Tag Archives: Mazda MX-5

Sunday Fun Day Part 2! SCCA Solo II AutoX at the Meadowlands

My day got better as I kept on hearing tires screeching on the neighboring parking lot in the Meadowlands… I was already enjoying the view of the older MX-5’s racing… I discovered one white NA had huge plumes of flames shooting out under braking at the end of their autoX course… so my goal was to catch it on film trying to take a picture. I of unfortunately failed. But having heard the noise of engines roaring nearby decided to check out what it was.

Boy am I glad I did…. because it both excited me and pissed me off.

I’ll explain why, but first let me share some pix:

Notice anything different to Parking Lot L?

Parking Lot E definitely looks different… Most cars didn’t drive here on their own, they were towed. Most car numbers are real stickers not painter’s tape. The cars are newer. The asphalt looks better in the parking lot. Hey, these folks got deep pockets!

This is what excites me… the cool cars. The variety. The performance. And this is what pisses me off… Look at all this fucking money! I’m so sick and tired of SCCA raising fees because they need more money and look at all this stuff in SOLO, they are not hurting for money. They got all the money in the world. It upsets me that they can’t afford to offer training in this area of the country, the New York/New Jersey Regions, but the money clearly is flowing in. Anyway… back to the cars, racing around cones set up on a big parking lot. I enjoyed watching. It was great! Many cars traveled long distance to be here. I saw lots of NER – New England Region stickers. A lot of cars with Connecticut plates. A lot of serious machinery, racing for 40-50 seconds at a time. And that’s cool!

But even with the cool machinery I was bored after five minutes.

So I departed on my final stop of my Sunday Fun Day automotive adventures… BBQ with car people in Edison.

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 RT24-P Daytona Prototypes at the Rolex 24

The #1 attraction of the Rolex 24 at Daytona for me this year was the prospect of watching the new Mazda DPi platform MRT24-P race for the very first time. Neither car finished, so that was a bit disappointing. But I got a chance to check out Mazda / SpeedSource operation up close and personal, be inches away from the cars and getting some Mazda swag in the process and for that I’m really grateful. Here are some pix from the event:

I almost missed my opportunity to do the grid walk because it was so busy running around in the paddock where I was stationed. But thanks to an open minded boss, I managed to snap these shots just in time (thanks to the Mazda/SpeedSource mechanic that helped me).

They started playing the national anthem just after this shot was taken so I had to run off into the cold side of the pits to watch the start of the race.

In the paddock the Mazda setup was impressive touting their history

and the fact that more Mazda’s are raced on any given day in the US than any other brand

In the infield the Mazda Owner’s Lounge didn’t disappoint either, I got my new Mazda hat for recording a short infomercial for the brand

and got to check out the Long Roar Racing cutaway half-street half-race Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster

Great times at the Daytona 24 this year!

Mazda MX-5: Mini Meet with First Coast Miata Club in Jacksonville, FL

Really happy to meet up with a friend in the First Coast Miata Club of Florida… even more happy that he invited a bunch of his friends to join us for dinner on my one thousand mile road trip from home in New Jersey to Daytona Beach, Florida.

Here are some pix from that awesome meet up at Metro Diner in San Marco which is in the south area of Jax (Jacksonville):

Love the way these stickers look on the ND

The folks in the club highly recommended the chicken & waffles or the fried chicken and mash potato dish, in case anyone is interested… Stay tuned for more posts from my Florida Road Trip

A Year in Review: My 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata Adventures Statistics

 

Woo Hoo! My first Miata Fiata Radio Episode is now Live! Listen:


Miata Fiata Radio – A Year in Review: 2016 Miata Fiata Adventures


 

There’s still a few days of 2016 left, but I wanted to jot down all the fun things I’ve done with my MX-5 Miata this year and share it with my readers (and soon to be listeners) in an upcoming Miata Fiata Radio thing I’m launching… yes we’ve already launched Miata Fiata talk the podcast, but I wanted to create a supplement where it’s just me talking about my car and my adventures.

So let’s talk numbers…

International MX-5 Events: 8

Domestic MX-5 Events: 18

Mileage done: 17k

Oil changes: 3

Repairs: 2

Modifications: 4

 

International Road Trips:

Pacific Trip:

  • Sydney, Australia [link][link]
  • Auckland, New Zealand [link]

Euro Trip:

Domestic Road Trips:

  • Polar Bear Cruise in Lehigh Valley, PA [link][link]
  • to St. Pete & Sebring, Florida via Orlando and Daytona Beach [link][link][link]
  • to VIR, Virginia [link]
  • to Belle Isle, Detroit, Michigan [link]
  • Watkins Glen International (x5) [link][link]
  • Lime Rock Park (x3) [link]
  • Palmer Motorsports Park [link]
  • New Jersey Motorsports Park (x2) [link]
  • Philadelphia Miata Run [link]
  • Bear Mountain Cruise (x2) [link][link]

California Trips:

  • Mazda North American Operations [link]
  • Miatas as Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca [link][link][link]

Maintenance:

  • Pennzoil Platinum 5w-20 and 0w-20 (x3) [link][link]
  • Pennzoil Platinum High Milage ATF JWS-3309 [link]
  • Mobil 1 ATF power steering fluid flush [link]
  • NGK Laser Iridium Spark Plugs [link]
  • Techron Fuel System Cleaner [link]

Repairs:

  • RX-8 Hubs (wheel bearings) [link]
  • MX-5 OEM Bilstein Shocks/Springs [link]

Modifications:

  • Touch Screen Pioneer Stereo [link][link]
  • Backup Camera [link]
  • Cravenspeed Stubby Antenna [link]
  • Black Aluminum Shift Knob [link]
  • WeatherTech Floor Mats [link]

 

(More will be added as I think of this stuff)

Support Motorsport Sponsors?

This post is about motor oil and the holiday season shopping, shall we say- opportunities? Yes! It’s all about great deals on products from companies that support Motorsports through their sponsorship. I don’t know about others but when it comes to effectiveness of Motorsport advertising, I’m a sucker for buying things that are promoted on race cars. In this case it is Castrol EDGE motor oil for my Miata. I think I actually bought too much!

A little back story… I have been posting a lot of Miata.net about what oil is recommended for our MX-5’s. The answer is – surprising! People say it doesn’t really matter what you use in the car as long as it is changed regularly because most modern oils sold in the US right now are “good” and therefore no one is better than the other. That said many on the forums use Mobil 1 in their cars. And Mobil 1 sponsors quite a lot of Motorsport. So like sheep I went ahead and bought two 5QT jugs within the first year of ownership of my car and that is what I used. Until I became puzzled by the dark/black look of that oil when I changed it at 5,000 mile intervals. It did not seem right to me especially since Mobil 1 advertised the oil is good until up to 15,000 miles. Yikes!

The two Mobil 1 5QT’s that I bought were mysteriously priced low, at just $5 a jug… which is ridiculous. Normally the price is $25 at Walmart and $35 everywhere else from AutoZone to Advance Auto Parts. My alternative to Mobil in the second year of ownership turned out to be even cheaper to source. I decided to go with Pennzoil Platinum because again Pennzoil sponsored a lot of racing, some people on the forums swore by it (although there weren’t too many of those people, not nearly as much as Mobil 1 evangelists) and it was fairly cheap! Regularly priced at $25 to $30 from Walmart to the parts stores, but constantly on sale and with promotions from both Pennzoil and other sources that at some point cost me as low as $4 for a 5QT jug or in one case, I basically was paid to take the 5QT jug from the store after all the promos and rebates. (Pennzoil is famous for it’s $10 rebate or rather $2 per QT rebate up to $48 per calendar year, which is a lot of jugs). In 2016 I used Pennzoil Platinum exclusively. I liked it so much that I even got the Pennzoil Platinum High Mileage ATF for my JWS-3309 Aisin Transmission. Mostly 5W-20 felt amazing during the spring, summer and fall months. But using 0W-20 in the winter made the engine sound louder, which really perplexed me. I bought another 5W-20 jug to use later but also started considering alternatives, and now decided to start sourcing Castrol EDGE to try next.

There is a post I made two years ago after my last Mobil 1 oil change that I was contemplating trying Pennzoil Platinum and Castrol EDGE, and sharing that plan in a post created a goal which I am now going to meet. In 2017 I will run Castrol EDGE exclusively in my car and I’ve already sourced enough oil for 3 oil changes which is basically the 15,000 miles I plan to do in the coming year. I decided to go with the 5W-20 weight standard black bottle and not the gold extended performance bottle since I am only daily driving the car and not tracking it or using it in any kind of extreme situations. I do plan to make several trips to Florida which will rack the mileage up quickly, but also probably won’t require me to make as frequent changes as short trips in New Jersey would require with stop and go traffic, cold weather, etc. I am very much looking forward to giving this oil a go, and seeing how I like it compared to Mobil 1 and Pennzoil Platinum I already used. So far the standard has been set pretty high, but I have heard nothing but good things about Castrol and they are one of the big sponsors of the IMSA Mazda Prototype program which makes me feel like I’m supporting it directly now.

Price wise though I think the retailer is losing money selling me the oil because I’ve been taking advantage extensively of the Sears/Kmart ShopYourWay rewards program. Every time they sent me 5,000, 6,000 or 10,000 in points (where 1,000 points = $1) I immediately redeem them for another 1QT bottle or 5QT jug of the Castrol EDGE oil which they have in stock. Regular price for the 1QT bottle is $7.99+ tax. (Which seems ridiculous) Last one I bought with the 6,000 surprise point redemption only cost me $0.87 cents. Before that I redeemed 10,000 points and $5.50 for two bottles. The 5QT jugs which Kmart sells for $37 regular price I paid about $7 bux out of pocket after purchasing it in store on sale for $22.99+ tax, and redeeming some regular points and 4,000 surprise points. All in all an oil change will cost me under $10 for the oil and another $9 for the K&N HP-1002 filter which I sourced from Walmart. The good part about the four K&N filters I bought they were still Made in USA and not the newer style which are made in Korea (and for some reason people are complaining that their quality has dropped).

Now all I got to do is keep driving more so I can use up the oil quickly. 2017 is going to be an awesome year…

I should mention some of the other companies I support by using their products thanks to all the Motorsport advertising I’ve been exposed to:

  • BFGoodrich tires – I have two sets, one summer one winter
  • Sunoco Ultra 93 fuel – official fuel of NASCAR & IndyCar
  • BP 93 Ultimate – I know they sponsor loads of Rally racing
  • Mobil 1 lubricants in rear end, power steering, etc.
  • K&N oil and air filters, also official sponsor of NASCAR
  • Bilstein shocks – huge sponsor especially during Nurburgring 24h

I’m sure there’s more that I’ve used or will use in the future.

For those of you that support Motorsport sponsors in your shopping – kudos to that! If you don’t, and use the argument – why pay more when there are cheaper options? Well, as I’ve demonstrated above, it is possible to use brand name and pay less, way less. You just need to shop around… for me it’s a challenge that I enjoy! I especially like buying branded gift cards, like those from BP, ExxonMobil or Sunoco with 5% to 10% discount for each dollar spend, making my expensive Sunoco Ultra 93 fuel (which is typically more than a no name brand) a bit cheaper… considering fuel is about $2.60/gal at the moment, I’m paying 26 cents less a gallon, which brings the price right down to a low-cost option, and I’m buying a better product! That makes me feel good.

Support Motorsport Sponsors, please 🙂

Miata Fiata Talk Episode 2: Modifications and Maintenance Discussion

Join Chris, Sakshik, Russ and Dan for our second episode of Miata Fiata Talk discussing mods and maintenance to our cars. The subjects of exhaust, tires, brakes, suspension and oils are covered along with a bunch of other stories as we got sidetracked a million times. Check it out:

As usual suggestions and comments are most welcome!

Stay tuned for more Miata Fiata Talk episodes.

#MiataFiata

#FiataMiata

#MiataFiataTalk

@MiataFiataTalk

Do follow us on all the social media, facebook, twitter & instagram.

Mazda’s Test Drive Experience: $25.00 Complimentary SCAM?

I hate to go to a dealership where the sales people are clueless!

And it’s sad, because I was going to visit a local dealership in a really good mood. I had a promo in hand where Mazda advertised a $25 e-gift card for test driving any of their new vehicles. Great! I had just done one at a competing dealership, it was a smooth transaction, so I thought it was going to be nice and quick and hopefully give me a good baseline for my future Mazda purchase, be it a CX-7 which I’ve been wanting to get for my mom for the longest time, or maybe a CX-5 which a few of my friends recommended over the discontinued model that I actually prefer.

I was happy to see a few MX-5 Miatas lined up along Route 17 where the dealership is located. Makes sense seeing them there as it’s just about winter time and nobody would probably want a convertible in the weather we are about to get. (though it pays to shop now as I bought my Miata in December and got an awesome deal on it). There was a beautiful NC too on the lot in the used section. A Mazdaspeed3 someone must have either brought for service or that was for sale by another dealership because it had a Toyota dealer tag on it. And a beautiful white CX-7 with NJ plates that too was probably waiting for a service appointment.

I walked in and asked about the promo. The salesperson asked me a question whether or not I was actually interested in buying a Mazda then and there. I answered honestly. And it looked like the salesperson was just going to satisfy the criteria of the promo for me to get the gift card without actually test driving the car. He went off to chat with his manager who gave him some BS story how I must come back with a printout of the e-mail for them to sign. I pointed out that they had to enter the code on their end to whatever web site this promotion was offered from and that’s where we hit dead end. Nobody knew what the promotion web site was for them to punch in the PIN code for me to get the gift card. I spent a good 15-20 minutes waiting while my salesman was on hold with Mazda corporate and they didn’t hear about the offer either. Go figure!

Long story short, the salesperson took my name and number and promised to call back if he hears more about the promo. I told him that I’ll reach out to the people I know and see what they say to which he replied to inform him of what I find out because he’s curious (I kind of have to if I want to get the damn gift card, right?)

And I left it at that.

Directly across the highway there’s a sister Alfa Romeo / Fiat dealership so I figured I’d stop by and take a closer look to the single Fiat 124 Spider on the lot. That experience was even weirder!

For one, as soon as you pull in, amongst all the Fiat 500’s there’s a ginormous Dodge Challenger SRT-8 with a massive shaker hood sitting there. Walk into the store and there’s another SRT-8 Hellcat right next to a Jeep Grand Cherokee (possibly SRT-8 but I didn’t bother looking because they seemed out of place). An Alfa-Romeo 4C set prominently in the middle and a few more 500’s lined the other side of the showroom floor. One salesperson came out of the back somewhere hurriedly asking if I needed help. I asked if I could get a brochure for a 124 Spider and was declined because as the dealer put it: even though he sold 20 cars and got hundreds of brochures, they went quickly! He was in a rush to get back to his customer in the back of the showroom and said he was the only one working that evening, the other two salesmen they have were off. WTF? It all seemed super odd to me…. considering many people may come car shopping just after work hours and there this guy is alone in a store basically turning prospective buyers away! SAD….

My first job out of high school was with a local Toyota dealership. We had 10 to 20 salespeople roaming around the floor on any given day all hungry and eager to grab a customer walking in because it was our objective to sell them a car. Many people bought cars because we would insist on taking each and every person on a test drive which insured we got their contact details and a way to contact them to sell them a car even if they didn’t buy it on the first day.

Neither my Mazda or my Fiat dealership experience tonight was like that which makes me wonder, how the hell do they sell cars? Even when Mazda corporate entices random prospective buyers to drag their ass to the dealership with an offer of $25 bux via gift card, the dumbass dealership can’t even follow through because they’ve never heard of that promotion. Jesus Christ! What are they doing???

So basically the promotion I posted earlier was a SCAM. It wasn’t malicious… but it was plenty useless based on the ignorance of the parties involved. I’m sure I’ll probably have the dealership reaching out to me later trying to sell me something just based on my contact details that they grabbed from me based on this promotion that I signed up for. But the experience just reinforces my previous attitude of not wanting anything to do with these clowns in the future. I’d rather buy a used car from a private party and save myself the headache….    Of course I must say: your results may vary!

Here are some shots I took today:

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It is a bit ironic, I remember driving past this dealership all summer and there was nothing but SUV’s parked out front… now for winter time they roll out the Roadsters… not smart.

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This NC3 in the USED side of the lot looked pretty sharp!

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This CX-7 is EXACTLY what I’m looking for to buy for my mom.

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However, a few people I know have now complained about visibility issues out of that truck and that the CX-5 is a much better option. Though I didn’t drive one, I got to sit in a few CX-5’s on the showroom floor… both in front (driver and passenger) and in the back seats and I agree they feel fairly comfortable. I also sat in the newest CX-9 SUV and hated the driver’s quarters… AS much as I like the idea of everything wrapping around the driver, I also like the freedom to not feel encroached especially on longer drives. The CX-9 has the same issues that my Miata has, the stupid door cup holder on my Miata has a sharp edge that has a tendency of cutting into your leg when it rests against it for a long period of time on a trip. The window switches control area on the CX-9 has the same feeling, and the huge center console pushes from the other side, so you have to maintain a perfectly straight position when driving, which isn’t always comfortable. Not a fan…. also upon closer inspection of the front grille area on the CX-9 I really can’t stand it. I don’t see why the hood has to protrude what seems like a foot beyond the furthest point on the bumper. What is that all about?

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The sole Fiat 124 Spider… the Fiata greets you when you arrive at the Alfa/Fiat dealership across the highway from the Mazda dealer.

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First thing that popped out at me being way out of place was this massive Dodge Challenger R/T sitting among all the Fiat 500’L’s It wasn’t a customer’s vehicle it was clearly being sold by this dealer, and there’s no fucking reason a Dodge should be sold by Alfa/Fiat!

I do understand the news that many Fiat dealerships aren’t doing so well and are being closed with car inventories being shifted over into Chrysler/Dodge/Ram stores. That makes sense. I have no issue seeing Fiat at Dodge dealers. But the other way around feels wrong!

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And there were two more Mopars inside on the showroom floor. I came to see fucking Abarth there not Mopars… come on Fiat, get your shit together!

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Hard to look at an Alfa-Romeo as a halo vehicle when all of it’s performance figures are absurdly dwarfed by the Hellcat across…

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I think the best part about Fiata’s appeal if the relationship with Mazda doesn’t work out, will be their cost. Already the window sticker is priced lower than a similarly equipped MX-5 at the dealership across the highway. Notice also the scale of how much of the car was build where… 75% Japan, 20% Italy what’s the other 5%?

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I left home happy with the prospect of test driving a Mazda I potentially will buy in the near future… and score a few bux thanks to a promo. And came home fucking disappointed. That’s really not the way a dealership experience should go. Oh well!

Cars & Coffee Paramus New Jersey November 2016

Autumn is winding down. Fall foliage has been reduced to leaves waiting in piles on the side of suburban streets, to be sucked up by the DPW trucks… things are about to get pretty gray for a couple of months over the winter. Let a little color cheer you up this weekend. I went to a local Cars & Coffee in Paramus to see some awesome cars on display for everyone’s enjoyment!

I spent a whole of five minutes running around taking pictures, but I’m quite happy I got out of bed early this Sunday morning for this amazing opportunity, enjoy:

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Surprised my car looks so good even when it definitely needs a wash.

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The one thing that stood out at me was the amount of Lotus Espirit’s that showed up for this event.

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Lots of SRT-8 Challengers and colorful Hellcats in attendance too…

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That’s all folks… I think there’s one more of these next week. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it!

Mazda MX-5: Jacksonville Miata Mini-Meet on my Florida Road Trip

I’ve been trying to organize a Florida Miata get-together ever since I bought my car and nothing seemed to pan out, until now! I finally managed to meet up with a local MX-5 owner in Jacksonville on my way to Daytona Beach, Florida… yay!

I’ve been communicating with the owner on Miata.net for a little while now, following on mods he’s been doing to his car and sharing information on my little projects. This opportunity to meet up and share ideas over dinner was great. I especially liked checking out the stuff he’s done in person… like the $38 eBay trunk lip spoiler which I’ve been considering doing myself. Or the larger windshield washer tank that is only available in Canada and not the US. Or his most recent mod: the hood struts which standard Miatas don’t come with. Or the custom steering wheel that is almost double the girth of the original. It was pretty neat!

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If the car looks a lot like my Miata, it basically is… both are 2007 GT PRHT models… same exterior in Copper Red and same interior in Camel Brown or Orange or whatever the hell it is. But this car has a Manual Transmission while mine is an Automatic. It also has a cone K&N filter while mine is stock…. and the few things I mentioned above that I wanted to see to decide whether I should get them too.

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I do really like the idea of the hood struts, that makes things easier.

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And the finish looks like it came from the factory like that.

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Come winter time I’ll probably wish I had this larger Canadian washer bottle.

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As much as I like the idea of a fat steering wheel, the fact it cost over $400 to ship and install, I can say it is nowhere near the top of my wish list.

I’m really grateful for the opportunity and for my new friend shouting a tasty seafood dinner… not something I was expecting but hopefully I could repay the favor in the future.