Tag Archives: MX5

Thank You Trevor Alexander Hermance for the VIP Treatment at Palmer Motorsports Park

First and foremost a huge thanks to my friend Trevor Alexander Hermance for making my first trip to Palmer Motorsports Park a really enjoyable and memorable experience. An equally huge thanks to Jessie Lynne Honigs too because without her facebook post looking for help, I wouldn’t have decided to go up to New England last minute on short notice, but I’m sure she knows exactly how much I appreciate her already! Trevor was kind enough to provide me with a warm and comfortable place to stay so I didn’t have to deal with the misery of camping in pretty crappy weather, and for that I’m always extremely thankful!

I’ll take this opportunity to debrief this trip… my first time marshaling at Whiskey Hill Raceway for the New England Region SCCA season kickoff club races.

The Road Trip started with a Foodie Tour of Connecticut, but instead of seeking out something new and unique I haven’t tried before I knew exactly what I wanted to sample on this visit: steamed cheeseburgers! I knew the place I wanted to visit, and from memory it should have been right on my way. So once I hit some traffic while driving up on Thursday afternoon I punched the name into my GPS: Ted’s Steamed Cheeseburgers Restaurant, and it came up just about 20 miles up the Interstate. I got off the highway and within a mile I was there… except this was not the location I visited last year on my way to Thompson Speedway… not the original. It was one of their new chain stores, a much bigger restaurant size-wise, and one much closer to the highway, which was very convenient. I sat down to eat, to wait out the traffic, and ordered a few more burgers to-go so that I could have them for lunch the next two days (GREAT IDEA, actually! They were delicious, and very filling).

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Everything Cheeseburger with a Raspberry Peach Milk Shake. Yum!

Upon arrival at the Whiskey Hill Raceway at Palmer Motorsports Park I went ahead and registered, set myself up at Trevor’s house and joined Jessie and other flaggers for a very nice dinner celebrating Cinco de Mayo at a local Mexican place called Mexicali in Ware, Massachusetts. For someone that doesn’t drink I found the margaritas especially appetizing, they went well with my burrito.

The following morning we all showed up at the mustering tent bright and early, having driven a whole of maybe a quarter mile from the house to the track. NER SCCA region showed their appreciation by handing me two TIP’s, or Track Incentive Plan Reward Coupons which are redeemable for gas cards… Great! I like a trip that doesn’t cost me too much out of pocket, this trip paid for itself.

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palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 17 shell gas card

I was assigned to Turn 3 with a very experienced flagger and our day flew by pretty quickly. Though there were no incidents we had plenty of opportunities to wave the blue flag, which is always nice. The incidents we did have we couldn’t really see because they happened right in front of Station 4, which was not within our line of sight, and that station didn’t advise us to help with Yellows. I could just barely see a car spinning up the hill, but then rocks would block the outcome, we couldn’t tell whether it had spun or continued.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 11 turn 3

Though lately I think my new favorite flag is the Yellow, and I got to wave it quite a lot the next day while stationed at Turn 1. Nothing major happened, but I had some dramatic spins in a number of racing groups, with a bunch of cars stopping smack in the middle of the track and the whole field going around them smoothly. My Yellow was out quickly and everyone obeyed it. It was beautiful!

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca

From turn 1 I could also see Turn 2, and Turn 3, and Turn 4, and Turn 5, and further up to Turn 5A, and then Turn 9, and down to the Start stand. This was not the case the day before at Turn 3, we couldn’t have a visual sight of the station before or the station after us, and flagging while blind isn’t fun. I hope Palmer Motorsports Park does something more about visibility from station to station. I think the most fixable solution is simply adding more stations even if relay stations (which means more people to staff) in order to have full visibility around the track.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 16

The weather was a bit soggy both days but since I was prepared with wet weather gear it didn’t affect me too much. The temps were a bit chilly but we were up on a mound, so it was to be expected. I find it fascinating how two months ago the trees were blooming in Texas when I went there for PWC, a few weeks later trees started blooming on my drive down to Florida for St. Pete GP, and a month later at Palmer trees are just about ready to start blooming. Funny how mother nature works. Speaking of mother nature, none of the Palmer stations were equipped with porta-johns, which I hope they do soon enough. It’s not particularly comfortable working without a bathroom available nearby.

The fields of cars were impressive for me, especially since majority of them had a Mazda badge on them… even more impressive most of those Mazda badged cars were Miatas. Primarily NA’s and NB’s but one single ND  was my favorite car. I was hoping to spy another NC in the paddock so I could go up to the owner and ask to see what the proper oil level on the dipstick should look like (you know ask a professional racer) but there wasn’t one to be found. Oh well…

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I was really happy to get some Mazdaspeed swag, especially something I don’t already own to add to my collection.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 10 mazdaspeed lanyard

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 15 driving the track

Even more impressive was the fact they let us run our personal vehicles around the track at the end of the first day with the rain coming down pretty heavily in spots. I was too excited to go fast, but it was a blast nonetheless. The track looks super wide but judging by all the spins the club racers had I didn’t want to end up in the gravel myself or worse – in the barrier. After two laps I was done, & happy!

We were all exhausted enough after the long, cold and wet day; and it was especially refreshing to go back to the warm house, pop open a Lime-a-Rita with Jessie and BS about our day, sharing stories with the other flaggers that joined us at the house. I was made to feel especially welcome and the VIP treatment certainly is appreciated! Before going to sleep I got to check out Trevor’s/Palmer Motorsports  Park’s little literature collection which was layed out on the table in my room… the book about Mazda 787B especially caught my attention:

ner scca at palmer motorsports park 1

Never stop challenging!!!

The trip ended the same way it started. I made it a point to stop at Ted’s on my drive home. This time I had the Southwest burger which had bacon, shrooms and onions along with a unique sauce on it which was delicious. I went ahead and ordered a few more cheeseburgers to take home, and my father was happy to wolf one down as soon as I got home.

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What a great trip!

I’m so looking forward to the next one.

Got to drive Palmer Motorsports Park… at Speed… in Pouring Rain… Had a Blast!

I remember how excited I was to write a post about driving around Watkins Glen International… a bunch of times… while getting to my station assignment. Well, my experience driving around the Whiskey Hill Raceway at Palmer Motorsports Park beat the WGI experience by a mile… many miles actually. We were let loose on the track at the end of first day with no particular advice on the speed limit or how to drive… you could go as fast as you want… and it was pissing down with rain. The whole thing was awesome!

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I set out in a cold car that’s been sitting in the paddock all day, on cold tires, holding a cell phone in my hand taking these pictures, so naturally first lap was nice and slow. I don’t think I went over 60 or 70mph on the straights. Definitely much slower than that in the corners. Though my less than 1,000 mile BFGoodrich Sport Comp 2’s felt very stable and grippy right from the get-go. For my second lap I put the phone down (remembering that I have the dash cam going and could save the video instead) and gave it a little bit more jandal… The car felt very stable and responsive. Though I kept it a reasonable speed knowing full well that if I brake it, it would be a rather pricey tow bill for 170 miles across several states to get home. Nonetheless even at grandpa speeds I had a blast! What an amazing facility. The uphill climbs are fairly steep. There’s a ton of blind corners. The track is wide enough to try different lines. And then when you get to the summit, you get to zig zag down the mountain which is just as much fun as the climb up. I loved it!

Of course I took a bunch of shots of the car the next morning to illustrate just the magnitude of the boulders that the track is chiseled out of. Pretty amazing.

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Note the heavy earth moving equipment that is working on improving the track daily. Can’t wait to see this place when finished!

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Post card from Palmer Motorsports Park: Whiskey Hill Raceway

Another last minute road trip to New England to help Jessie staff the NER SCCA club racing season opener at Palmer Motorsports Park: Whiskey Hill Raceway. And it turned out absolutely fantastic!

Palmer Motorsports Park is my #41st track to marshal. I was excited to check it out. It’s a brand new facility that only opened last year and still has that brand new track smell to it. Lots of areas are still a work in progress, but what is finished looks very impressive. It’s pretty fascinating how much rock… nay, boulders there are here. It reminded me of Pikes Peak… except instead of going up into the heavens forever, the track climbs up and then swoops down in a series of zig zag zoom zoom turns… which I was lucky enough to experience for myself at the end of day Friday when they let workers drive the track… at speed… in pouring rain. It was a Wicked Pissah! of an experience, I loved it sooooo much!

I’ll write a longer debrief later, but for now enjoy some pix:

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 1

Pretty low key entrance… but the boulder lined driveway into the facility gives you a preview of what to expect at the track itself.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 2

Worker transport was very useful not just while getting flaggers to stations during the work day, but also at the end of day when we took it for a spin in town of Ware to celebrate Cinco de Mayo…

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Back to the track… the 2D layout doesn’t do the 3D track justice!

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NER SCCA region folks are a tight knit community of down to earth, hard working, racing enthusiasts! Racers and Flagers alike…

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My favorite toy of the weekend was the MX-5 Cup Car from LRR, but I’ll write more about it in a separate post.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 10 mazdaspeed lanyard

I was lucky enough to score some Mazdaspeed swag on this trip.

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As well as some worker “TIPS” the Track Incentive Plan which is $8 per slip of which you get a few during a race weekend. Three of these plus a $1 bill were redeemed for a $25 Shell Gas Card which almost paid for my fuel bill on this trip!

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 17 shell gas card

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First day I got to enjoy the views working Turn 3.

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It was a great Blue Flag station.

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The first day ended with a tasty warm meal.

palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 15 driving the track

And of course I got to haul ass around the wet track, for 2 laps.

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palmer motorsports park whiskey hill raceway ner scca 20 gulf racing

While there was a little bit of variety, I was thrilled to see the majority of race cars at the track were Mazda MX-5 Miatas… and #37 in particular mopped the floors with all of it’s competitors as the car raced in multiple classes… it won against other Miatas, it also won against a mixed field of similar cars… and it won against a field of GT’s on a wet circuit, none of them could put the power down.

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I had an absolute blast! And I’d love to return to this facility when the surrounding forest/trees are covered in luscious green leaves. Although baren trees certainly contributed to better visibility, especially when I worked Turn 1. I will be back here for sure!

Mazda MX-5: Ontario Miata Owners Meet-Up Near Mosport: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in May

Hey Canadian MX-5 Miata owners, let’s meet up for a cup of coffee!

I’m planning to go to the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this May for the Victoria Day Speedfest where a few cool series will duke it out around the amazing “Mosport” circuit.

I’ve done this trip a bunch of times before and it was a lot of fun but I’d like to expand my visit to include a little MX-5 Miata owner get together as I’ll be driving my car on it’s first International Road Trip.

My plan is to reach out to the Trillium Miata Club, Toronto Miataphiles and the Niagara Peninsula Miata Club to see if they’d be interested in participating, but realistically I’m only looking for a few people that may be available mid-week after work to meet up for a little poutine and maybe a short cruise around the area so I could take some pictures for this blog.

Interested?

Please get in touch through facebook!

f-canada May 19 – 22 Victoria Day Speedfest in Bowmanville, ON

Club links:

Trillion Miata Club: www.trilliummiata.com/

Niagara Peninsula Miata Club:  www.niagarapeninsulamiataclub.com/

Toronto Miataphiles: www.miataphiles.ca/

I’m not sure how many days I’ll spend in Bowmanville and IF I’d get an opportunity to go to Toronto or Niagara Falls area, but I certainly could build that into my trip if there are interested people in that area. Let’s make it happen folks, eh?

canadian mazda mx-5 miata vancouver british columbia
Thanks for this awesome photo to a fellow Miata.net member soupnazi

Mazda MX-5: Euro Trip Invitation to hang out with Miata Owners in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France

Hey European MX-5 Miata owners, let’s meet up for a cup of coffee!

I don’t even drink coffee, but I’m happy to buy a cup for any local MX-5 Miata owners that come out and meet me on my next trip to Europe where I’ll be marshaling DTM at Zandvoort, WEC 6 hour at the N-ring and Spa 24 hour in Belgium.

mx5 miata road trip european union dutch german belgian french euro trip

I will be visiting Amsterdam on my way to Zandvoort and it would be amazing if some Dutch MX-5 owners came out to say hello. I know there’s a ton of them out there, and I’ll be posting this invite on the MX5-Club.NL facebook group. It might actually be pretty reasonable to organize a small event near Amsterdam as it is convenient for folks to come out to town and for me to use public transport to meet them.

The next step in Germany may be a little more difficult. I failed miserably to meet up with MX-5 owners on my last two trips to Nurburgring even though I saw a ton of Miatas driving around. But I won’t stop trying to organize something. So if anyone lives near Adenau or plans to visit WEC 6h race on the Grand Prix circuit, let me upgrade the cup of coffee to a stein of beer to entice you! I will post this invite on MX-5 miata eunos Roadster community page.

I’ve also failed to organize something on my last few trips to Brussels when marshaling in Belgium, but I know there is an MX-5 community there and I want to meet up with them! So whomever is available in Brussels, Liege or even Spa please get in touch. If coffee isn’t your think I’ll be happy to spring for Kriek or another beer variety. I will be posting this invite on the Ma Miata MX5 Belgium Liège facebook community page and Miata MX-5 Roadster Club Automobiles and Parts  page.

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And finally I’ll be flying home via Paris, France which would be great opportunity to meet up with another MX-5 community in Europe. Of course I don’t speak the language for any one of the places I’m visiting, no dutch, flemish, french or german, but that hasn’t stopped me from organizing these things before in Asia or the Pacific. I will be posting this invite on the Club MX5 France page.

I am really excited about this opportunity and am hoping people will respond to my invites.


My schedule in Europe is as follows: (UPDATED July 8, 2016)

f-netherlands July 13 & 14: staying in Amsterdam

f-netherlands July 15 to 17: marshaling at Zandvoort for DTM

f-netherlands July 18 to 19:staying in Amsterdam

f-germany July 20 to 21: staying in Cologne

f-germany July 21 to 24: marshaling at Nurburgring for WEC

f-belgium July 25 to 27: staying in Brussels

f-belgium July 27 to 31: marshaling at Spa-Francorchamps for Spa 24h

f-belgium August 1: staying in Brussels

f-france August 2: staying in Paris, meet-up at Auto Passion Cafe


So, are you available to hang out on any of these days? Please get in touch! My goal is to meet up and take some MX-5/Miata pictures for this blog. I’ve done similar meet-ups in Asia and the Pacific so feel free to look around this web site for an idea of why I want to meet.

I hope people do in fact come out! Please get in touch via facebook.

mazda european mx-5 cup of coffee invitation amsterdam brussels liege nurburg paris

PS. I’ll be traveling on a super tight budget using public transport and CouchSurfing along the way… which means I won’t be terribly mobile, but if there are MX-5 owners out of major cities which are easy to get to, I’ll be sure to research ways of getting there for this.

Please use #GlobalMX5CupOfCoffee & #EuropeanMX5CupOfCoffee hashtags to promote these meet ups on social media! Feel free to share this invite with everyone! Some more links to local MX-5 clubs:

http://www.mx5-club.nl/

http://www.mx-5.de/

http://www.mx-5.be/

https://www.mx5france.com/

http://mx5-club-koeln.de/

Mazda MX-5: Hey Sydney & NSW Miata Owners! Come Join Us for a Fish & Chips Run from Kirribilli to Balmoral

Dear friends in Australia, New South Wales, Sydney Area…  come join me and the MX-5 Club Sydney Chapter on a little fish & chips run from under the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Kirribilli to Balmoral.

The meet and greet was the idea of one of the Sydney MX-5 owners from the club, but I wanted to extend the invitation to anyone else finding this blog post on Google or whatever search engine you use. If you’re in Sydney and FREE Tuesday afternoon February 9th at 6pm you should totally come out and enjoy a beautiful sight of a bunch of Miatas and an American guy running around with his phone taking a million pictures.

Check out this link on facebook for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/204635939879450/

Apparently the Aussie MX-5 owners do this quite frequently, which makes me incredibly jealous because Miata meets in New Jersey are few and far between. But oh well…

I’d also like this opportunity to remind folks that I’ll be in Bathurst from February 4th to the 8th and I’m sure there will be a few MX-5 owners there, possibly doing a parade lap around the famous circuit.

I’m also a little slow on organizing a meet-up in Auckland, New Zealand so if anyone is interested from my Kiwi readers please get in touch and we’ll organize a nice get together in the CBD or one of the suburbs.

In addition to that I have had little success finding MX-5 owners in the Cook Islands, as I’ll be visiting Rarotonga for a few days at the end of my trip. Again… interested? Get in touch!

I’m so looking forward to this trip!!!

kirribilli australia sydney

MX-5 Miata Road Trip

I launched a new Facebook Page for my favorite pastime: MX-5 Miata Road Trip’s: www.facebook.com/MiataRoadTrip

I’ve been blogging quite frequently about the trips I’ve taken in my NC Miata, mainly to get to a race track Upstate New York or up to New England. But that hobby is about to take me internationally, with a trip to Southeast Asia booked in early December 2015 and another to the Pacific in February 2016. I’m making it a priority to meet up with any and all MX-5 owners I can on the road. Hence the MX-5 International Road Trip.

I’m hoping that the facebook page would allow me to make new connections as well as to share some pictures from my meetups without mixing the content with my Motorsport hobby that I also blog about frequently: Marshal Cam (#MarshalCam) as well as the Foodie Tours that I enjoy very much and also blog about separately. I have a feeling people visit this site for each of the things that interest them most and perhaps not all of them want the Marshaling, Foodie Tours and Miata stuff mixed.

For the International trips, except of course for my future drive up to Canada, I won’t be taking my car. So my goal is to meet other owners and take as many pictures and videos of their cars as they would let me. I am also planning on perhaps renting a few MX-5’s and sharing those experiences in the blog and on the facebook page as well. I think it would be pretty awesome to read and based on a few searches I did thus far, there’s nothing like it out there (except one kiwi page from a few years ago that promoted MX5 Roadtrip’s – it was hard to find perhaps because of “roadtrip” used as one word).

So hopefully this works!

Go ahead and like the page to have all that content pop up on your Facebook feed automatically. www.facebook.com/MiataRoadTrip

mx-5 rmiata oad trip

Mazda MX-5: Personal touches to my Miata

I’ve started the year off with a spirited drive in the Mazda!

Unlike last year, the snow has held off this January and it’s the perfect time to take the MX-5 for a spin around the neighborhood. So far, my little red sports car has been keeping me preoccupied with ways of personalizing it to my liking as well as fixing the little issues it came with from the previous owner.

I thought all that black plastic behind the seats looked very monotonous and plain, so I added a little chrome to it. Originally it was meant to feature a #MarshalCam patch but instead of super gluing a piece of cloth there, I thought a trunk badge would do better. I love the way it looks now. The eBay bought badge arrived at 6pm on New Year’s Eve and by New Year’s day it was on the car!

Miata badge 1

Miata badge 2

Miata badge 4

Miata badge 3

Miata badge 5

miata prht

The other problem was a bit of an annoyance that seems to happen quite often on these cars. The plastic sun visor crack at the base with time and that was a problem for me on the passenger side. Luckily Miata.net forum members are an enterprising bunch and suggested a simple temporary fix.

Miata plastic sunvisor

I love this car!

Mazda MX-5: First Mod – Compliance!

The official vehicle of Grand Prix Road Trip: my Mazda Miata MX-5 got it’s first modification. No it’s not a power adder or stiffer suspension, just a little piece of compliance so I wouldn’t have to drill holes in the front bumper to mount the license plate.

I saw Jessie from SponsorAFlagger.com had the same mod on her BMW when we worked together at Watkins Glen, and since then I figured I’d do the same if a car I owned had a similar tow hook on the front bumper. None of my Crown Vic Police Interceptors or the Chevy Impala had such a feature which is most common to Japanese or European cars, so I’m glad it worked out perfectly.

Anyway…. I first saw the ad for this plate bracket on Miata.net but it was advertised at about $80 which seems quite steep for what it is. Researched it further on eBay and Amazon and found a much more reasonable deal for $48 while other cars were listed for $38 or so… so I decided to make an offer and one was accepted for $40 while I was in Portugal marshaling. So I quickly PayPal’d them the money and was hoping the item would arrive in time for my NJ inspection to make the car road legal. The item never showed up when the tracking said it would. I reported it as lost, but it must have been delayed in the Christmas traffic. Because after I had returned home from the inspection station having zip tied the front license plate to the honeycomb grille, the bracket showed up. And I quickly put it on the car:

mazda mx-5 plate 1

Zip tied plate and the Godspeed bracket ready for install.

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The tow hook hole mount, screws right in.

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And voila! The finished look.

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Now to move on to the next solution… I put the windows down for a moment when it was raining outside and now my driver side BOSE speaker is buzzing. Miata.net forums describe it as a common problem but one that isn’t very cheap to fix.

If anyone has any suggestions, please get in touch with me. And if you see the car on the road, go ahead and honk. Say Hello!

PS. What a fun little car… Zoom Zoom! for sure.

Mazda Miata MX-5

Hey, remember that post from Petit Le Mans where I mentioned my search for a Mazda Miata? You know the Mazdaspeed swag I won at the Road Atlanta volunteer marshal party?

mazda mazdaspeed swag petit le mans

Well, it’s been many months since I started looking for a Miata to buy and I still haven’t gotten my hands on one. I don’t want to sound frustrated yet, because there’s a simple solution to my problem. Simply, I can go in debt and buy any Miata I want, but realistically I’m trying to land a deal. The best car I can afford for the least amount of money spent on it. And that search hasn’t been very easy.

This week I have viewed three cars and test drove two of them. What I’m after is an NC model car which is the third generation, the latest generation before the newly announced ND hits the market. The cars I saw were 2006, 2007 and 2008 model year cars in various conditions and specs. The 2006 was the furthest away, about 100 miles or 2 hours drive from where I live. Beautiful red color with black painted wheels. Lots of mods, like Koni adjustable shocks, H&R springs, drilled and slotted rotors and probably other stuff. I especially liked the red painted calipers. But it had an accident on it’s Carfax car history report and the whole car was repainted, which probably means the accident was pretty moderate to severe.

The 2007 was a little bit closer. Featured Momo wheels but otherwise stock, and had a lot of miles on it. There was a rather large dent on the front fender and Carfax reflected that, or possibly larger accident that had occurred with this car. It drove rough, and was obviously in need of some suspension work.

Finally the 2008 was sold by a local dealer who had it prominently displayed at the front entrance of the store. The dealership: Mazda of Lodi, is literally a few miles from where I live, so by far the closest one. Only has 15k miles on it, but the body is completely banged up. I’ve seen limos in better shape than this car and they have hundreds of thousands of miles on them. So something was very fishy about it. As a result I think the dealer was a major jerk to me, wouldn’t let me drive it until I told him how I was paying for the car which I wasn’t sure I’d buy since it was so badly abused, so I got up and walked out.

So my search continues. And seeing such huge fields of Miata’s racing in SCCA club racing as well as pro series like the Playboy MX-5 Cup or the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, I know this is a perfect car for me. Never in my life had I spend so much time shopping for a car though. Typically, I’d arrive at a government auction, spend twenty minutes or so browsing, and then bid for the car up to the amount I could afford. Bought countless Crown Vic Police Interceptors (CVPI – P71’s) this way, my Impala, the Explorers, Jeep Grand Cherokee and other cars. This is taking forever. I’ve now also joined the Miata.net forum to seek opinion and recommendations from current owners. I’m by no means a newbie to automotive forums, hell I put CrownVic.net (CVN) as club membership on my US citizenship application (silly I know) but I took that stuff seriously and frequented the Impala, Explorer, Jeep and other forums… this is a start of a new beautiful automotive relationship that will result in some new friendships. Hopefully around the world that will go nicely with my Motorsport volunteering. Now if only I could finally buy the damn car! 🙂

PS. If you come across a decent shape NC Miata and I buy it thanks to your referral I’m happy to pay you a small finders fee… HELP!

mx5_miata_netMX-5 Miata logo links to Miata.net / MX5.net