Tag Archives: abarth 124 spider

Wanna Buy a Fiata? Many New & Used Fiat 124 Spiders & Abarth Models at Fiat Alfa Romeo, Ramsey, NJ

On my way to the pre-Thanksgiving Cars & Caffe event at Jack Daniels Porsche I couldn’t help but notice a fleet of Fiata’s on the lot of the local Alfa Romeo Fiat dealer next door. So I stopped by to take a few shots:

The front car caught my eye for sure… what a gorgeous red! And funny enough while the Mazda dealer across the highway put all of their SUV’s upfront, it was nice to see the Fiata’s in addition to the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s in this lot!

And a really pretty Abarth model…

And since it’s got a competing dealership’s name plate on it I’m guessing this is a used 2017 model.

A more luxurious version of the red Fiata with the chrome window surround (like the NC Miata Limited Edition from 2006)

Similar but different… the Fiata actually looks bigger than an NC!

Brand spanking new 2017 model Fiata…

Brand spanking new 2018 model Fiata…

This was a great opportunity to check out the Alfa Romeo Stelvio up close and personal (short of test driving it)

I love how identical the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio look side-by-side to each other.

Can you tell the difference from a photo?

Can you?

Anyway… go buy a Fiata! There’s so many of them available and with the winter around the corner I bet you could get a great deal too!

I’m sure I’ll at least test drive a Fiat 124 Spider in my automotive future… fingers crossed!

 

PS. I just realized, in case you punch in Ramsey Alfa Romeo Fiat into your GPS the address is technically in Upper Saddle River, NJ the dealership is part of Ramsey Auto Group which does have dealerships in Ramsey, NJ like the aforementioned Mazda dealer.

Cars & Coffee at Tice’s Corner Woodcliff Lake New Jersey June 2017

Sunday Fun Day! A heatwave is hitting Northern New Jersey, and a ton of people came out for this month’s Cars & Coffee event at Tice’s Corner in Woodcliff Lake, NJ

I overslept… didn’t wash my car but wanted to hang out with a few people at the event. So I rushed over… and as soon as I pulled in around 10am everyone else started leaving… all the McLaren P1’s, the Porsche 911’s, the Lamborghinis and Ferrari’s of very recent vintage, but the few cars that remained still caught my eye. So I wanted to share some pix of them…. I realize a lot of the cars are classic and vintage, which you’re likely to see at your neighborhood’s weekly cruise night. But I don’t care. It was a great mix of new and old and for me these oldies stood out….

especially the Figaro:

It’s also important to remember that this area of Jersey is still very European… there’s BMW North American headquarters just across the street. There’s lots of Italians still living here. The real Mafialand… you know where Soprano’s are from. So it’s nice to see all these Alfa Romeo’s, Lancia’s and Fiat’s around. The classic type, the ones that you don’t normally see here. That was nice to see!

Oh and I also really loved the Geländewagen:

Haven’t seen these in a while… but I have seen them before… in Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. It was nice to see them again!

How is this car a “Historic”?

It is registered as one… look at the Trianglular inspection sticker.

Seeing the Mercedes-Benz 300SL in both convertible and gullwing was awesome… seen both of them before but they sure stood out.

Oh look… a nice Ford

C’est fini….  until next time!

Mazda MX-5: 2,500 mile Road Trip Down South For Some Racing, Foodie Sampling and Exploring

So the last two weeks were spend exploring the Southeast again… I used the opportunity to volunteer two fantastic events in Alabama and Virginia to be a little bit of a tourist, a foodie, Miata Fiata fan, and of course a road tripper.

pre-trip inspection bright and early at WAWA… well actually I forgot to check my tire pressure, so I stopped by to get it all leveled out. For whatever reason the tire pressures were all over the place in each tire.

The trip included stopovers in Knoxville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; and Danville, Virginia (Milton, North Carolina really).

I volunteered two massive events: working as a flagger for the Alabama Grand Prix at the beautiful Barber Motorsports Park and as fire rescue crew for PWC Grand Prix of VIR at the awesome VIRginia International Raceway.

Along the way I did a bunch of Miata Fiata stuff about which I wrote some previous posts, read about it here:

My Motorsport posts included:

But in this post I’d like to wrap up and talk about the actual road trip part… after all I put nearly 2,500 miles on my Miata. Burned more than 60 gallons of fuel and spent over $160 bux doing it. I was lucky to average in the high 36mpg’s at one point hitting over 38mpg’s which is fantastic! And it was all trouble free… which is the best part!

I sampled a lot of good food along the way. Some fairly average food, and some I tried to skimp out on… like Chick-fil-a for breakfast many times… or the Steak ‘n Shake visits thanks to a discounted gift card I bought… $50 card for like $20 bux!

In many ways this Road Trip was a continuation of my drive to Texas in Wes’s Crown Vic… in fact I used that drive as a dry run to see what I should expect taking my own car to Alabama. I knew I would have a great time in Knoxville, TN because I stopped for lunch there before. This time I had booked a hotel in the Knox to stay overnight after a 700+ mile journey there from New Jersey. I googled some BBQ places to eat, went to pick up my order at Archer’s which came highly rated… and wasn’t all that impressed with the ambiance of the facility when I got my box to go. On the way to the gas station to fill up before returning to the hotel, I noticed a much more happening BBQ joint just a block away called Full Service BBQ… and there I was faced with a dilemma… do I stop by there and buy another dish? I had already picked up a fairly large box that was more than enough for me to have for dinner… or do I keep going and regret not visiting this busy place? I decided to come and visit… and to my surprise not only did they have everything I wanted (a mix plate of their ribs, pulled pork, sausage and brisket) but it was also smelling and tasting really good. So as usual I got way too much food. But boy was it fantastic! I left the box of Archers to bring with me the next day to Alabama, and had it for dinner there the next day instead.

Nice Drive-Thru

Excellent food… Archer’s was great too in it’s own right, but Full Service had them beat with the ambiance of the place, and the big crowd of people eating there when I stopped by.

After a nice rest, I was off again for another 400 miles or so to my final destination. And I don’t know why but Alabama sure feels like “Sweet Home” even though I don’t consider myself Southern at all.

So of course the first order of business upon arrival in Birmingham was to go register at the track and take some pix of all those IndyCar sanctioned Global MX-5 Cup car Miata’s.

And straight after I went into town to meet up with my wonderful CouchSurfing hosts that welcomed me with great Southern hospitality going above and beyond what hosts typically do.

Perhaps my favorite activity with my generous hosts was sharing some amazing food with them. They fed me every night I stayed there, but one night I treated everyone to some Soul Food from Niki’s West… including two types of Catfish with all the fixins’

After a truly wonderful time in ‘Bama it was time to work my way back North to the next weekend’s events in Virginia. But since I had a few days to kill I visited Sakshik (my fellow Miata Fiata buddy) who now lives in Decatur, Georgia where he’s off to Law School.

The few days we spend there could be accurately characterized as a foodie tour! We had a somewhat disappointing experience getting Fried Chicken and Waffles on my first day there… unfortunately the place I went to last year closed (without telling Google, we arrived to find windows boarded up)… plan B turned out to be very snooty with a long wait time… and place C butchered the Waffle by making dough out of some cheddar mix that tasted awful. But our luck changed the next day when we went for BBQ and the following day when we did Indian food.

Probably the highlight of my visit… besides hanging out with Sakshik, checking out Mazmart parts store, visiting both Mazda and Fiat dealerships and recording an episode with Daniel on our podcast; was visiting World of Coca Cola which I had been planning to do for the longest time but never had a chance (until now!)

My favorite part of the whole visit to the World of Coke was the “Tasting” room featuring soda pop from around the world… divided by continents and featuring some drinks I’ve tried in their home countries like Fanta, Crush, Inca Cola, etc.

Funny part is, I actually own some Coca Cola clothing, my favorites though were t-shirts from around the world with Coke in cyrillic for the Russian market or in Mandarin for the Chinese market.

After spending several hours in downtown Atlanta and almost getting sick on all the drinks I sampled at the Coke museum, we hit up a cool Indian place to sample something different. Sakshik lives in a part of town where lots of Emory University students live so it by definition is very diverse. And the Indian restaurant we went to was a good representation of this diversity. The food was excellent!

And of course Sakshik coming from India meant he knew what to order and how to eat the food properly. I enjoyed that experience!

And finally the time flew by super quick, and the rest of the road trip to Virginia came bright and early on Thursday morning.

The food I had in Danville, VA just outside of the track I tried before. Unfortunately most of the time I ordered late and got way too much, so I didn’t enjoy it as I really should have. I went to Mayflower for some seafood on the first night. And Checkered Pig BBQ on my last night at VIR. Of the two the BBQ was best… though having worked with a fella from Roxboro, NC he recommended a much better option on the North Carolina side of the border for my next trip.

VIRginia International Raceway is extremely impressive, I think one of the best race tracks there are in the United States!

And so the trip came to a close way too fast. But to slow it down a little I took a rather scenic drive back to the Interstate through Virgnia… at one point going parallel to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway… US 501 was excellent zig zagging along a mountain on a rainy morning… reminded me a lot of Skyline Drive or what I remember of it from my last visit to Shenandoah.

It’s always kind of cool exploring rural areas of various states along with suburbia to see what’s it like… spotted plenty of Miata’s along my way!

Can’t wait for my next Road Trip… and if I’m lucky it will be another Grand Prix Road Trip like this two week trip I just did. Stay tuned…

Wanna Buy a Fiata? A Few More Abarth Fiat 124 Spiders in Winchester, VA

Wasn’t planning on visiting another Dodge Chrysler Jeep (Fiat) dealer on my drive home, but two brand spanking new Abarth Fiata’s caught my eye in Winchester, Virginia.

These two beauties were on the same lot I stopped by a few months ago on the drive home from Florida. They had two white Abarth Fiata’s then, which must have sold so well they replaced them with two gray Abarth Fiata’s…. must be something in the water in that part of Virginia on the West Virginia border… with Summit Point racetrack nearby the Abarth versions of the Fiat 124 Spider must be flying off the dealer lots. Still feel a bit weird seeing Fiats on the Dodge Chrysler Jeep dealer property… But if you’re in the market go buy one… they’re available and look gorgeous!

Registered Another Domain Before Someone Snatched it: MiataFiata.com

…been contemplating registering MiataFiata.com since last year when Chris, Sakshik and I launched the Miata Fiata Talk podcast. Today I finally pulled the trigger so to speak. MiataFiata.com is the new home of the Miata Fiata Radio podcast… I’m using the Radio and the Talk and the Podcast labels interchangeably but eventually we’ll pick something that sticks. Either way with my NC1 GT PRHT, Sakshik’s NB and Chris’s NC1 GT PRHT with appearance package and the oldie Fiat 124 Spider we have all the boxes covered… (even though yes, I realize the 1970’s Fiat has nothing to do with the current Fiata made by Mazda).

This domain will be a great way to separate my marshaling, my foodie road trips and my general BS from my Miata stuff, although everything is still hosted and lives on MyRoadTrip.net

I am excited with this project!

Got a good deal too taking advantage of 99 cent first year registration and $9.99 each subsequent year. I chose the 5 year option plus some generous % discount from Ebates. Now I have the domain until March 30, 2022

Miata Fiata Radio: New Episode Talking Florida Road Trips with Chris

It’s been a loooooong time since Chris and I did a Miata Fiata podcast episode… at least since January. So now that we’re both back in New Jersey it was time to catch up and talk about our recent road trips down to Florida. Chris had a family emergency requiring him to drive the rental van down to Miami for a few months, while I drove my Miata down to Central Florida to volunteer St. Pete GP and Sebring 12 hour.

 


Miata Fiata Radio – Episode X Migrating to a New Service, Road Trips to Florida in Miata vs. Rental Cars

We met up in Union City, NJ which is a really cool area overlooking the New York City skyline where Chris’s family has a property. Chris keeps his awesome 1970’s Fiat in a garage there. I got a chance to snap a crappy photo of my Miata with it.

Funny story about that… my car refused to start before heading out to Chris’s house. Why? I don’t know but it would crank and not fire. I immediately assumed that my used ignition relay from eBay I had just installed the day before was faulty. So in the pouring rain I popped the hood and swapped it out for the old one. In the process I cracked the plastic cover on the eBay purchase which was the main reason for getting it in the first place, the plastic cover on my original fuse was broken off. That whole procedure did absolutely nothing, so I broke it for no good reason.

Asked my father for advice and he suggested that water was a factor, possibly creating a poor connection on the battery. So I kept on turning the key until it started and the problem hasn’t replicated since…  shame I handled the situation the way I did. Now I’m going to shop around for a new replacement Ignition relay.

Anyway… have a listen to the new Miata Fiata Radio episode. We’ll be moving all our older episodes from Shout Cloud to Shout Engine to avoid storage limits. And in the process I’ll be amending the name from Miata Fiata Talk to “Radio”

Comments and opinions are welcome. We’d also love to have guests on future podcasts so reach out to get yourself on!

Mazda MX-5: 3,500 Mile Spring Break Road Trip South in a Miata, from New Jersey to Florida

Second New Jersey to Florida Road Trip is now in the books. This trip in March over Spring Break was my second year in a row volunteering for St. Pete GP and Sebring 12 hour. It was also my second drive down to Florida this year (first one being for the Roar before the 24). All in all I put 3,440 miles on the car. Burned 102 gallons of 93/Premium fuel. Spent $268 dollars on gas using BP, ExxonMobil and Sunoco gas cards (which with the 7% discount that I paid for them, I actually only spent $250 on fuel). Averaged 34mpg which was an improvement of 1mpg over last year, and got my best fuel economy yet with 38mpg’s over two consecutive fuel ups on the drive down… Yay! I noticed gas prices were almost a dollar per gallon more than last year… And in all I did about 500 miles more since I based myself in Daytona Beach during this trip and took multiple drives out of the Daytona area for various events, from a Miata meet in Jacksonville, to St. Pete GP in the Tampa Bay area, to Sebring in Lake Placid area, and to Orlando Miata meet much like last year. It was a fantastic trip!

Interesting option of No-Ethanol fuel in South Carolina…

Hit a 60k milestone on this Road Trip

When leaving for the trip I couldn’t sleep the night before so instead of tossing and turning I jumped in the car at 1am and headed down. The night drive was great because there was hardly anyone else on the road, which meant I could take it nice and slow. Driving in the 60’s rather than 70’s the gas mileage improved tremendously… so averaging 36mpg vs. 31mpg meant that on the 3 tanks that it took to get to Florida from New Jersey I extended my range by 150 miles! Or basically had to refuel less often.

Much like last year I used the Gas Buddy App to check fuel prices to strategise my drive. Virginia and South Carolina had the lowest gas prices for premium fuel. While Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia and even Florida were the priciest. The most I paid for gas was $2.86 in Florida and the least was $2.39 both in South Carolina and Virginia. There’s a Sunoco I really like in St. George, South Carolina that always has low prices and a few BP’s in the stretch of i81/i66 where for some reason the prices for premium gas are 50 cents less per gallon than anywhere else in Virginia. (Greenville area)

I want to live in a place that has Palm Trees!

My first order of business when arriving in Daytona was mounting my eBay lip spoiler… which turned out really great. Not sure if this thing contributed to my great gas mileage, but I’m glad that it certainly didn’t hurt!

I decided to get to Florida a day early because of some severe weather moving into the Northeast, which worked out really well because it allowed me an opportunity to “discover” Daytona more than I’ve done in the past while volunteering there. So I visited a race team based in Holly Hill, a few miles from the Speedway: BSI Racing.

Next day I was off to St. Pete… I left early enough so I can volunteer for the half day in the afternoon right after registration.

This year’s PWC racing was outstanding! IndyCar wasn’t so bad either and I especially enjoyed it from my new position in pit lane.

I CouchSurfed while in St. Pete and my host was awesome. Just a few blocks north of the track which getting there early in the morning was a breeze. Literally took me less than 10 minutes to drive down, and that’s because I had to stop at a few traffic lights.

Got some real IndyCar goodies for my Miata in pit lane… the official Firestone tire caps… No idea what team they came from but I picked up a bunch to give out as souvenirs when I travel. They sure are a lot lighter than the bag of NASCAR lug nuts I took to Australia and NZ.

Mailed my Miata buddies in Southeast Asia some #MRTI goodies from St. Pete GP.

I headed back to Daytona Beach right after the race, and the next morning left on a scenic drive along A1A towards Jax Beaches, on my Minorcan Clam Chowder foodie tour. I’m in love with my newly discovered attraction of St. Augustine (America’s oldest city!) the scenery was great and the food was delicious.

Lots of Spanish influence in this area, including the Minorcan Clam Chowder… Minorca of course is the smallest of the three Spanish Islands in the Mediterranean with the larger ones being the much better known Majorca as in Palma de Majorca and Ibiza.

I ran into a Lancia – Martini Racing photoshoot while on the trip where a Brit photographer basically booted me from taking pix:

From there I rushed to join the First Coast Miata club at their monthly meeting at yet another seafood place.

Was so good to see my friend Arved there who inspired me to buy the eBay lip spoiler to begin with. It’s nice to go to Miata events like this because they inspire you to do mods to your car.

Next day I was off to Sebring!

Lots of Mazda’s there. Absolutely awesome event. I had a blast working in pit lane there. One of my best experiences of Sebring yet!

Right after the race I headed back to Daytona Beach… but much like last year returned to the Orlando area for an Orlando Roadsters monthly meet at Tijuana Flats in Winter Park (near University of Central Florida). For a Monday night meet it was a big one, about 30 cars showed up over the course of the event… it was super enjoyable!

And so my time in Florida came to a close… the two weeks flew quick, I would really want to come back and stay for good. Staying in Daytona Beach area was very cool because I got to hang out with a few marshaling buddies I really respect, including visiting some fine dining establishments with them…

Florida is really the best place to go for fresh seafood…

On the drive home I stopped at my favorite South Carolina BBQ place in Rock Hill called Dixie Pig to pick up a couple of orders of their famous Pig Wings in parm & garlic sauce. Brought it all the way home to share with my parents and nephew… they loved it too!

I’ll be doing another one of these Southern trips next month hopefully with another two week volunteering tour of Barber Motorsports Park for IndyCar and VIR for PWC. Stay tuned…

Want to buy a Fiata? There’s a Few Abarth 124 Spiders in Winchester, VA

A couple brand spanking new Abarth Fiata’s caught my eye today on the drive home from Florida. Bright and early in the morning I visited my usual pit stop at Sheetz the last stop I need to make on the drive (back in my Summit Point days I’d refill here too, and with the Miata it’s almost exactly 300 miles to Northern New Jersey so a good place to top off for the last time). Next door is a Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealer that a few months ago had a nice Gray NC PRHT in the lot… it made me wonder, who the hell would trade-in a Miata for a Dodge?

Well, duh! In places where Alfa Romeo Fiat dealers aren’t available, Fiats are sold through other FCA dealerships. Seeing the two Fiata’s parked up front made that point really obvious!

So I pulled in and took a few shots…

Both cars seemed to have Virginia inspection stickers in the center of the windshield, but also the window stickers in the passenger door, so I’m not quite sure if they’re brand new or lease returns. but either way they looked spotless! I have no affiliation with this dealership so I can’t recommend or otherwise, but the least I could do is give heads up if any enthusiast is in the market… keep in mind Summit Point Raceway is just a few minutes away on the Virginia/West Virginia border.

The Logistics behind Creating a Roadster Experience Business

The “Miataland” post inspired me to wonder about the logistics behind building an MX-5 Miata / Roadster vacation experience.

So I’m going to write a few ideas down below, just spitballing, thinking out loud about what it would take to launch and make it successful. It’s worth noting that at this time I do not consider myself a successful person. I have not worked since January of last year, more than a year without a job makes me feel like a total loser. But in that time, and over the past few years I have traveled extensively around the world following various Motorsport events and volunteering there. I also have more than ten years experience working for a luxury ground transportation company providing limousine and black car service in the busiest metropolitan area in the world: NYC. So take my words with a grain of salt…

What would it take to build a Miata Experience business?

I think the first and most important step is to identify what it is that one is trying to accomplish. I made numerous trips to South Florida over the past few years, multiple times per year, and it is obvious that your run of the mill rental car companies do not generally rent MX-5’s. There’s plenty of Roadsters and Convertibles being rented, mainly Ford Mustang’s and Chevy Camaro’s, as well as more luxurious options from Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and others, but not Mazda Miata’s or Fiat 124 Spiders.

Why?

Probably because the Mazda Roadster is not a practical car as a rental. The trunk is too small to fit even one normal size piece of luggage. For a family of two there’s no place to put luggage, other than small carry-ons. That’s no good. So that kind of explains why Hertz and Avis don’t have it, while Europcar may have a few in certain markets. It’s a very specialized vehicle. I think it’s best suited for places like Miami Beach where it could be rented alongside the many Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, Maserati’s, Bentley’s and other exotics on an hourly basis to cruise Ocean Drive.

That brings me to the main point of renting a Miata. People would rent it specifically for what it is: a Miata. It means of all the options out there, the convertible Mustangs, Camaros, Bentleys, Maseratis. They want the MX-5! This idea is good and bad. Good because there are plenty of Miata enthusiasts around the world. We just celebrated the Millionth Miata rolling off the assembly line in 2016. So there are plenty of owners that may want to rent a Miata on vacation, and plenty more enthusiasts that may not necessarily be owners that want to try one out. Those numbers may be large. Unfortunately, most rental car companies care about masses, and there are far more general public, Joe Blow, than Miata enthusiasts.

So from the perspective of catering to the general public, as a company renting Miata’s you have a lot of challenges to deal with. People will try to cram luggage that obviously doesn’t fit into small spaces of the Miata potentially damaging things. And complain about the fact that things don’t fit. That creates a problem. People treat rental cars like shit. It’s a fact. I find that Miata is a fairly fragile car with relatively high cost of maintenance. Therefore to keep up with maintenance may be quite costly. How do you ensure that people don’t smoke in cars, since most renters would obviously prefer a clean smelling car? It’s tough. I know car rental companies charge extra cleaning fees for smokers, but it’s a concern for a small business to manage. How do you make sure renters don’t leave the car with the top down in bad weather? Again charging high cleaning fees if the car returns wet or moldy… And then take into consideration the low profile tires, the low bumpers that scrape easily on curbs. The fact the car will bottom out on many speed bumps, etc. It’s tough for an enthusiast to keep a small business going just by managing costs from potential damage that customers could cause.

So possible solution for many of the above concerns would be opportunity for offering value added services, something one could charge extra money for. For example: a meet-and-greet service. Pick up your customers in a bigger vehicle, a mini van to bring them from/to the airport with all their luggage and personal effects, extended family, etc. And deliver the car when it is going to be used by up to two people with minimal luggage. The appeal of Miataland to me is the group factor. The idea that multiple customers are in the same boat, all interested in Miatas, and all wanting to do things together on vacation like going on road trips, sightseeing, and dining out. So again, with a larger group there could be a chase vehicle that would do two things. Act as a support system, helping with local knowledge, directions, recommendations, advice, language services. And provide help when things go wrong. Like changing a flat tire, or making sure everyone keeps the tops up in a rain storm. Weather happens, and people act differently when they’re alone vs. being under some kind of supervision. So the chase vehicle idea is a must.

With the things mentioned above, not all locations around the US are suitable for a Miata rental business. Places like New York, New England or just about anywhere else other than California or Florida have seasons. And as such there are times where it’s too cold or too hot to drive a Miata. Northern states have cold and snow. Southern states have super hot days, flash flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. Similarly, places in the Northeast and the West have twisty mountains which would be excellent for a Miata experience. From all my Bear Mountain runs in New York, or the Tail of the Dragon down the Blue Mountain range down in the Carolinas/Tennessee, or the Rockies in Colorado. Or the canyon carving opportunities in California. Those are all fun things to do, which Florida may not necessarily offer because it’s so flat. But Florida has beaches. Florida has the awesome drive along Route 1 down to the keys to Key West. There are places along the coast of the Carolinas, Louisiana, Texas that are exciting because of the beautiful coastline, beaches and ocean views. California is ideal for it’s coastline and the Pacific Coast Highway that stretches along most of the state from Mexico to Oregon with many beautiful charming little towns and massive metropolises along the way. What’s the ideal place to have this business?

To consider location, I would consider something other than good weather, beautiful beaches, scenic drives, etc. A race track! Motorsports parks exist around the US, their numbers rise in better weather states like Florida or Texas. Having a business near a race track presents great opportunities for a value-added service of offering track time to the person or group that rents your Miata. Perhaps even having race-prepped or track-prepped Miatas specifically for track use, since equipment may be different from the street version, tires, roll cages, etc. Plus insurance. Insurance for street and track use is key. So having a business in Southeast Florida, Palm Beach/Broward/Miami-Dade county area would be perfect. You have the traffic of vacationers, domestic and international, arriving en-masse year round. There are accommodation and activities galore in Miami, Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, the Florida Keys, etc. There are interesting drives to take along A1A or Route 1 down to Key West. Exploring the Everglades. Longer road trips to Tampa/St. Petersburg or up to Daytona Beach which could be day trips or multi-day or even event trips. There are plenty of race tracks that could be rented for events. Like Homestead-Miami Speedway, Palm Beach International Raceway or even Daytona International Speedway which is a reasonable distance from South Florida. Except for the occasional hurricane threat, the weather is good year round. Alternatively California is also ideal. Whether Southern around Orange County, San Diego or even the Bay Area up North with San Francisco or Monterey Peninsula are wonderful. There are race tracks: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Button Willows, Thunderhill, Sonoma Raceway, etc. The weather may be even better than Florida. Except for the earthquake threat there isn’t much to worry about. Drought is a big deal but there are ways to deal with it (cleaning cars). Traffic is a big deal, but there’s a lot of activities to distract themselves with once they arrive there. It’s great!

There are also smaller vacation places that may see less tourists but more enjoyable “get-away” destinations. I think Texas is famous for that. Alabama would be my new pick after checking out Birmingham and Barber Motorsports Park. Gerogia is super cool with Atlanta being a massive airport and busiest in the nation, but Savannah has the charm everyone should experience in their lifetime… still low key enough but very unique. And there’s Roebling Road track which would be ideal for small rentals. There are definitely options.

So having a business like this creates an opportunity to both support the local Miata community by sponsorship and hosting events. But also encouraging the community to participate in the business events by inviting actual owners locally to join the customers on various road trips, cruises, track events, dinner parties, etc.

What would something like this cost?

I think the costs vary based on location. California and Florida may be a pretty expensive place to start a business like this. Not just the costs of buying cars, and a garage, and insurance, and maintenance. But places like Texas, Louisiana, Alabama or Georgia may be much cheaper and flexible. This would allow the opportunity to offer a similar collection like Andrea at Miataland. Buying cheap NA Miatas and turning them into rental cars. NB’s both naturally aspirated and the Turbo Mazdaspeed version. My favorite NC’s or the brand new ND’s and the RF models. I would definitely include the brand new Fiata in this too. I’m sure people would love to compare driving a Miata next to a Fiat 124 Spider or the Abarth version.

I think this would be an awesome business opportunity for someone to pick up and replicate around the world.

Estimated cost of ownership over a 5 year period in the South Florida market. Assuming vehicle mileage increases of 20,000 per year, with 5,000 mile change intervals and 50,000 mile tire change intervals. Data current as of January 2017 and based on estimates provided by kbb.com and edmunds.com

I’m going to add more thoughts as I think of them…. stay tuned!

Miataland

There’s a place in Italy I would love to visit on my next Euro Trip: Miataland. Located smack in the middle of Italy if you look on the map and only a few hours drive north of Rome heading in the direction of Florence and San Marino.

Although I’ve been to Italy twice in recent years neither of my trips lasted for more than a few hours. I did a quickie look-see around Milan while transiting between two flights between Madrid, Spain and Stockholm, Sweden and more recently a flight to Brussels, Belgium from New York via Rome. I literally took the opportunity of a layover to rush to city center, do a quick sightseeing and foodie tour and haul ass back to the airport to make my onward connection. However, knowing about Miataland and having already experienced warm European hospitality on my Miata-centric visits to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Cologne, Germany; Liege, Belgium and Paris, France I would put this pilgrimage at the top of my list now.

From the reviews I read online, the videos I watched on YouTube and Miata.net personal member experiences (with photos) I think this is a fantastic concept and one I know could be replicated (and totally should be) around the world. There were Miata collectors I met in Thailand that could certainly pull this off as well as several folks in Australia and definitely here in the US as well. So my hope is to see Andrea’s concept spread and as someone who would love to work in the tourism industry especially from the side of personally leading groups on various international adventures, I would love to market the hell out of this concept to get Miata enthusiasts to support these sort of businesses wherever they spring up.

But back to the topic of Miataland Italy. Andrea is a new friend on facebook that I would hope to interview soon, whether via Skype or in real life (if I get a chance to volunteer at one of the circuits in Italy for one of their amazing Motorsport events) to share his story and promote his business and passion to everyone reading this. I am personally interested in visiting Miataland even when I know I can’t afford the Five Star accommodation on site, but the garage visit and maybe a joy ride in one of the beautiful NC’s would be awesome. This is a very exciting opportunity I want to share on this blog so that other MX-5 and Mazda fans in general could read up on and research for their own trips to Italy. Something new to consider….

I think it would be totally worth it!

Check out the web site: miataland.com/

Check out the facebook page: facebook.com/pg/miataland/

Here’s some videos of the concept:

and in Italian:

and some pix… with my favorite NC with Italian flag livery:

photo courtesy of Miataland Italy
photo courtesy of Miataland Italy

photo courtesy of Miataland Italy

The more I read about Miataland the more I find out how this concept has grown… the car count in Andrea’s collection has increased from 32 to 36 cars more recently featuring everything from NA’s to ND’s and a whole slew of special editions and rare specimens. There are right hand drive cars also for those that desire it. Supercharged and Turbocharged options including a Mazdaspeed.

I haven’t really talked much about the exclusive property and picturesque scenery of the region. That I guess should be experienced first hand. But having met Dutch, German, Belgian and French owners on the previous trip, and knowing about the existence of the “Friends of MX-5” initiative from Mazda Europe, I think this is a fantastic opportunity to go to a new place. Get a unique chance to check out the countryside behind a wheel of a Miata (of a whatever vintage you prefer) and at the same time get a chance to meet with fellow Miata owners that live in Italy or elsewhere in Europe that may be able to organize an event while you are there. I think that’s the coolest part of this whole endeavor, at least for me.

Check out Friends of MX-5 on facebook:  facebook.com/MazdaFriendsofMX5/

So to sum things up, I haven’t been there but I would highly recommend the place to anyone I know. Not only that I’m seriously dying to go and check it out for myself so I could promote it even more to the readers of this blog and the people I meet on my own Mazda MX-5 Miata Road Trips & Adventures!

….stay tuned!