When I heard that the limited edition 25th anniversary Mazda MX-5 Miata sold out in 10 minutes, I wasn’t surprised. That’s all it took for 250 Miataphiles to sign up for the 100 available special edition models. And when gearhead car sites refer to this vehicle as a “darling” – yes, their words, not mine – I knew I had to borrow one.
Of course, I didn’t kid myself for a minute. When I asked Mazda Canada to borrow one for a week, I knew I wouldn’t be getting the special edition. But I was tickled to learn I’d be getting a GS in “True Red” and “Brilliant Black” – pretty darn close.
So it was disappointing when Mazda Canada called to let me know that a consumer had requested that very model, the only one available in the area. What? Someone wanted to buy a press car? Did they know what punishment is heaped upon those hapless vehicles by ruthless auto writers? Naturally, I graciously accepted a gray and black substitute, and realized what had REALLY happened. Mazda had simply realized that if they gave me a red Miata, well, they might NOT get it back.
And so it was that I picked up a dapper grey 2014 Miata GS, poured myself into the low-slung driver’s seat, and spun away on my adventure. Now, unlike most cars out there today, the Miata GS doesn’t come with any fancy technology. There’s no Bluetooth hook-up, rear camera, navi system or LCD screen popping up. For starters, where would it go? And then – who the heck needs it?
This car is all about driving, pure and simple. You turn the engine over and a sonorous, daring trill of an exhaust note fills the air. As you rev the engine, it fills out with a ferocity, pulsating with intensity. It’s a honeyed, quivering melody that hovers on the edge, as the RPMs rise and fall. Is it any wonder I was reminded of Maria Callas in Lucia Di Lammermoor, her voice rising to an impossible high note as madness descends?
This video offers a little sound bite of exhaust note, just before two old buddies embark on a “gem” of an afternoon. (Many thanks to @MsArleneD for her invaluable videographic assistance)
Gripped by Miata delirium, my passion for driving knew no end. One steamy night, I drove 25 kilometres for an ice cream sundae. The next day, I drove to the corner to get cat food. I offered my chauffeur services to everyone I knew. One friend had never been in a convertible before, and she blissfully raised her arms to the cool night air.
Even trapped in the grimy clutch of downtown gridlock, I was ecstatic. Perhaps this, then, is the solution to the 24-7 congestion that plagues Toronto. Put everyone in a Miata. You don’t care where you are. You’re just delighted to be in the embrace of a car that responds to every whisper of a touch, sure-footed and precise, eager and ready to please, with a little bel canto echoing behind you.
All week long, I breezily shot in and out of traffic, parking spots, on and off the highway, spinning U-turns, bouncing around the city. My joy was evident, as complete strangers nodded and smiled at me, whistled and waved at street corners and stoplights.
Good fortune followed me wherever I went, as the sun shone down brightly all week. Perhaps the only flaw to having this car were some of the back-handed comments it drew. “Gorgeous car, but you know, that’s only for selfish people,” said one neighbour. “Where do you put the groceries?” asked another. “You’ll never make it through a Canadian winter in that car,” noted another friend, who shall remain nameless.
But a Miata is not about practicality, it’s about valuing the rapture in every moment of being. There are those who would want it to be faster, lighter, bigger, lower, flashier. And they do – God love ‘em, the kids that alter the camber, stance it, turbo charge it, drop in a rotary, stick a wing on the back, whatever.
A Miata will make you feel things you’ve never felt before in a car. It’s like discovering a paramour, a soul-mate, who knows your deepest, darkest secrets. And encourages you to get a little kinky around the corners.
For those who want to lead a safe, predictable little life, it may seem like an indulgence.
But for those who want to hit that high octane E-note, a Miata isn’t just a selfish whim.
It’s a necessity.
And may the next 25 years of Miatatude be even more exquisite.