Tag Archives: Abarth

Visit to Canepa Classic Cars & Motorsport Museum in Scotts Valley, California

What to do in Northern California between two fantastic events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? Visit the Bruce Canepa Classic Cars & Motorsports Museum in Scotts Valley near Santa Cruz of course…

Who’s Bruce Canepa?

I did not know before this trip, even though I’ve been to this part of California many times… but when it comes to Motorsport legends I’m still an obvious newb… Apparently Bruce was a car designer and a professional race car driver. But to me he’s a hero because of an amazing place he’s got in Scotts Valley that I was able to visit and enjoy for over an hour… roaming around gawking, and taking lots of pictures to share here.

The dealership downstairs has some gems. The free museum upstairs is fantastic and I had the whole place to myself when I visited on a weekday in late morning. And the garage area had some unique cars being worked on as well, which you can watch from a bird’s eye view without interfering with the mechanics.

What a place! Go visit now… if you can. I wish I knew about it sooner.

(I learned about it during the Miata’s dinner when people mentioned Canepa hosts regular Cars & Coffee events in this region of Cali)

Level 1: The Classic Car Dealership

Wanna buy a Porsche Carrera GT Prototype? apparently you can…

Level 2: Canepa Motorsports Museum

And my favorite Racing Porsche’s: the 962

And the other Porsche… the baby blue Gulf-Porsche

A Porsche powered Pikes Peak racer

Shop View

And even on my way out of the museum I couldn’t help but enjoy the scenery and take some more pix:

What an amazing place!

Seriously, if you live in California or are visiting the area near Monterey or San Francisco, do stop by and visit Canepa!

Great place to visit is nearby Santa Cruz too…

This is the fifth or sixth Holden badged Commodore I’ve been seeing on the roads in the US.

Oh and while I’m on the subject of visiting California be sure to hang out at In n Out… get an animal style fry with your double-double, and I’m a big fan of the shakes too, especially when you mix flavors.

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!

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

No better way to spend Memorial Day weekend than at my local Cars & Coffee. This meetup at Tice’s Corner in Woodcliff Lake, NJ is always a treat, check out the pix:

I arrived a bit late, after 10am which meant may cool cars were either leaving or had already left… like the Enzo Ferrari and McLaren P1… but the Miata’s were still there, and after parking lot clearing a bit we decided to get them together for a photo op:

At this point it was around noon and everyone was hungry so we headed down to Hackensack to my favorite BBQ joint… Cubby’s!

This place is so awesome… there’s nothing “bad” on the menu, everything is “great!”

Looking forward to the next one!

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!

MX-5 Cup Season Opener at Indy Alabama Grand Prix Road Trip in my Miata

What a freaking week it has been…

I thought the recent Power Steering O-ring or the fucking squirrel were going to be my biggest issue on this amazing 1,000+ mile trip I had planned in my Miata down to Birmingham, Alabama for the Alabama Grand Prix (and most importantly the Mazda MX-5 cup season opener there).

I was wrong. The squirrel or whatever the hell the rat bastard it is has been back visiting my car. No nuts left this time but there’s a small pile of shit on the battery like last time. Ugh! The moth balls didn’t work. Neither did the traps. I’ll have to adjust when I return.

But I had a different nut problem altogether that made me less than optimal for this trip bright and early in the morning… I had some kind of peanut allergy that completely knocked me out for three days straight and I still don’t know what the hell happened to me.

So the day I broke my power steering o-ring mentioned in the last article, I bought some Planters peanuts. They are delicious. I buy them all the time, especially when they go on sale. I had a bunch the same day. I had a bunch the next day. And by the third day when I felt I was developing flu-like symptoms I ordered spicy Indian food to self-medicate, and had some delicious peanuts for desert. By Saturday I was fucking dying! Fever through the roof. Throat hurting like a mutherfucker. Couldn’t swallow. Coughing up dollar coin size chunks of hardened flem. And there I am still eating peanuts… because why not?

Sunday I was completely bed ridden. And Monday… and Tuesday. I started researching what the fuck happened. And it turns out peanuts are a cunt of a thing… they trick your immune system to think they are bad for you. So your body starts fighting a problem that isn’t there. How? I have no fucking clue. But I know what hell I went through over the past few days and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemies!

The flem bit was nasty, but something I could get over. I’m taking pills, and the next phase is caughing which will be annoying. But because of all those days of high fever my lips exploded with fever blisters. I didn’t think it was possible to get more than one at a time. But boy did they pop… First one, then second, then third, fourth and finally fifth all on the upper lip. I didn’t think it was physically possible. But now I look like some kind of a diseased mutherfucker.

Holly crap was this a bad experience!

And tomorrow 1,000 mile road trip to Birmingham commences.

I can’t wait! (even if I probably won’t be 100% until I get there).

Really looking forward to this event. And to the opportunity of visiting Barber Motorsports Park, in my opinion, America’s most beautiful race track. Can’t wait to see the Miata’s too! Fingers crossed my car doesn’t shit itself on the way there.

Mazda Badge Engineering or… Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM)

Leaving the restaurant after celebrating my dad’s birthday my sister noticed a new Fiat 124 Spider in the parking lot and commented: “Hey, that’s a nice Miata!”

Funny that…

I explained the concept of Fiata to her and thought it would be an excellent topic to research and share in this blog. I like Mazda’s. I like their badge engineering efforts with other major companies. And having lived in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia I’ve been exposed to some of their other popular OEM agreements with Ford primarily, but also Suzuki, Nissan and most currently Toyota.

So here’s my attempt at explaining some of the “shared” platforms between Mazda and others.


Mazda & Fiat

Mazda Roadster / Mazda MX-5 – Fiat 124 Spider / Abarth 124 Spider

This is my favorite tie up because obviously the MX-5 started my relationship with Mazda and at some point I would love to buy a Fiat just for variety’s sake.


Mazda & Ford

Mazda BT-50 – Mazda B-series – Ford Ranger

Mazda Tribute – Ford Escape

I almost bought a Ford Escape once to replace our family’s aging Ford Explorer. Tribute would have been an option before I decided to focus my search on CX-7 & CX-5

Ford owned a big chunk of Mazda so there were lots of badge engineered vehicles. They go so far back I can’t even find pretty pictures to display here, so I’ll just list them all:

  • Ford Escape – Mazda Tribute
  • Ford Explorer – Mazda Navajo
  • Ford Courier – Mazda B-series
  • Ford Ranger – Mazda BT-50
  • Ford Probe – Mazda MX-6
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Soho (Africa)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 121 (Europe)
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda 2
  • Ford Fiesta – Mazda Demio
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda 5
  • Ford i-MAX – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford Ixion – Mazda Premacy
  • Ford MAV – Mazda Premacy

 

Mazda Demio – Mazda2 – Ford Fiesta

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford Ixion – Ford MAV

Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Ford i-MAX

It’s worth noting that Mazda uses different model names based on the market. Therefore a Demio is also Mazda2 which replaced Mazda 121 of the past.


Mazda & Toyota

Mazda Demio – Mazda2  – Scion iA – Toyota Yaris iA

This is the most recent relationship with the world’s largest car manufacturer which started off as a Scion brand that Toyota decided to fold into the parent company and now it’s the Yaris replacement. An odd scenario considering how many Yaris & Echo’s Toyota sold on it’s own over the past many years of making the little cars. Why outsource this production to Mazda now?


Mazda & Suzuki

Mazda AZ-1 / Autozam AZ-1 / Suzuki Cara

The Suzuki – Mazda relationship stretches back many generations. Including their famous AZ-1 / Cara project which was marketed under Mazda’s Autozam nameplate. Besides Autozam Mazda also launched Eunos which was originally one to market the Roadster in Japan known as MX-5 Miata everywhere else. Amati and efini brands which were meant to be the luxury divisions of Mazda much like Lexus was to Toyota, Acura to Honda or Infiniti to Nissan. Ford had it’s Lincoln brand and Cadillac did the trick for GM long before.

The list of Mazda – Suzuki mini-micro kei car collaborations:

  • Suzuki Every Wagon – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki  Carry – Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum
  • Suzuki Wagon R – Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon
  • Suzuki Kei – Mazda Laputa
  • Suzuki Alto – Mazda Carol
  • Suzuki Lapin – Mazda Spiano
  • Suzuki Jimmy – Mazda AZ Offroad
  • Suzuki Vitara – Mazda Proceed Levante
  • Suzuki Ertiga – Proton Ertiga – Mazda VX-1

 

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Every Wagon

Autozam Scrum – Mazda Scrum – Suzuki Carry

Autozam AZ Wagon – Mazda AZ Wagon – Suzuki Wagon R

Mazda Laputa – Suzuki Kei 

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Carol – Suzuki Alto

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda Spiano – Suzuki Lapin

Mazda AZ Offroad – Suzuki Jimmy

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda Proceed Levante – Suzuki Vitara

Mazda VX-1 ~ Suzuki Ertiga ~ Proton Ertiga

I could be wrong but it seems to me that Mazda rebadged every Suzuki made on the Japanese market. Which is interesting…


Mazda & Nissan

 Mazda Premacy – Mazda5 – Nissan Lafesta Highway STAR

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette

Mazda Bongo – Nissan Vanette Truck

Mazda Familia Van – Nissan AD Expert

The Mazda Nissan relationship seems very interesting in that Mazda builds the Lafesta minivan for Nissan, along with the commercial Bongo rebadged to Nissan’s Vanette models. But Nissan provides the rebadged AD Expert marketed by Mazda as a Familia Van… Mazda’s Familia in Japan is marketed as Mazda 323, Mazda Protegé and more recently Mazda3 or Mazda Axela and none of the Mazda models look anything like the Nissan version… but, whatever works!


Mazda & Kia

Mazda Sentia – Kia Enterprise

This luxobarge was a rebadged Mazda for the Korean market before Kia/Huyndai started getting all fancy with their own big car designs.

Besides this product there was also Kia Pride which was a rebadged Ford Festiva just like Mazda 121 and Mazda Soho.


Mazda & Holden

This is going way back but Mazda used to sell Australian Holden’s in Japan as Mazda Roadpacer – rebadged from Holden Premier. Apparently Holden shipped the whole car minus an engine where Mazda shoved a rotary under the hood and put it on the market. It was not terribly successful.

 


Mazda & Isuzu

The next Mazda pick-up truck will be a rebadged Isuzu. Currently Isuzu and GM have a partnership where Isuzu’s rebadged D-Max trucks sell as Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon.

 

I will update this page as I find more Mazda collaborations out there.

Fiat 124 Spider: Fiata Sighting at Auburn Hills, Michigan (FCA HQ)

Taking advantage of the opportunity of being in Detroit for the Grand Prix I figured it would be a good chance to spy the pre-release Miata-based Fiat 124 Spider in the wild… friends I talked to claimed they were roaming around and you could spot them everywhere, so when I failed to see one within the first few days of being in Michigan I started obsessing about it, making it my mission to see the Fiata in the flesh before I leave Detroit to go home.

I succeeded!

Although at a cost. The cost of fuel that is… trying to spy a Fiata on Detroit suburbs streets was nothing more than a fuel burning exercise with very limited success.

The most obvious place to look for the new Fiata that I could think of was driving through the FCA HQ at Auburn Hills. Being a big SRT fan I’ve visited the place before and knew it was possible to visit as “general public” driving around Chrysler Dr. I did this heading out to Detroit to register for the Grand Prix with SCCA but failed to see one on the first day. Getting a little antsy I reached out to a few Chrysler people I knew, including my host for the weekend, to pick their brain on where would be the most likely place to spy a Fiata without getting into trouble. And both said that since the embargo has been lifted as the car was presented at various auto shows, it shouldn’t be an issue… hell one of the guys said they should be hitting dealer lots in the next month or so, so I’m sure they’re stamped by huge quantities already in production form.

But I haven’t seen one yet, so I was eager for a chance. The most likely scenario of spying one at the HQ was being at the right place and at the right time… so to optimize I chances I did a drive-by right around lunch time and then once again at quiting time, at the end of the day…. the success came just after 11am… I saw a beautiful red model that I caught just out of the corner of my eye leaving the parking lot as I drove past… I had to slow way down for that car to catch up to me and took a few snaps:

fiata fiat 124 spider at aburn hills michigan fca hq 1

fiata fiat 124 spider at aburn hills michigan fca hq 2

fiata fiat 124 spider at aburn hills michigan fca hq 3

fiata fiat 124 spider at aburn hills michigan fca hq 4

fiata fiat 124 spider at aburn hills michigan fca hq 5

FCA HQ has it’s own Interstate 75 exit/entrance ramps, and the gray haired big wig driving this thing hopped on and took off. I thought it would be weird following him, so I went the other way hoping I would spot a parked version of this car so I could take some much better still shots. But I failed in locating one.

First impressions of the car: I feel like I’ve seen it before! I realize it’s a new model and all, but it has a familiar look to it, something ordinary something that’s already on the market. I realize people would say: well, it’s based on the Miata and that’s already out. But that’s now what I mean. It looks nothing like a Miata. The ND MX-5 is unique with it’s looks, it looks like nothing else on the market. While the Fiat 124 Spider that has yet to hit the dealer lots already looks like a slightly squared NB Miata that’s been sold for a decade.

I don’t know how I feel about it yet…. I guess it’ll grow on me.

Fiat 124 Spider: Fiata Miata for 2017 I’m Guessing I’ll be Able to Rent one in Europe Soon?

Jalopnik has published photos of the 2017 production version of the Fiat 124 Spider based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster, or as everyone is calling it on the forums: Fiata Miata. And the production version looks completely different from what all the speculative renderings were. It’s dramatically different from the 2016 Mazda Miata that it is based on. And at this point I’m not sure if I like it or not. Initial impressions of the Fiata Spider is that it looks more like the NB version of the Miata while the car it’s based on pays more homage to the NA model. The obvious differences between the Fiata and the Miata based on the pictures seem to be a longer nose on the Fiat, and a more square trunk, which will probably have more storage capacity, even if ever so slightly. The interiors look identical. Check out this Jalopnik article for more pictures of the Fiat 124:  jalopnik.com/2017-fiat-124-spider-this-is-it-all-official-and-stuf

2016 mazda mx-5 miata fiata fiat 124
photo credit: Mazda
mazda roadster mx-5 miata
photo credit: Mazda
fiat 124 spider fiata miata mx-5 mazda
photo credit: Fiat
2017 fiat 124 fiata miata mx-5 mazda
photo credit: Fiat

Since I am not at all likely to get rid of my NC Miata any time soon, the only likelihood of me driving a Fiata Miata is if I rent one, most likely in Europe as I doubt they’ll be very representative of the American rental car fleets… I certainly have not been able to find any Mazda MX-5 ND rental cars around in my recent travels.

I am looking forward to test driving one just to compare how it feels to my car.

PS. Hopefully the promised Abarth version looks even more aggressive ( I think I secretly wanted the Fiat 124 Spider to look more like the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider than a vintage Fiat or NB Miata for that matter ).

Fiat 124 Spider Abarth: Fiata Miata (Mazda MX-5)

This is a purely speculative post about the news of the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider / Abarth model based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata / Roadster. One of the support series for the Spa 24h event I’m about to embark on is the Trofeo Abarth Europe series which I’m a huge fan of so it’s fresh on my mind to write a few thoughts down.

Why do I care about this model?

Because with my latest purchase of an NC Miata I’m interested in all things to do with the MX-5 model. I think the latest pictures from my marshaling, road trips and foodie tours could attest to that. In 2017 there will be Fiats rolling off the same assembly line as the Miata, and that’s really cool. I’m especially interested in the Abarth model. Perhaps by that time in 2017 on I’ll actually be able to upgrade my personal Miata to it’s replacement, which might as well be an Abarth… or not. It would be cool to look back on the speculation and compare it to reality.

First I wanted to share some renderings of a Fiata out there online:

Abarth 124 Spider render based on Mazda MX-5 Miata
credit: http://www.124spider.org/forum/13-2016-fiat-124-spider-photos/962-124-abarth-renderings.html
Nuova-Abarth-124-render
credit: http://www.124spider.org/forum/13-2016-fiat-124-spider-photos/962-124-abarth-renderings.html
fiat-124-spider-2015-rendering
credit: http://www.alvolante.it/news/fiat-124-spider-2015-spy-338698/foto
Fiat 124 spider-kOEI-U430501163338409mhD-590x445@Corriere-Web-Sezioni
credit: http://motori.corriere.it/motori/anteprime/cards/alfa-suv-fiat-124-spider-novita-fca/fiat-124-spider.shtml
2015-Fiat-Abarth-Spider-HD
credit: http://woolves.com/fiat

Kind of important to remember that none of the 2016 Miata renderings were terribly close to the real thing, the ND MX-5. But it’s nice to speculate, and to actually compare what the two cars share in common and what bits could be used from one car on another.

Just because the two cars would roll off the same assembly line doesn’t necessarily mean they’d be identical. It’s important to note that the Ford Mustang and the Mazda 6 rolled off the same Auto Alliance assembly line and the two are quite different vehicles. However, during my recent Cars & Coffee conversation with a Lotus Elise owner it was interesting to hear him talk about the interchangeable parts between his car and the Tesla Roadster (the center console in particular… a much desired part by Lotus owners).

For one the Abarth version of the Fiata will be significantly more powerful than the 155hp Miata, so that’s something to look forward to. Although I’m pretty content with the amount of power my current NC Miata has.

So much like the Toyobaru union for the Toyota 86 GT / Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ I think this will be a huge hit with the two door roadster owner community in the US but more importantly around the world. One of my favorite things is to see the same exact Miata in pictures posted by their owners from North America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific, etc. It’s truly amazing!

Let’s wait and see how this develops.

Check out this post from Lime Rock Park where I got to marshal a historics event with a number of classic Abarth race cars well represented: Abarth Fiats at Lime Rock

 

UPDATE: So as per the September 28th Jalopnik article, this is what it’ll actually look like… (very similar to the MX-5 especially the interior except the exterior a bit less rounded and larger proportion)

http://jalopnik.com/2017-fiat-124-spider-this-is-it-1733363750

jalopnik fiata miata fiat 124 mx-5 a
photo credit: Jalopnik
jalopnik fiata miata fiat 124 mx-5 b
photo credit: Jalopnik
jalopnik fiata miata fiat 124 mx-5 c
photo credit: Jalopnik
jalopnik fiata miata fiat 124 mx-5
photo credit: Jalopnik