My girlfriend, Gab, and I celebrated our second anniversary as a couple on New Years Eve, and, of course we got each other special anniversary presents. I got her a fancy new French wallet, and she got me a cold air intake for my Miata, Ace. New Years day was nice and warm here in the Northeastern USA, so I decided to install the intake so I could enjoy it in the unusually nice winter weather.
2016 has been many things great, and many things horrible for many people, but it sure as hell hasn’t been dull. I am no exception. A lot has happened to me this year, both relating to cars and this blog, as well as in my life in general.
Relating to Mind Over Motor, I’ve gotten to drive some fabulous cars this year, everything from the Alfa Romeo 4C, to the BMW i8, to some others I haven’t shared yet. The car shows we went to this year were superb as well, and I was able to capture some truly stunning machines on camera. In terms of car events, 2016 has been nothing short of incredible.
Somehow, though, I have found myself struggling with this blog a little this year. It’s not from lack of content, but more from me wanting to take it in a new direction. My life has changed a lot since starting this blog back in college, and it needs to grow as I grow in life. So I’m looking for that next step to take with Mind Over Motor, and I’ll be honest, I haven’t figured it out quite yet. But bear with me because I do still love doing this, and stopping isn’t on the menu.
Life has been changing a lot for me this year. On the positive, I’ve moved in with my girlfriend, Gab, and things are going great. It’s been a big change, and there was some anxiety in the process, but it’s definitely been a positive thing for both of us. We’re building a life together, and its very exciting!
Also of major note, I landed a new job last spring. It’s in the automotive field, for a company that I’ve admired for a long time, and it puts my car knowledge to good use every single day. I finally feel like my days are filled with a purposeful career, rather than just a whatever job.
Both of these major life changes have been great for me in so many ways, but naturally, they’ve also meant I have less time to really focus on Mind Over Motor… at least with the approach I have been using since the beginning. That’s why I feel it’s time to implement some adaptive changes in 2017.
In my own car situation, I bought two Miatas this year. The first was Al’s 1993 Miata, which I sold after a enjoying it for a few months. The second was Ace, my 2014 Miata Club Edition. I also experienced my first accident this year. 4 days after buying Ace, some lady decided to turn left when she shouldn’t have, and we were both very lucky to have been okay. Ace wasn’t totaled, and after about a month of repairs, I had him back in my driveway. This summer and fall, I took many wonderful trips in Ace, enjoying every bit of sunshine I could. The peak was our trip up to Lime Rock during Labor Day weekend, top down the entire way up and back. Much fun has been had, and there’s a lot more to come.
As for my daily driver, I’ve still got my 2012 Volkswagen CC, which continues to swoon me while getting 30 MPG cruising at high speed. It’s one hell of a daily commuter, but it’s also up for an expensive 80,000 mile DSG service, so I’m not looking forward to that.
Now for an update on my beloved 2004 Subaru WRX STI. It’s firmly a third car at this point, and with 130,000 fun miles on it, you can imagine how it may need some work. Right now it needs an alternator, the steering rack needs to be replaced, and there’s a couple of leaks I need to check out. I’m also not sure about at least one of the wheel bearings. It’s a blast to drive, but it’s being driven less and less. I still adore the car, but a lot of me is considering selling it sometime this year. I’ve promised myself I won’t make that decision until I’ve taken it for another fun drive, though. It’s easy to want to get rid of a car you haven’t driven in a few months, but I know for my own closure that I’d have to feel the same way after that drive for selling it to really feel right. I have a plan if I decide to keep it, but I do admit it’d surely make things easier to let it go. So we’ll see…
Lastly, on a personal level, 2016 saw the passing of both of my grandmothers, just a few weeks apart from one another. I’ve been very fortunate not to have lost anyone that close to me in the first 26 years of my life (other than my dog, Peaches, RIP baby girl), but the 27th saw the odds begin to add up. It’s okay, I’m generally someone who’s at peace with the impermanence of life, but it’s mostly hard seeing those around me have such a difficult time. In the end of the day though, it’s natural, and nothing lasts forever. That’s why we all must make it a point to take the time to enjoy life in the here and now, even when we are so focused on the future. In my accident, if I had been hit a little further back, right in my driver side door, I very well could have been killed. I realize, looking back, that I wouldn’t have even known what had happened. I would’ve been at the pearly gates, confused.
I think, more than anything, 2016 has given me a lot of new perspectives on life. Overall, it’s been a pretty positive year for me. It’s been a rough road in many ways, but I feel like I’m going in a great direction. I’m ready for what 2017 has to offer.
And would you look at that! I made it through the whole 2016 recap without even mentioning the circus we called an election…
It’s small, it’s light, and that makes the Mazda2 a good platform to build on. Can it be genuinely good, though? Matt Farah, of The Smoking Tire finds out.
This is Flyin Miata’s full LS3 V8 package for the ND Mazda Miata. It costs around $75,000 total, but you get 520hp in a happy car the size of a thimble. Matt Farah, of The Smoking Tire, got to take it for a spin.
Seems like a total riot!
First Class Fitment is always an entertaining show to shoot. Every car is different, special in its own way. It is a sea of automotive creativity, and this year was no exception.
Enjoy this first batch of photos!
I’ve said before that most of the best drives come spur of the moment. That makes it somewhat challenging for me as a blogger to bring the experience to you, my readers, but my God, is it enjoyable in the moment. Many times those drives become fond memories for years.
I got out of work late on Monday. It was one of those days where you’re up to your ears in all sorts of stuff all day, and you only start really getting things done after most everyone has gone home. The crisp air that hit me when I walked out, though, that instantly cleared my head, and brushed off the stress of the day like it was nothing.
The first taste of Fall is one of the sweetest sensations in the life of a gearhead. It means the treacherous summer heat is nearing its end, and that many fun times are ahead in the best season of the year.
Feeling rejuvenated, I called my buddies Shane and Pat (Shat for short), and we agreed it would be a sin not to take the Miatas out for a blast in this perfect weather.
We met up for dinner at a local diner. Ace, my NC Mazda Miata Club Edition was parked next to Shane’s NA Miata R-Package out front, waiting eagerly for us to eat. Then, just after the sun had fallen off the horizon, we set off, fast, into the night.
As time has gone on, early Japanese sports cars have received more recognition for their groundbreaking design and engineering. The original Mazda rotary sports car, the Cosmo (which would be known eventually as the RX-7), is most definitely no exception. Quite expensive when new (over $4,000 in 1968), they were not that popular Stateside, but that would change by the subsequent decade. This white example shined brightly at the Hershey Concours this year, and grabbed my attention rather quickly. I believe it has grabbed your attention as well. Enjoy the photos. Continue reading Mazda Cosmo Series II at the 2016 d’Elegance at Hershey
Yesterday I parted ways with my (formerly Al’s) 1993 Mazda Miata. It was my second Miata, and it directly lead to my third, Ace.
There really is something special about these little roadsters, something that always manages to make you smile. They don’t seem to take themselves too seriously, and that helps you loosen up as well when behind the wheel.
I bought this Miata off of Al this past spring. Al wanted something new, and I had just landed a new job with a nice pay bump, so I figured a Miata would be fun for the spring.
This thing was fun, so much fun that it made me decide I wanted a Miata in my life for the long haul. I looked around, and found Ace, my 2014 Miata Club Edition. Things got off to a rocky start with Ace, having an accident just 4 days after I bought it. But the repairs have been made now, so it was time to let my ’93 Miata go.
I can only hope this Miata inspires its new owner as much as it inspired Al and I.
As a car guy, who’s had a license for a decade now, I really should have been autocrossing at some point, right? But until this past weekend, I hadn’t… at least at an official event.
Autocross is one of the best things anyone who takes driving seriously can do for their skills behind the wheel. Even if you’re not a gearhead, it will just make you a far better, far safer driver, knowing how to control your car.
Honestly, I’ve been meaning to get into autocross for years, but I’ve always put it off for some reason. I even bought and modified my first (very rusty) Miata with the idea of autocrossing in mind. I did do a lot of, shall we say, “unofficial” autocrossing in that car in various corporate parking lots in my area, but a real event is totally different.
Now, having just gotten my 2014 Miata, Ace, back from the body shop after it nearly being totalled 4 days after I bought it, I felt it was time.
I saw a white flash out of the corner of my eye, and the next thing I knew I was facing sideways and had taken the impact of an airbag to my face. It took a moment, but then it hit me, I had just crashed.
That realization made me spring into action. I looked over at the woman in the other car, who was freaking the hell out, but thankfully awake. I lifted myself right up out of my seat and hopped out over the passenger door (perks of a convertible). I ran over, opened the door and helped the woman out of her car. We were both seemingly uninjured, thank God.
At that point, though, I realized she was pregnant, like very pregnant, and the concern for both of us turned to her baby. Luckily the paramedics cleared her when they arrived.
After I knew we were all okay, I looked back over at my gleaming read Miata. I had just signed the papers on it 4 days prior, and now here it was, smashed up good in the middle of the street. I didn’t have time for emotions, though, I knew I had to take document the scene, and take photos from every angle.
As I did so, I called my parents to come pick me up, my boss to let him know I wouldn’t be in today, and my girlfriend to let her know what had happened and that I was alright.
I was riding the massive wave adrenaline, but I was feeling very cloudy in my head. There was just so much I had to do, so many bases I knew I had to cover. I never took even a second to stop and catch my breath, I never allowed myself a brief moment to calm myself down after taking a hard hit to the head. Finally it caught up with me. As we were all exchanging our insurance information, I realized I had been doing way too much, and I turned and vomited all over the ground.
At that point, the officers at the scene told me I should really get to the hospital. I knew vomiting wasn’t a good sign, and luckily my parents were almost there by then. I gave my statement to the police, watched my buddy, Ace (the Miata) get dragged onto a flatbed, and went off to the hospital.
Wait, didn’t he just buy an old red Miata? Why the hell would he buy a new red Miata now?
That is the question everyone around me has been asking all weekend. Yes, I went and bought this beautiful 2014 Mazda MX5 Miata Club Edition this weekend, and no I’m not crazy, although it may seem that way to many people around me right now.
Here’s why I went and bought this car, as best as I can explain it right now.
Over the last few months, Al has been constantly talking about the idea of selling his Mazda Miata and buying some cool old American car. He’s been on craigslist like crazy, and has been continually messaging me and many of his other friends asking our thoughts on the possibilities.
I recently got a great new job, which brought with it a nice little pay increase, so naturally I’d been thinking of getting some new wheels. I’ve been missing my old Miata like crazy since I sold it a few years back. It’s like there’s been a hole in my soul that can only be filled by one thing. I needed to get myself another Miata!
So, a week or so ago, when Al sent me some links of cars he was looking at, I floated the idea. I said, “You keep talking about selling your Miata to get something else, and now I’m looking to buy a Miata. Let’s make something happen here.”
Al brought the car by on Saturday morning. I took it for a quick drive, looked it over, and I was sold. We went to the DMV and did all the paperwork.
I paid Al with cash money, but he wasn’t about to go to the bank. No, we were going to check out a car right away. I’ll let him tell the rest tomorrow.
I’m going to live with my new Miata for a few weeks before I do a proper article on it, but so far, so fun. It sure as hell isn’t perfect, but it isn’t trying to be, and that’s the whole point.
It is a delightful little machine!