New Jersey Miatas is having its annual season opening meet and cruise at the Cheesequake Service Area exit 123 on the Garden State Parkway.
spread the word:
I noticed a Mazda3 in traffic on our way to the Rolex 24 at Daytona one of the five days volunteering there, sporting a cool Daytona Mazda license plate frame. I instantly decided I must get one for my Miata. I plan to cut back on my volunteering and I know that Mazda RT24-P Multimatic DPi of Team Joest will be successful at a future Rolex 24 event, so this frame would be my tribute to that future day.
Well today on our way to Daytona International Airport my buddy John and I stopped by at Daytona Mazda to see if we manage to score such a license plate frame… we did! And I took some MX-5 RF for sale pics in the process…
There were only two on the lot among dozens of Mazda SUV’s but they were sure pretty. John especially admired the red one, soul red, I believe similar color to the Daytona prototypes.
Thanks to the salesman that ran out to greet us when we walked into the lot, and offered to get me as many frames as I requested. What a nice fellow!
We had a look-see around the lot, behind the building where we only spotted more Mazda SUV’s and again the red one caught John’s eye. I don’t blame him, it sure looks pretty!
After a bunch of selfies we were on our way to the airport. Unfortunately we didn’t stop at the Daytona Fiat which we zoomed past on the way to the Mazda store. It would have been nice to see what Fiata’ s they had on offer. Next door they also had a Maserati Alfa Romeo dealer which would have been nice to visit to see what they got.
Ironically the only place that had an NC Miata on the lot was the BMW dealership a few hundred yards down. Too bad I didn’t snap some shots of it.
So yeah, if you’re in the market for a new or used Miata or Fiata check out the many stores of the Daytona Auto Mall.
UPDATE February 2, 2018: frames mounted
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?
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.
First, forgive me for being a selfish prick and not sharing the news of the event sooner. I forgot to remember until… and of course the actual date (today) got rained out! So see you all next week…
The peeps behind this event seem to focus on two major events per year… the season opening meet and end of season meet like this one. Not sure if anything happens during the summer but I’m really glad they organize these ones. Often with prizes given away from vendors that support Miata events around the country like Moss Miata and Flyin’ Miata. (possibly others)
Anyway, I’m especially happy to see Modern Fiata’s invited to attend, and really hope to see one at the next one.
For me it’s going to be a crazy day next Sunday. I was scheduled to pick up a rental car at LaGuardia Airport in NYC and drive down to Florida for the Historics (HSR) races at Daytona International. But I don’t want to miss out on this little gathering. So I’ve re-booked my rental car for 8pm… which should give me enough time to chill down the shore, go home to park my Miata. Take public transport to the city, a shuttle bus to Hertz, and bring the rental home before leaving for the thousand mile journey first thing Monday morning.
Should be fun!
Come join us…
It’s been a few years since I discovered I have no future as a race car driver… that feeling came about behind a wheel of an SRT Charger as I was screeching tires making a turn into one of the high speed corners of Road America in Wisconsin. Since that time though I did three more SRT Track Experiences around the country… but instead of pursuing that sort of “racing” hobby I figured it would be much cheaper to volunteer as a marshal (even though that is expensive as hell in itself). BUT… boy was it fun!
The SRT Track Experiences were run by Richard Petty Racing School. It was one of few subcontractors SRT and other performance brands like AMG relied on to help teach their customers how to drive their cars without actually using their cars… Chrysler for example provided more than a dozen cars, everything from a Crossfire to the Viper… and I as a guest of the Track Experience got to drive every single one of them, multiple times. And at the end of the day I simply walked away… no need to buy new tires, or fix any issues that the car could have developed after being flogged by amateurs around the track. Arrive and drive events in someone else’s vehicles are awesome, certainly better than messing with your own car.
And that’s where the Bondurant Racing School comes in. I remember Bondurant when they ran orange SVT Mustang Cobra’s… I remember that because someone at the company sent me a list of cars for sale when they decided to ditch the blue oval and move on to GM (remember those yellow Corvette’s and black Cadillac’s?) and now they do Chryslers… in particular the Dodge SRT line that I got to experience several times with Richard Petty… luckily FCA, the parent of Dodge also has non-HEMI powered machinery for which Bondurant has a whole separate web site, calling it Fiat Trackside https://fiattrackside.com/ which seems like a perfect way to experience the Abarth line-up and in particular the Abarth Fiata: Fiat 124 Spiders… and I intend to one day take advantage of their offerings to experience this Italian (Japanese) creation…
If anyone has a hook-up, my birthday is coming up in September feel free to get me some time behind the wheel of the Bondurant Fiata… I’ll take care of the flight to Arizona but the rest I’m too broke to afford.
Bondurant Racing School also offers a Teen driving program, which is probably more up my alley than an actual high performance Abarth experience, but I wouldn’t turn either of them down if presented with an opportunity.
I’m not sure how these track experiences operate, and if they carry any similarity to the SRT track experiences which I’ve done several of in Wisconsin, Colorado, California and Florida… I’m sure there are some good folks on the Fiata forums that would spare their VIN# for me to experience these cars on track at the Bondurant facility.
This is definitely high on my wish list!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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…
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!
Woo Hoo, we got our first real guest on the Miata Fiata Radio podcast: Daniel Cooper who moderates the NC Miata Group on facebook with over 1.3k members.
Daniel did a lot of work to his personal 2006 True Red Miata. The car looks absolutely amazing and very aggressive… it is primarily a track car at this point with plenty of laps around Road Atlanta and Atlanta Motor Speedway in this area of Georgia.
We recorded in Daniel’s garage looking out on our two cars parked outside… here’s some pix:
And the recording set up, a table we made with NC wheels:
And the best part of the podcast… dinner after at a local BBQ joint: