coat scuffs. It was serviced almost compulsively (oil
change every 3k) and best of all was a California
car (those cars are not exposed to nearly as much pollution and contaminants as
cars are here). We decided to take her to a little lot adjacent to the used car
dealer and I wanted to drive. To understand this story, you need to realize
that I really wasn’t very experienced with stick at the time. You could say I
was fucking shit at it, actually. I had to pull out across a busy street, not
knowing the clutch’s feel at all. As I pull out, I go to cross a yellow double
line in front of a COP. And wouldn’t you know it, I stall. SIDEWAYS IN THE
MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING ROAD. To say my nerves were shot would be a gross
understatement. We finally lurched into the lot, with both car and lives
intact. There, I practiced starting from a standstill for a good half hour, to
the point where the dealer probably thought we just stole his car (he actually
drove by in his truck to make sure!)
The only problem I had with stick as a
beginner was an error that is quite common with stick newbies: popping the
clutch too fast. I didn’t understand that the clutch needs to be gradually let
out after it catches the gear, and so as soon as I would get rolling, I’d just
pull my foot off the clutch as if it was on fire, and stall the engine. After
dicking around burning the transmission, I finally decided I want this car. The
next day, my dad drove down and we finalized the deal.
I have been driving this beast for the past week or so. At
first, I was still shitty at clutching, but at least I could drive. I’ve had
fun stalling at the worst places imaginable (intersections, hills,
streetlights, etc.) and have had people honk their fucking asses off at me. The
other day, however, I had a breakthrough. The nervousness faded, and I began to
have indescribable fun. I got a high from just shifting. The Miata is a
driver’s car. It’s not a Ferrari, nor a Porsche, but it is still more fun than
most any other car you will drive. You need to drive these things to understand
what I mean. People
still try to figure out why they love them.
Behind the wheel, you sit on the ground, as you would in any
true sports car. The suspension is extremely stiff; every bump in the road is
felt. Hitting anything just makes me cringe painfully in this car. Fortunately,
the Miata handles like a professional. These cars were designed to handle. A slight nudge from the wheel and the car will dive
in that direction. Undoubtedly superb handling.
The interior is adorned with almost all the options you
would find on cars years younger than it. It has power windows, power steering,
cold a/c, cruise control, (extremely
comfortable) leather seats, hell, it’s even got an old Pioneer head unit.
The M-Edition is powered by a 1.8l 4 cylinder, making 128hp.
For a car that weighs 2300lbs (just above 1 ton), this is overcompensation at
its finest. The beautiful thing about this car is that you don’t even need to
be breaking the speed limit to be having a blast. I can be cruising 50mph at
2700rpm in 4th gear, top down, with a grin plastered across my face.
In the Volvo S40, the only way I could have fun in it was by flooring it. Its
whine at 5000rpm is fun, but it still did require pushing it nearly to the
On the topic of rpm’s, this is the funniest thing about my
Miata: The speedometer is broken. Read that again. I’ve been driving for the
past WEEK with NO SPEEDOMETER. It’s weird, but strangely fun, because you need
to pay attention to your rpm’s as well as the cars around you in order to get a
feel for approximately what speed you’re going at.
I’m going down for inspection sometime this month, so that’s
gonna have to get looked at. Besides that problem, I also discovered a
fantastic pair of dents on opposite sides from each other on the under carriage
frame, presumably from when the car was placed on a truck for transport. The passenger
hand side under carriage dent also sported some nice rust, which I sanded off,
and then applied a spray to change it to solid black gunk. After that, I
applied some rust resistant spray, as well.
I need to talk about my Miata’s fuel economy. In two words?
FUCKING FANTASTIC. According to MSN Autos, she gets 22 city/28 hwy, but I’ve
read that it wasn’t uncommon for them to be getting 30 city/36 hwy. Over the
course of the past 5 days of basic city driving, I’ve depleted half the tank.
And she fills up on 87 octane. My wallet absolutely sings.
To end this loving exposition, I will just say that I adore
my car. It’s small, it’s fast, and great on my wallet. What more could I
possibly ask for?
Old Stage. 5000rpm…2nd gear. 4800rpm…3rd gear. 4000rpm…4th gear. More fun than anything you can imagine.