My neighbor down the street owns a black, 2011 Mazda Miata Grand Touring MX-5, 6-on-the-floor, that he bought used in 2015 with only 6,000 miles on it and jokingly “drives only on Sundays.”  It does require a lot of shuffling to get it out of his garage. He’s taken me along on some what he calls, “Miata runs,” where we drive the back roads to a dining destination. He’s done some quick accelerating along the way to satisfy any racing fantasies, since it will probably be the closest that he will ever get to a Ferrari and his F1 dream!

He joined the Miata auto club, attends the monthly meetings, and often takes part in some of their road rallies like Sebring in January 2023 and Revs Institute just yesterday. Since his wife is not necessarily a fan of riding in the car, he usually invites a neighbor like me to be his navigator. My wife thinks it’s hilarious when he selects me, since she’s convinced that I have absolutely no sense of direction. At 6a we were on the road to Revs, billed as “more than just a car museum.” It’s the permanent home of the Miles Collier Collections of over one hundred significant automobiles built between 1896 and 1995, as well as a library, teaching, and restoration facility located in Naples, Florida. 

The club met at Cracker Barrel in Fort Myers, where we formed a “parade” line, drove the 45 miles to Revs as a group, toured the museum, and had lunch at nearby Spanky’s Speakeasy. During the course of the day, his odometer passed 26,000 miles, so he gave the dashboard of his Miata a loving pat. It’s a fondness for cars that I’ve never found. 

He told me that one of these days, he will organize one of these club drives, as we all enjoyed the day and the common interest in the Mazda Miata. There were about 16 cars of various years, options, and colors all lined up in the Revs parking lot while we took the tour. One of my favorites was a purplish-blue, Dupont 1929 Du Pont Model G Four Passenger Speedster, with a 140 hp, eight-cylinder Continental engine. It sported a glass, eagle’s beak, hood-ornament, known as a mascot. There’s also an impressive collection of these on display.

His interest is primarily horsepower but was also intrigued with one of the least appealing autos on display, a 1989 Trabant Type P601L with a twin-cylinder, two-stroke,594 cc, 26 bhp engine. “The ‘Trabi’ might have been crude, ugly, slow, and smoky but to the car-starved East Germans, it represented motoring heaven.” The body was constructed with “Duraplast,” a plastic composite rather than hard-to-get steel and eventually became an environmental nightmare. Despite the very long waiting list, the car was also very popular in Hungary, his native country. 

I would join the club, but that would require buying a Miata. It probably doesn’t count that I ordered my 14-year-old granddaughter a 1/32 scale version of a pink model of the car for her upcoming birthday. She joined us at Cracker Barrel, wanted to see all the cars, and showed me a picture of this particular Mary- Kay-like design with retractable headlights. For once, I’ve found a common interest with her.