Tag Archives: Asian Cars

Mazda MX5 Miata, the enthusiast’s Ace in the hole

1993 Mazda MX5 Miata
My 1993 Mazda MX5 Miata

Today was the first day of Spring, and the weather, while still a bit chilly by most standards, was nice enough to take my MX5 Miata out for some roofless fun. I met up with my friend Dan, whose photos have been featured on this site many times, and we went for a nice long drive, two Miatas tearing hard through the woods. This was one of those days where you just forget everything else in your life, and enjoy cruising along. For me, such cruising is like a form of meditation, very in the moment, and focused on enjoying the little things in life. An MX5 allows you to enjoy the world even more, because with the top down you are truly outside, connected with your surroundings. Toward the end of the drive I had a huge grin on my face, and I got to thinking about exactly what it is that makes this car so great, for so many people.   Continue reading Mazda MX5 Miata, the enthusiast’s Ace in the hole

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Jay Leno’s Garage: Datsun 510

Jay drives an immaculately built Datsun 510 owned by one of his co-workers on The Tonight Show. I love custom cars like this that seem to embody the personality of the person who built it.  Enjoy.

-Nick

Some fun was had today….

Enjoying the snow here in the Northeastern US in my Subaru WRX STi. Went out drifting, and then did some celebratory donuts right in front of the house. Many performance cars have to stay in the garage during a blizzard, but rally cars are meant for this stuff. Snow drifting is surely one of my favorite things to do in this car. Hope everyone else is having fun today as well, wherever you are.

-Nick

Obscure Auto: Toyota Prius

Yes, the Prius. A different sort of car than we normally feature in this section, yet a car that has had a resounding impact on the automotive world in recent years. Everyone knows a Prius when they see one, and most people know that the car has become as much a political statement as a mode of transportation. Whether you buy into the whole Green movement or not, there is no denying that the Prius has been an incredible marketing success. It paved the way for an entirely new sort of car in the world, one that puts priority on efficiency and cleanliness over all else. We all know the car, but behind every car there is a story to tell. This is that story.

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Test Driven: 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC Convertible (8.5/10)

A Wankel, or rotary, engine is a bit of an automotive conundrum these days. It is a technology with some very distinctive pros and cons, making it very controversial amongst car people. In fact, Mazda is the only company that has dabbled with it in modern production cars, and the RX8 just recently went out of production. The rotary is the trademark feature of their RX line of sports cars, in the same way that a rear engine design is the hallmark of the Porsche 911. I got my first taste of a rotary when I reviewed the RX8, and I thought it was quite fun. So when my friend Shane told me I could borrow his ’91 RX7 convertible for the afternoon, while he was at work, I jumped at the opportunity. Sunny day, convertible sports car, rev happy Wankel motor, it sounded like a great time to me.

Continue reading Test Driven: 1991 Mazda RX-7 FC Convertible (8.5/10)

First Class Fitment 2012

We were in attendance for First Class Fitment 2012 in Princeton, NJ this past weekend. Loads of slammed and stanced cars came out for the show, and the airport was filled to capacity. There are always a few very interesting cars mixed in with the more generic crowd at events like this, and that is why I go to them. Honestly, I am not the biggest fan of the stance movement because I think it gets taken a bit far sometimes, and I cannot stand when people ruin the handling of high performance cars like Evos, STis, M3s, Porsches, etc. That said, I do like a nice clean, flush stance on most cars, so long as the suspension is still able to function, and there were many such well done cars at this event. I got some great photos, so whatever your taste in cars you should enjoy.

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Lime Rock Historic Festival: RAUH-Welt Begriff Porsche 993

RAUH-Welt Begriff (RWB) makes aftermarket body kits for Porsches. They have developed a bit of a cult fan base with the advent of the stance movement, and largely fit that emphasis on style for style sake. Many RWB Porsches are indeed highly modified monsters, but RWB only offers things relating to appearance; body kit, wheels, and a lowered suspension. Each RWB car is made unique for the owner, so between the kit itself as well as the other performance modifications fitted by the owner no RWB Porsche is exactly the same. The car you see here looked stunning, and called all sorts of attention to itself during the Concours at Lime Rock Park. I did however make the mistake of looking through the vents into the engine bay, only to find that underneath this car was a bone stock 993 Carrera. Shattered were my hopes of finding a monstrous 750whp, twin GT30R turbo setup, as I have seen on other 993s. The car did still look the absolute business though, and unless you really looked you couldn’t tell the car was all show and no go. Either way I was thrilled to have finally seen one of these demonic looking Porsches up close, it surely leaves quite the impression. Enjoy the gallery.

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Reacquainting myself with my Miata

The weather in the Northeastern US was incredible this weekend, so I took a nice long cruise in my Miata. This was the first cruise of this sort I have taken in it since I got back from my summer in Michigan a few weeks ago, and in a lot of ways there was some reacquainting that needed to be done. Before I left for the summer I uncovered a few issues with the car that needed, or still need, dealing with. I subsequently found myself second guessing the financial aspects of it all the whole summer, even thinking it may be easier just to part it out. This cruise gave me some much needed quality time with the car, with the perfect weather and on perfect roads I was reminded why I bought the Miata in the first place.

The timing of all this was interesting because Chris Harris had just released a video on the Miata where he second guessed his now infamous stance against the MX5. His conclusion was that the Miata is a great roadster but a mediocre sports car, and one of the most fun ways you can spend a few thousand dollars (or pounds). I have to agree, there are better driver’s cars out there, and it took a few modifications to my car to get it where I wanted it to be dynamically.

The roadster experience though, is second to none, and every time I drive my car I cannot help but thinking the newer, more expensive Miatas could not possibly offer anything more. Sure if you line mine up against the current NC Miata I would lose in a drag race, but neither car is fast by anyone’s standards, and neither car is meant to be.

So what do you really get by spending more than just a few grand on a Miata? Maybe a warranty if it is new enough, but as far as the experience goes you get nothing more for your money. What I’m saying here is that there is really two ways to buy a Miata, brand new, or as cheap as possible. Any other way and you are just wasting money. All of those NB Miatas around $10k are worthless, because a $2800 NA Miata like mine will give you the exact same experience.

I do love my car, and it reminded me why during our cruise on Saturday. A Miata is an experiential machine, and despite my car’s flaws it still puts a huge grin on my face.

-Nick Walker

Car & Driver: Lotus Elan vs. Mazda MX5

This is a great video showcasing two of the best roadsters in history. The Elan was the inspiration for the MX5 in a different era, and both cars have lessons to teach other carmakers today. This is pure driving and pure fun, the hell with 0-60 times and 1/4 mile runs. I can only hope that one day I get to drive a Lotus Elan like this, it is pretty high up there on my list. Enjoy the vid.

-Nick