First order of business upon visiting Atlanta was a quick trip down to MAZMART!
Two weeks ago I didn’t even know anything about Mazmart, luckily (or really unluckily) my car broke down… I went to test my battery and as I was cleaning under the hood and reinstalling everything in it’s place I must have leaned onto one of the power steering hoses, which moved the attachment on the side of the pump causing a ten year old O-ring to start seeping in air creating a fucking mess around the power steering reservoir.
The problem was solved using locally sourced parts in New Jersey but while I was doing my research (frantically since I knew I had a 1,000 mile road trip south coming up) I did reach out to Mazmart upon Sakshik’s recommendation to see how much they would charge for Mazda OEM O-rings… they were a good $10 cheaper than the dealer, luckily my problem was solved with a $2 part from NAPA Auto.
But that didn’t stop me from wanting to check out this place once I arrived in Atlanta, and I’m so glad we did!
Mazmart specializes in Mazda parts. They got a ton of parts cars on the property willing to sell you parts of them cheap. And if there’s something new you’re looking for they have a dealership hook-up with discounted rates compared to the actual dealerships.
I took a ton of pix in the store, especially of their rotary stuff:
How to best spend New Year’s Day? Go on a 300 mile road trip with the Lehigh Valley Miata Owners Club on their annual Polar Bear Run through the rural back country roads around Pennsylvania.
This year I talked Chris into joining me. But I goofed by not actually signing up on the LVMOC web site. Saw the post about this event on Miata.net forum and figured that would be sufficient enough to join, because apparently the event was open to non-members. But that wasn’t really the case when we showed up. What’s worse, I wanted to keep a low profile, not stand out. Keep quiet. So Chris and I went to grab some food at our meeting spot: Cracker Barrel in Fogelsville, PA… thinking we’d make it in plenty of time for the 10:30am departure. Turns out departure time was 10:15am and we missed the whole driver’s briefing and almost missed the cruise, if not for a nice lady from the club running into the restaurant and getting us to hurry… We came out to the parking lot to a sight of 18 cars all sitting there ready to go, engines running, and there we were front and center… embarrassed and not at all keeping a low profile…. Sorry!
The cruise however went perfectly. Organized excellently. No delays along the way. No people getting lost. No incidents to speak of. The only difference from last year was far more snow on the ground. So instead of grey farm fields that we drove through accented by bright red barns, there was lots of white snow on the ground with the red barns really popping out. Because of snow there was tons of “cinders” on the ground, which is little sharp gravel Pennsylvania uses instead of Salt for the ice. Those cinders pelted everyone that drove through it, especially when following other cars. I had a bunch hit my windshield and I was hoping that they wouldn’t crack it. Lots of dust got kicked up too and I was cringing a bit about my K&N filter working overtime on this drive.
The route was identical to that of last year. But the restaurant for lunch was much better. I had a traditional Polish pork and sourkraut dish which was excellent, but was repeating on me for the remainder of the day. Excellent day spent hanging out with Chris which we finished by recording another Miata Fiata Talk episode.
Of the 20 cars that showed up, all but 1 ran topless…. I kept my lid up. I know it’s not in the spirit of the Polar Bear Run… but I get sick easily and with a trip to Florida coming up to marshal Daytona 24 hour’s Roar before the 24, I couldn’t afford to do anything foolish.
Great start to 2017… hopefully many more events to come!
Jalopnik has published photos of the 2017 production version of the Fiat 124 Spider based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata Roadster, or as everyone is calling it on the forums: Fiata Miata. And the production version looks completely different from what all the speculative renderings were. It’s dramatically different from the 2016 Mazda Miata that it is based on. And at this point I’m not sure if I like it or not. Initial impressions of the Fiata Spider is that it looks more like the NB version of the Miata while the car it’s based on pays more homage to the NA model. The obvious differences between the Fiata and the Miata based on the pictures seem to be a longer nose on the Fiat, and a more square trunk, which will probably have more storage capacity, even if ever so slightly. The interiors look identical. Check out this Jalopnik article for more pictures of the Fiat 124: jalopnik.com/2017-fiat-124-spider-this-is-it-all-official-and-stuf
Since I am not at all likely to get rid of my NC Miata any time soon, the only likelihood of me driving a Fiata Miata is if I rent one, most likely in Europe as I doubt they’ll be very representative of the American rental car fleets… I certainly have not been able to find any Mazda MX-5 ND rental cars around in my recent travels.
I am looking forward to test driving one just to compare how it feels to my car.
PS. Hopefully the promised Abarth version looks even more aggressive ( I think I secretly wanted the Fiat 124 Spider to look more like the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider than a vintage Fiat or NB Miata for that matter ).