Tag Archive: Mazda Miata

“People who love to drive, love the car. Enthusiasts love the car. Automotive media love the car. Miata owners have an almost motorcycle-gang loyalty, with dozens of Miata clubs all over North America.” — Robert Duffer, Chicago Tribune, “Why Is The Mazda Miata So Beloved”

Talk about the ultimate first-world crisis.

Mazda quietly dropped the legendary “Miata” brand for MX-5.


Never in recorded history has a sports car touched the lives of so many people as the Mazda Miata introduction in 1989.

Thirty years later, the best selling roadster of all time (Guinness Book of World Records), Miata has stood the test of time with its reasonable price, 181 horses, 26 city and 35 highway fuel efficiency …  and most of all … it’s a blast to drive.

How do you spell fun in the sun? M-I-A-T-A.

For Almost DailyBrett, his little green chariot without pop-up headlights was purchased brand-spanking new in June 2004. It was love at first sight and the affair continues to this day. Some have suggested we need to get a room.

Can’t tell you how many times your author has garnered Miata envy from poor saps driving mini-vans with plenty of room for infant car seats.

Perhaps you should control your hormones?

Getting It Right The First Time

The Mazda Miata or MX-5 is going to be celebrating its 25th year of production. And there’s a reason for that. Very few times that you get something right, the first time, but this is a classic case of that.” — Jay Leno, “Jay Leno’s Garage,” February 2014

Jay Leno spoke in a glowing fashion about one of his two Mazda Miatas five years ago.  Fast forward to today.

Is nothing sacred? Is this Miata imprimatur disappearing act a sterling example of enlightened brand management?

As we wonder about the course of self-driving vehicles, Almost DailyBrett loves his Miata … it will always be his Miata … today, tomorrow and forever.

Can’t imagine a self-driving Miata. What would be the point?

Your author is not alone. There are 96 Miata clubs spread across America. The sports car keeps on selling, particularly in spring and summer.

Do you think there is a correlation between warmer temperatures and putting down the ultra-easy top?

The new MX-5 without any Miata branding looks like a sad Miata … a really sad Miata.

Remembering The New Coke Roll-Out Debacle

“Coke’s decided to make their formula sweeter; they’ve decided to mix it with Pepsi.” — Comedian David Letterman on the botched New Coke roll out

Coca-Cola came out with New Coke in 1985 without proper research about consumer reaction, and thus an unnecessary brand riot was born.

Mazda, can we see your quantitative and qualitative analysis, demonstrating that we wanted to bid adieu with the Miata name, and opt for MX-5?

No one asked Almost DailyBrett. 

If Miata owners wanted to drive a Mazda, we would drive a Mazda … let alone a Mazda MX-5.

If Corvette owners wanted to drive a Chevy, they would drive a Chevy.

A Miata is a Miata. A ‘Vette is a ‘Vette.

Simple, real simple. It’s the brand, stupid.

Miata owners love their Miatas. Competitors came out with the Honda S2000, Toyota M2, the BMW Z3 and the Pontiac POS (e.g., Fiero).

No dice on any of them.

Mazda management in Japan needs to understand that Miata parents control the brand.

As Robert Duffer in the Chicago Tribune, Miata owners/enthusiasts “love” the car. There are more than 100 Miata clubs in the United States and Canada combined. We are talking about the ultimate in “L” words.

Why get in the way of our public romance from sea-to-shining sea, across the fruited plain?

Mazda needs to understand the old, time-tested adage:

If something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.




Mazda MX-5 Miata

Selling My 2004 Mazda MX-5 Miata Was Remarkably Difficult, and Also Remarkably Easy

Just going for a bag of groceries can be a lot of fun. The real trick to owning one  of these (Miata) is you always take the long way home,” – Comedian Jay Leno

Those who dismiss the Miata as a ‘chick car,’ have never driven one” – Tom Voelk, New York Times auto reviewer.


Do I love my Miata (my little green chariot) more than I love my new bride?

That would be a big, “no,” and for good reason.

Having said that, can there be more than one love in a mature male’s life without him getting stuck in deep doo-doo? The answer is “yes.”

This coming June will be the 10th anniversary of my purchase of an emerald mica and tan (rag top and leather interior) Mazda Miata. After travelling more than 127,000 miles, I am asking myself: ‘Why not 10 more years with the same car?’

Midlife Crisis?

When I first acquired my Mazda Miata, I was the director of Corporate Public Relations for LSI Logic Corporation. Driving my new car into the employee parking lot, I raised a few eyebrows with my new ride, triggering predictable suggestions of a “mid-life crisis.”

“Why didn’t you get it in red?” I was repeatedly asked.

Have you ever seen an Oregon Duck football game? Even with the myriad of “Just-Do-It” uniform changes courtesy of Uncle Phil, there is not a smidgen of red to be found. Besides I am not a red guy, unless you want to count Oregon pinot noir or amber ale.

Overall my purchase drew thumbs up from my colleagues except for accurate criticisms that the Miata is a great car, “if you have another car.” And I did have another car, an all-wheel drive Subaru Legacy that served me with distinction for more than a decade.

Gangster Rapper? Me?

As I contemplated buying a new car way back in 2004, my daughter suggested that I purchase a white Cadillac Escalade. Her reasoning was simple: “All the gangster rappers drive Escalades.” Do I remind anyone even for a nanosecond of a gangster rapper? Besides they can afford the super fuel and upkeep for an Escalade, complete I assume with bullet-proof windows.

Seriously, I was thinking about a 3-series convertible von Deutschland, in particular von den Bayerische Motoren Werke (e.g., BMW). It didn’t take me long to figure out that I could acquire two Mazda Miatas for the price of one Beemer 3-Series convertible, excluding the major difference in upkeep…not in favor of the Beemer. Including obligatory California taxes and license, I was able to purchase the car for under $30,000 … that’s a deal.

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Some were curious about why I would buy a Mazda, thinking the brand was beneath me. And my reply was to ask: ‘Is a Corvette just a Chevy?’ A Miata (it will never be an MX-5 to me…sorry Mazda Marketing Department) is a special car, one that serves as a logical and workable continuation of the high-maintenance Lotus Elan, Triumph Spitfire, MG MGB, Fiat 124 Sport Spider and the Alfa Romeo Spider. The post-war Brit and Italian designers had the idea right – a fun two-seater sports convertible – they just failed on the execution.

What’s the old joke about needing to buy two Jaguars? You can drive one, while the other is in the shop.

Leave it to Japanese designers/engineers with their now legendary penchant for quality to get it right.

Rental Miata?

My romance with Miata began by mistake. My plane to San Francisco was late and the rental car agency had very few cars left. Instead of a sub-compact econo-box, they rented me a blue Miata. For the first time ever, I didn’t want to return a rental car. I never forgot that Miata.

As a smitten owner of a Miata, I have to report that the four-cylinder, back-wheel drive car has plenty of guts on the highway. Why? My second generation car only weighs 1,065 pounds. As a driver you are much closer to the road and you literally feel every bump and pot hole. Be careful with big rigs, and whatever you do, stay out of their blind spots.

The handling and turning radius is easily the best I have ever experienced in any vehicle. If you can’t parallel park a Miata, then you simply can’t parallel park any car. Going topless? Just flip two low-tech latches and you are in business. As a follicly challenged male, I always have to remember my sun glasses and ball cap. Soon I will be hugging the curves.


As the Miata celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, it has already set a Guinness World Record of 900,000 vehicles, easily the world’s best-selling two-seater sports car. Mazda is expected to reach the 1 million mark next year.

Is the Miata for everybody? Alas, it is not a family car. There are only two seats and an itsy-bitsy truck, about big enough for a picnic basket, some folding chairs and that aforementioned bottle of Oregon pinot noir.

And when does spring come? How about right now? Time to put the top down.







Fed up with outrageous California prices, congestion, smog, fog, taxes, deficits and hassle? Thinking of throwing in the towel and moving the clan to Oregon? Before you do, make sure you are knowledgeable about the BTCI.


Yes, the Back-to-California-Index. It is a barometer (notice the weather connection?) that indicates whether the conditions in Oregon are low or high in terms of the probability of a move back to California.

First, I need to present my credentials when it comes to writing about this sensitive and tricky subject: the very real Mother of All Lifestyle Tradeoffs when it comes to living in the Beaver (gag) State as opposed to the Golden State. I grew up in the “Bedroom of Los Angeles,” Glendale, sandwiched in between “Beautiful Downturn Burbank” and Pasadena, which has this big parade and football game under gorgeous blue skies and 70-degree weather on New Year’s Day. Oregonians can only fantasize about 70 degrees on January 1 or 2.


I graduated from USC. Worked in the Governor’s Office in Sacramento and later in Silicon Valley. All-in-all, I have lived, worked and played in the Golden State for more than four decades (dating myself).

My adopted state and present home state is Oregon. I studied Journalism at the University of Oregon, resided in Portland for five years and steadfastly maintained Oregon football season tickets (rooting for the Ducks before it was cool) at Autzen Stadium for 22 years. Presently, I am serving as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, pursuing my master’s degree in “Communication and Society.” I am writing this post on a warm, sunny afternoon under blue skies and soaring canopies of Douglas fir trees. The BTCI is very low.

So how do you measure the Back to California Index or BTCI? Using a Likert-style scale, a low BTCI such as a 1-2-3 indicates that there is no chance of a return to California any time soon. A medium-range BTCI (4-5-6) equates to the transplant effectively tolerating the tradeoff between California and Oregon. A higher score (7-8) equates to the ex-Golden Stater questioning the sanity of her-or-his decision. A 9-10 score on the BTCI signals that capitulation is imminent and a return to smog, fog, traffic, congestion, unreasonable prices and foreclosures is in the offing.

Let’s look at some examples of low and high BTCIs:


● Extremely low BTCI (1 or 2): The California plates are off the car. Warm summer/early fall conditions. Trip to the Coast (Oregonians go to the “Coast;” Californians to the “Beach.”) Checking out Crater Lake, Bend, Sisters and the high desert. Walking through the Pearl or ABC Districts in Portland. Sipping pinot noirs, pinot gris and sparkling wines in the Willamette Valley. Joining the madness that is Autzen Stadium, particularly when Washington or Oregon State comes-a-calling. The leaves may already be changing. Daytime weather is warm, nighttimes are cool. No sales tax. Low housing costs. Reasonable prospects for a fifteen-minute commute. Life is good.

● Low BTCI (3 or 4): You put your key in the ignition. What? You can’t pump you own gas. If you want to pump your own gas, go back to California or up to Washington. Not here. How come the big-rigs are carrying triple loads? The answer is because they can…so when they are spraying rain water from their tires it is three-as-opposed-to-two sets of big rig tires hydrating your car. The fast lane means absolutely nothing to most Oregonians. In California, you expect that slow cars in the fast lane to move over. That does not calibrate for seemingly oblivious speed-limit drivers in Oregon’s fast lanes.

● Moderate BTCI (5-6): The property tax bill just showed up and it is due soon. Hint: there was no Proposition 13, just wimpy Measure 5, in Oregon. (Wait until early spring to learn about the state income tax and the Multnomah County income tax, if you live in that particular über-blue Portland county). It’s never 45 degrees in San Diego on an October morning. Huh? I have to wear a sweater, sweat shirt or parka in October? The weather dude or dudette promised “sun breaks” today. “Where are my friggin’ sun breaks?” When will it be 70-degrees or more again? April? May? June? Hint: If you expect 70 degrees in any of these three months, you may very well be disappointed.

● High Moderate BTCI (7-8): It’s wet, cloudy and damp. In fact, it is always wet, cloudy and damp. Did I mention “overcast?” The sky is a perpetual white over the front-lawn poetry dispensers, the sustainable gardens, the parade of NPR-powered Prius,’ the organic, fair-trade, shade-grown caffeination stations. And when spring comes the sky is still white, but all the surrounding fields of grasses and trees start doing their thing big time…that’s when the sneezing and wheezing begins.


● Extremely high BTCI (9-10): It’s been raining for six weeks straight. The satellite reveals a series of inbound storms stretching across the Pacific from Japan to Oregon. Black ice is forming in the perpetual shady spots in the morning. Can I safely drive my Miata down the hill? The mercury dips. The ice forms. It may snow. It may not snow. The roads start to crack. It might get up to 38-degrees today…or maybe not. The short commutes, the reasonable housing prices, the lack of a sales tax don’t seem to be so important today. The 405 in LA or the 880 in the Bay Area don’t look so intimidating, mind numbing and frustrating. You may even be missing your favorite morning shock jock. Only $800,000-plus for a shack by a LaLaLand or Silicon Valley freeway? Hmmm… Can I get an adjustable rate mortgage and soon be underwater like all the rest? At least, it will be sunny and not raining.

The annual grudge football game in Oregon is played in late November/early December and is called the Civil War. It features a counterculture vs. agriculture matchup of two highly aquatic creatures, the Ducks and the Beavers…What was your first clue?

Editor’s Note: Full credit for the invention of the BTCI needs to be directed to my incredibly talented PR friend, the late Ken Kohli of the Intermountain Forest Industry Association. He referenced the BTCI for Californians moving to Couer d’ Alene, Idaho. I still miss him.



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