Wednesday, January 18, 2017

End of an Era

Having written previously about my workhorse yet sporty '93 Mazda MX-3 that I sold back in 2010 after I upgraded to a roomier, sporty family sedan, I thought it fitting to write a tribute to my wife's 1995 Mazda MX-5 (or, as it is more commonly known, the Miata), which we finally sold earlier this week with a little more than 108,000 miles over 21 years!

The Miata was introduced in 1989 and basically revived the roadster, continuing in the tradition of the MG and Triumph Spitfire. My then-girlfriend (now wife) purchased the Miata in 1995, replacing another convertible, a white VW rabbit.

As one can imagine, it was a fun, zippy car, perfect of course for the Southern California lifestyle where we live. We took many memorable, enjoyable trips in it, which included taking it to the mountains for a ski trip (I recall we even had to put chains on it) and, one new year's, to Las Vegas.

(On that trip, we drove back to L.A. from Vegas on New Year's Day—after watching the Rose Bowl game at a casino—and got caught in awful traffic on the drive back through the desert. We decided to stop at a hotel at the Nevada-California state line and agreed that if a room wasn't too expensive, we'd stay the night. As it turned out, many people thought the same thing and we were fortunate to get the second-to-last room available. (We know this because the couple on the elevator with us told us they got the last room, right after us!) When we turned on the news in our hotel room, we learned the trip back to L.A. was taking 7 hours, double the normal time! The next morning, we returned to L.A. on a fairly open road.)

My wife and I married in 2000 and had our first child in 2001—shortly after, we purchased a more sensible family car, a Subaru Forester, which became my wife's primary vehicle. The Miata became a third "pleasure" vehicle—to keep it running well, I actually commuted in it to work one or two times a week for many years. When I purchased my own new vehicle in 2010, the Miata no longer got driven as much. (As you can see, we keep our cars for a long time!)

Since the Miata was a third car that we didn't have space in the garage for, we parked the Miata on the street, where the combination of direct sunlight and debris from trees played havoc with the finish. It cleaned up nicely, but after a wash, it only stayed that way for a few days. Over time, the back plastic window turned gritty (I believe current models have glass windows) and the back window zipper became difficult, which discouraged us from driving with the top down.

In fact, for the past several months, it's been sitting in our mechanic's garage—though the engine was actually still running well, I had to take it in because it began backfiring and probably needed to have the timing adjusted. I told the mechanic there was no urgency since it was a third car that we no longer drove that much and he took me at my word—I would periodically check in and he assured me he was looking at it!

At this point, I started mentioning to my wife that it was probably time for us to let the Miata go—my wife agreed, but she joked she still needed to go through the grieving process. It was her dream car.

In any case, after making the decision to purchase a new car for my wife to replace the Subaru, we agreed it was also finally time to get rid of the Miata as well. By then the battery was dead since it had been sitting at the mechanic's for so long, but the mechanic kindly agreed to let me sell it from his lot.

It says a lot for the legacy of the car that I sold it inside of three hours, having received a lot of offers within minutes of posting it on Craigslist (despite the fact that I was upfront about how much work it needed and that it wasn't even running yet due to the dead batter!) I ended up selling it to an individual who actually was rebuilding a Miata and already had a '94 and '96 model.

I'm sure we have pictures somewhere of the car back in the day, but the ones accompanying this post are the ones I took on the day I sold it for the Craiglist posting.

Postscript: Regarding my old MX-3—I sold it back in 2010 with 250,000 miles on it and got an email from the buyer about 6 months ago who told me he was still driving and enjoying it!!


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