Tag Archives: NA Miata

New Jersey Miatas Cruise to Utopia in Hewitt, NJ

A beautiful Saturday to spend the day cruising with fellow Miata owners around Northern New Jersey. Mark from the New Jersey Miatas facebook group organized a meetup in Livingston with a destination in Hewitt in mind, to do lunch at Utopia Grill and Suzie’s Pizzaria. We met at the Livingston Mall in Morris County and zoom zoomed our way up to Passaic County.

A good turnout for a winter event with four NC Miata’s in attendance, three NA’s and one NB along with three miscellaneous cars. The lunch was great too!

Some pix:

Good times!

More cruises to come before it starts snowing…

New Jersey Miatas End of Season 2017 Meet at Cheesequake GSP

Greetings from the New Jersey Miatas end of the season meet at the Cheesequake Service Area exit 123 on Garden State Parkway.

The usual spot for the twice annual Miata meet that’s somewhat central to most New Jersey Miata owners and visitors from both Pennsylvania and New York. The event got rained out last week and our make up date was almost rained out as well… luckily the precipitation was limited to a mist mostly. Though that was enough to keep a bunch of fair weather Miata owners away. Nevertheless, there was quite a few cars in attendance… somewhere around 50 to 60 cars by my guestimate. And I’m happy to say many more NC Miata’s this time than any of the previous times I’ve attended. Sadly no Fiatas to be seen… Boo!

Here’s the pix:

Happy to see my buddy DollarBill!

Oooh… another Copper Red from Pennsylvania… an NC2

Aren’t all Miatas Powered by Unicorns?

Love how bright this Torch Red is

A very pretty shade of Blue too

Hey Chris showed up!

Best license plate of the event:

Soooooo British!

Hey Mickie showed up!

The profile of this vintage of modern Thunderbird reminds me a lot of the original Mazda Cosmo 110S

No meet would be complete without people swapping stuff, fixing stuff, etc… pedal covers do look cool, but are sometimes a pain to put on… especially on the small Miata brake pedal.

By the time Bill and I went to get a warm drink at the service area, most of the people from the Miata group left… it must have started raining while we were inside. So we decided to do lunch of our own… and some spicy Malaysian food was just what the doctor ordered:

Love this place! We had one in Lodi across from the Mazda of Lodi dealership on Route 46 but unfortunately the restaurant close. Their Edison, NJ location on Route 1 though was delicious!

Looking forward to my drive to Florida starting tonight…!

Until next time.

New Jersey Miatas and Modern Fiat 124 Spider End of Season Meet

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…

Day 3: Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca – Driving the Circuit

The final day of Miatas at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was perhaps my best day in California yet because I got a chance (second year in a row) to drive a NC Miata around the circuit! WOO HOO! My buddy Peter with a beautiful NC2 Silver Soft Top allowed me the opportunity to drive his car after we lined everyone else up for the lunch time parade laps. We were the last car on track in the tail as the head of the parade lead by Moss Miata people caught up behind us. Apparently it takes 350 cars going somewhat swiftly to safely populate Laguna Seca two-wide.

I love this track… I really do love Laguna Seca, what a fantastic place!

I stand corrected on my previous claim of where Miata owners came from… turns out there were MX-5’s from as far as¬†ALASKA!

this is another gorgeous NC in dark green… emerald?

Oh look… my Miata!

Great view of the gorgeous AMG GT’s from the track experience…

My beautiful ride for the drive around the Circuit… this NC2 Sport

Shortly before our parade laps… all lined up!

Let’s go… oh wait more cars on the way!

A Playboy MX-5 Cup car, much like this inspired me to buy mine…

Fewer cars for the parade laps on Sunday compared to Saturday, which was great for going around the track a little quicker…

A gorgeous day for a drive around Laguna Seca!

Fin! The end to a wonderful experience…

Some more photos from the day in the paddock

Sad to see this beautiful NC from north of the border crash on Saturday… apparently the owner would have some explaining to do at immigration before crossing back into Canada

We adjusted the office set up to deal with the strong sun…

Maybe one of these days in the future I’ll get a ride around the track at speed in this official Pace Car (that was actually used next weekend for the Pirelli World Challenge/California 8 hour race)

More shots of the crashie:


…even the glass cracked ūüôĀ

Safety first!

And that’s a wrap. What a fantastic event. So proud to be a part of it. Thanks again to Rick Weldon and the whole crew for welcoming into the volunteer fold. I am super thankful! I highly recommend this event to everyone that would listen. And would love an opportunity to come back and participate again in the future… if I can.

Millenials Miata Meet Winter Jersey Shore Cruise & BBQ

Seems like everyone went down the Jersey Shore today!

Hard to believe the weather was so nice I actually put the top down while cruising to a familiar spot on the Garden State Parkway to join a bunch of Millenials Miata owners for one of their mid-winter get-togethers and a cruise to the beach for some barbecue. I may be exaggerating a little. Not everyone was a young millenial, and we didn’t quite make it to the sandy beach, more like a town that has “beach” in it’s name… or close enough anyway, but you get the picture. It was a whole bunch of young Miata owners hanging out and having fun. Many of them I’ve met before at the New Jersey Miata’s events held at the same Chesapeake¬†Cheesequake rest area on the GSP (I previously posted Chesapeake which is actually in Virginia, I meant Cheesequake which is in New Jersey). But this impromptu event felt different. I felt like an old fart and it was kind of cool to hang out with the kids. Trying to see if we still have something in common… cringing at the sight of some of the car mods. Hoping the cops don’t show up when some started doing burn outs and donuts. But obviously connected through the common denominator of our car choice: the Miata. And agreeable¬†foodie tastes: a BBQ joint for lunch! It was refreshing especially since it’s still February and many car events are months away.

Naturally I took a ton of pix:

The turnout was impressive… I was hoping a few cars would show up, but they just kept on coming and coming. I think I counted 28 Miata’s in total and about half a dozen other cars that came along. For the longest while mine was the only NC that wasn’t like all the other NA’s & NB’s, but after a while a beautiful ND showed up, so we had at least one of each models represented (though no RF yet and no 124 Spider or Abarth… yet).

A very appropriately labelled loud piece.

Not quite sure what Miatagang is but they came out in numbers!

This was one of those non-Miata guest vehicles… a beautiful Ford-powered Jag replica/kit car. Looked, sounded and drove great!

Don’t remember if I’ve commented about this before, but truck-nutz type toys hanging off lowered cars is definitely a “thing” nowadays… like this pink colored “poop” emoji plush toy.


Oh yeah… and no rear bumper is definitely a “thing” too now… this was one of three or four without the rear bumper.

If this is a true drift car, it is by far one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen (no dings, dents or scrapes to be found!)

And away we go…

Rice box?

Do all Millenials skateboard? I think so…

After lunch the majority of the kids headed to another car show a few towns over while I convinced a few North Jersey owners to detour our way home via Ocean Avenue… somehow I was elected leader and I fucked up several times trying to reach the correct Ocean Avenue, getting lost in places I got lost as a leader at previous events last year. You’d think I would have learned, but no! I know exactly why I made the same mistakes now I did last time. I convinced myself I knew where I was going, and instead of firing up the GPS and not looking like a fool, I totally embarrassed myself.

Oh well… ironically we didn’t really get to see much of the beaches driving up to Sandy Hook as the main road was a few blocks off the Boardwalk and heavy with traffic. So that was kind of a fail. My apologies to the folks that followed me. I should really improve on this considering how much I’d like to make this sort of thing a business one day with my International Motorsports and Miataland-like tourism ideas…

Miata Fiata Talk Episode 3: Chris & Russ talk about the Polar Bear Run with LVMOC, Bear Mountain Cruises and Road Rallies

Have a listen to our latest Miata Fiata Episode recorded right after the Polar Bear Run with Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club in rural Pennsylvania.

After two failed attempts at recording another Miata Fiata Talk episode, we finally got it done! (we recorded two episodes where the audio quality failed us miserably, and since Chris is a stickler for good quality sound, those were throw away episodes).

Fresh after a spirited drive through rural Pennsylvania at LVMOC’s Polar Bear Run we had a nice chat about the experience.

Sakshik has moved to Atlanta, Georgia so he’s sadly missing form this episode, but we do expect to get him back on by linking Skype and Audacity for some remote recordings.

Stay tuned for more and do share some feedback around this episode. Many thanks!

New Jersey Miatas End of Season Meet and Cruise: GSP Cheesequake Service Area to Sandy Hook

What a beautiful day for a little drive with the top down to a Miata meet and cruise down the Jersey Shore. Big props to the organizers of another truly wonderful New Jersey Miatas end of season meet at the Garden State Parkway Cheesequake Service Area (exit 124) and especially the cruise down the shore for some amazing food.

I had such a blast!

First, the turnout was excellent even though there were apparently other events happening on the same day around New Jersey and the neighboring states. Nonetheless several dozen cars showed up including a big convoy of Miatas from NYC. Lots and lots of NA’s, a bunch of NB’s and a handful NC’s. No ND’s that I saw… I parked next to a beautiful NC1 Blue soft top whose owner I never got to meet. But the other cars that pulled in I got to chat up the owners and we ended up going on a foodie tour of the shore instead of heading with the rest of the group directly to Sandy Hook.

The plan was BBQ but while driving past a Mexican place we couldn’t resist the amazing smell of their sizzling beef… I think most of the table ordered burritos which were extremely tasty. From there some of the folks in the group broke off to head out home, others went for a little drive and a group photo shoot… more people broke off after, and about six of us continued along the shore towards Sandy Hook… I think it was my first time seeing one of the draw bridges open for a fairly tiny boat coming in from the Atlantic Ocean… there were several classic car and bike shows along Ocean Drive, but otherwise the cruise was nice and scenic. Really enjoyable to watch the architecture of the various summer homes people have close driving distance to NYC and other parts of New Jersey.

At Sandy Hook we had another small photo shoot and instead of standing around talking about cars went to a little seafood place right in the bay at the foot of Atlantic Highlands. The view of New York City in the distance was crystal clear as we rolled up via one overpass, but there was no good place to pull over and take a good picture of this view. ¬†The seafood dinner at the restaurant¬†was finger lickin’ good! The patio seating outside with boats bobbing in the marina was pretty neat. The moon rise was really nice to watch and more plans were made for future MX-5 get togethers.

Awesome Sunday through and through.

And of course here’s a million pix from the day:
















Does MGB stand for Mazda Great Britain?





































And the cruise….








I should have brought more 1,000,000th Miata stickers, what a great idea to get everyone to sign a few of them.













Finally at Sandy Hook with two 2007 Copper Red GT’s














…one more thanks to the organizers, I had such an amazing time!

Can’t wait to do this again.

Mazda North American Headquarters Visit in Southern California

So the highlight of my trip to Southern California wasn’t marshaling ¬†Long Beach Grand Prix, it was instead a side trip further south to Irvine, Orange County to visit the North American HQ of Mazda.

I can’t say I planned the trip there in advance, it sort of just happened. I was hoping to meet up with some local SoCal MX-5 Miata owners during the event but for some reason that meetup never materialized, and since I had some time to kill on Monday before the flight home I decided to do a few Miata related things. After a quick Google search I had a list of three places to try to check out if the California traffic would allow it. Mazda HQ was stop #1 (a visit to Racing Beat and Roadster Tuner followed).

While I tried not to get my hopes up for the actual visit, I was excited. I kept my expectations low because having both Mercedes-Benz of North America and BMW of North America Headquarters just minutes away from me in New Jersey I knew there wasn’t much to see there for random visitors other than an office building. But what’s the worst that could happen? Right…? I figured at the very least I’ll get to check out the lobby. And so it went, the lady at reception confirmed my speculation that there wasn’t much to see and nothing to buy in a gift shop because there wasn’t one. So I mozzied on out, took a few shots of the building, many more shots of the countless MX-5’s in the parking lot and was ready to leave.

And then as if a God-sent, I see three pristine red MX-5’s of various vintage rolling into the parking lot and heading straight for the Visitor Center… I later found out that the NA Miata in the group was the original car unveiled at the Chicago? auto show when the car was first introduced in America in 1989. There was a gorgeous Mazdaspeed NB that followed it, not sure about it’s history. But the red NC in the group was the 25th Anniversary edition of which there were only 1,000 made. I started chatting with the Mazda guys driving the cars into the building and the fella tried to stress the importance of the rarity of the NC… while I countered that I saw three or four of them show up to my little Sydney MX-5 fish & chips run just a few months ago…. how rare could they be? Ha!

It was by dumb luck that I stumbled upon these cars and the guys working there. But boy did that make my day! I shamelessly asked for some Mazda swag referring to the Long Beach Grand Prix Mazda Owner’s Lounge running out of hats by the time I was able to make it there on Sunday as an excuse, and ¬†the guy come through… big time! ¬†I got a whole swag bag full of key chains, lanyards, a Zoom Zoom magazine and some other trinkets and knick-knacks. Not that I actually need more of that stuff, but bringing home souvenirs like that was pretty awesome. I’m really grateful for the opportunity!

Of course I couldn’t help myself and took a million pictures:

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So for all you Mazda / Miata fans out there visiting Orange County, California thinking about a visit to the North American HQ… is it worth it? Hell yeah! Granted unless you luck out and stumble upon something similar¬†to what I did, you’ll have a blast… on any other day though the visit may be slightly more mundane… but you never know until you go for it!

PS. after visiting Racing Beat the fella there suggested to check out the Mazda R&D facility where they store all kinds of goodies like the 787B race car…. that would have been nice to know about had I had more time to kill (and not rush for a flight!)

PPS. a few days after I got home pictures and videos surfaced on facebook from the same lobby I visited featuring a fourth vehicle… one I would have been really keen on seeing had I had the time (which I didn’t) the vehicle was the ND MX-5 RF targa prototype… D’oh!!!!

Mazda MX-5: Philadelphia Miata Meet & Cruise, Philly Cheesesteaks and Twisties

How to scrub brand new tires? Take the car on a little road trip… today’s excuse for a drive was a “local” Philly Miatas meet and cruise… I called it cheesesteaks and twisties… 2 hours each way and a total of just under 300 miles on new tires which are nicely broken into now and ready for ¬†daily use.

Big thanks to the guys that organized the event today!

We had a total of 6 cars… 4 or 5 of them at a time. There were 2 NA’s, 3 NB’s and my NC. Only two of the guys were from Pennsylvania while three of us were from across the river in New Jersey. The other two Jersey guys were from South Jersey living in the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

One car broke down shortly after we started the cruise, which was a bit sad. It was a Supercharged NB that kept on blowing a fuse which we kind of thought was a result of hitting a pot hole large enough to cause a short in one of the wires. We left the fella behind on the side of the road waiting for AAA… and while we were eating our cheesesteaks before heading off for some spirited driving around PA’s twisties, he showed up with his second NB… How cool!?!

After giving the new tires a bit of a workout driving in suburban Philadelphia along the banks of the river, I broke off from the group and went to visit my buddy Brian whose wedding I attended in Bangkok, it was a great opportunity to catch up although way too brief.

Fantastic spring day spend driving the Miata with the top down with a new group of friends in Philadelphia… looking forward to more of these in the near future!

Some pix:

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Turns out there are two styles of Philly Cheesesteaks: sliced and diced. The sliced type is like the famous Pat’s or Geno’s… or better yet like Tony Luke’s which I had for breakfast on my way to the meet. During the cruise we stopped at Dalessandro’s which serves diced steaks and the line for food was way out the door! You know it’s good when you look across the street at Chubby’s hoggies and steaks and there’s no line out the door there. Delicious stuff!

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Mazda MX-5: Orlando Roadsters Meet at Miata’s & More in Longwood, FL

I try not to waste any opportunity to meet other Miata owners whenever I travel, so imagine my surprise and excitement when I came across an invitation to attend Orlando Roadsters Meet on my trip to marshal St. Pete and Sebring this March. I was so luckily to have had the chance to experience the event held at Miata’s & More shop in Longwood just a short drive from Orlando, and a place with at least half a dozen interesting Miatas in the shop with various performance mods and upgrades. It was awesome.

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Not only was I lucky enough to be in the right place and the right time to check out some fellow MX-5 owners in a different part of the country, I was able to share the experience with a friend visiting from half way around the world: New Zealand a place where MX-5’s are plentiful both on the street and the race track. In fact her favorite car at the event was done up in a theme that has been raced around the tracks on the North Island by it’s kiwi owner.

The shop hosting the event: Miata’s & More generously fired up the grill and cooked up some tasty burgers and hot dogs for it’s visitors. The facebook sign up page had over 100 people interested and about 50 attending. When we were there I counted something in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 cars with about 10 from the shop itself. But it was a huge event for certain. As we were pulling out of the lot a convoy of five more NA’s pulled in.

I’m especially thankful to the Miata’s & More employee (possibly owner) who was kind enough to lend me “something sharp and narrow” – a pick, to scoop out the damn milkshake from the driver’s side door card speaker mesh which I carelessly spilled while trying to take a picture of the car with Daytona International Speedway in the background… D’oh! ¬†So thank you sir for the awesome hospitality, I had an excellent time visiting and meeting all the other owners in attendance.

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Here’s some pix:

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The first MX-5 Exocet I’ve seen in flesh, and it looks & sounds great!

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All generations of the MX-5 were nicely represented. We had a few new ND’s one with the Brembo kit and all the carbon bits around. There was a few Mazdaspeed turbo NB’s. And even a right hand drive NA. Many cars were very much upgraded in performance specs and many of them had the work done at Miata’s & More. According to the few owners I spoke with they do these sort of events monthly and some times even more frequently than that which makes me very jealous. And I love the motto for the club: no fees just join the enthusiasts whom welcome everyone into their community. Besides the MX-5’s there were also Honda S2000’s, Nissan 370Z’s, BMW’s, etc.

Fantastic event and I’d highly recommend this to other locals that may not have heard of the Orlando Roadsters Club or even for the visitors coming to Disney and wishing to take their mind off their vacation by hanging out with local Miata owners. No better way to spend the time in sunny Florida.

Thanks Miata’s & More for your warm hospitality!