So whaddya think of that '99 MX-5??

Bob and Patty Eckels, proud owners of a '91 Silverstone Miata, spent some time in early March running around to dealerships looking for a '99 Miata. Since it was before the official release date of the Miata, their efforts were thwarted somewhat by dealers who were not yet familiar with the car, not yet stocked, or just plain "out to lunch." They sent in their story which we published on

During the following weeks, they received many replies from others about their stories. Our roving reporter, Patty, has been having fun compiling the many anecdotes.

Bob & Patty’s Quest For a 1999 Miata...

It’s finally here! Or at least in some places! Our local Mazda dealer has yet to acquire one of these baby’s. Not only that, but the salesman says he can’t sell it when it does come to the showroom. He has to wait until another one arrives and he doesn't know when that will be. He doesn't know what colors he’s getting or when it arrives. BUT, he does know that it’s a beautiful car and drives excellent! He’s been in one, drove one, but doesn't know WHEN it arrives! I’m on his list to call---whenever!

So, we got on the net & searched—for a ’99 Miata. Found a dealer around Washington, D.C., called him. He knows that a Black & Tan AUTOMATIC is to be on the showroom floor on Saturday and 30 more are to arrive, but he doesn't know when. He said he would call us. We waited, he didn't call. We decided to go to Baltimore and scour the area for "IT". We found "IT" at the first dealership. There she was, a beautiful green AUTOMATIC 1999 Mazda Miata. The salesman "tried" to talk to us about the Miata. I say "tried" because I knew more about the car than he did!! (he just got this job 2 weeks before). He knew nothing about the "loaded" Miata (windscreen & etc.) He knew nothing about the motor, he knew nothing about the glass window in the back & that the now "classic" (Yes, that’s the name they have now given our late model baby’s—even Hammond’s "new" one is now a classic!), had a plastic window. We decided what package we wanted. Did you know that the leather package only comes in tan? I can’t imagine a silver Miata with a tan interior & tan top! UGH! So we had to go with the cloth seats. We gave the salesman all the information, he took it to his boss, we waited & I watched as my silver baby was taken for a test drive (she’s so beautiful!). When he brought her back & parked her, I swear when I looked at her, her "mouth" was turned down in a frown! Honest! She looked so sad—I think she knew what I was doing! Well, the boss came over & gave us his spiel about how popular the Miata is and that we should put our order in right away because this (outlandish) price & (outlandish) trade-in wouldn't be here a month from now. And then we couldn't get one until April (that’s not bad) & the price would surely go up! We said our "thank you’s" & "we’re shopping" spiel & left.

Dealership #2—had a black & tan on the floor, all covered up! The black & tan is really beautiful. This salesman had just come back from a seminar about the Miata, so he surely knows EVERYTHING about the Miata. Right? Wrong! Again, I told him things about it he didn't know. Except the one thing he did know that I didn't—it drives like a dream!! He said he was impressed. We went back to his office to "talk". Sat down, told him we wanted a silver & what package we wanted. He told us that we couldn't probably get one until July and he couldn't talk to us about price because he didn't know what it would be. We said our "thank yous" & "we’re shopping" & left. (They covered the car up as we were leaving—WHY?).

Dealership # 3—had a green AUTOMATIC on the floor and sitting beside it was a beautiful RED "classic"—yes, a 1997. ‘CLASSIC’ was painted on the windshield and the sticker price was $21,000.00. The sticker price on the new one was $24,000.00. Again, we get a salesperson (woman) that was only on the job for 2 weeks. Again, I told her more than she knew about the car. So, we went thru our options & etc., she took it to her boss, I watched again as my silver baby was being test driven (her "mouth" was in a larger frown—honest!). So the salesgirl told us a story about another buyer of a Miata. She said this woman came in & wanted a Miata, but didn't want a convertible top, she wanted a hardtop. So they took the ragtop off & put the hardtop on! I was going "What is she talking about"? All the time Bob was kicking me & I finally got what she was saying—she did NOT know that the hardtop "attaches" to the car! Good Lord, don’t the dealers inform their employees of what their product is all about??? She also told me that my silver AUTOMATIC was a REAL classic because they didn't make that many of them—probably only 150 she said. (She shouldn't have said that). I saw a young(er) couple go up & look at the 1999 and then over to the 1997. When their salesperson left I started talking "MIATA". They asked us some questions, like how is it in the snow & etc., which we answered. Their salesman didn't particular like us butting in. He so much as told us HE was selling the car. So I turned around to mind my own business, when the "classic" caught my eye! She looked so beautiful sitting there, smiling at us. I knew at the very moment what I was going to do. I told the girl to tell her boss that it was not a good idea to have the "classic" sitting beside the 1999. I guess by now you all know what I’m going to do! Yep! I’m keeping my silver "classic" baby! She is going to get a new paint job & some more after market goodies! When we put her in the garage that night, I could swear she was purring and had a happy face! The one question I have that amazes me is: WHY ALL THE AUTOMATICS??

Bob & Patty Eckels
Hagerstown, MD

...and the things folks had to say about it!

Hello Again! I never thought that I would cause such a stir when I wrote my story about the quest for a 1999 Miata! I have heard from Miataphiles (some old & some new Miata owners) all over the United States. I never thought when I bought this little car on Memorial Day weekend of 1992 that my life would virtually change. I met some wonderful people through my Miata Club & now I am "talking" to people from all over the United States! And all because of this adorable car. So I thought you would enjoy some of the messages, all positive of course.

It seems as though the Silver Miata is going to be the most popular color. Most people like the tan interior with the silver. From Greg: "The silver & tan leather combination looks great! Add a silver hardtop and you have something that looks like a baby Boxster. Neat little car!! Now if I could only find the money for it.."

My favorite answers to the question "Why all the AUTOMATICS" were the following:

From a fellow PACE member: "It is possible that the market for Miatas is becoming female, like the classic Mustangs. Therefore, a large number of automatics." This was from a fellow PACE member! The next one, from Christopher, is my favorite—"All automatics are PARKED in the showroom. The rest are for driving." From Scott: "don’t see the point in having one (automatic) in an authentic sports car..a Toyota Celica or Mustang maybe, but not in a real roadster, especially when shifting is half the fun anyway!" He ordered a Black Miata. (If you haven’t guessed, I drive an automatic!).

I was invited to fly out to San Francisco, enjoy the area for a few days & drive back to Maryland! Thanks, Carl, but my husband wasn’t real keen on the idea!

From Joshua in Racine, Wisconsin: "The Miata is truly the best car I have ever owned, and the most fun street car that I have ever driven. The new one carries it just a little bit closer to perfect." Then he says: "What better way to begin a relationship with a new Miata than with a road trip home." Again, I was invited to come to Wisconsin, buy a Miata & drive it home! Thanks Joshua!

From: Bob in St. Louis, MO: "Went right out last Saturday (3/7), walked into the Miata dealer, gave them my ’91, with 110,000 miles, and drove out my new ’99 red with leather package, 5 speed….no problem!" What I want to know is how he bought one on March 7th? Maybe he should give a lesson to Barry…..

From Barry in New England on March 4: "I too went on a Miata quest. The salesman told me he could not sell the car until March 1 (it was March 2..ummm) Could I order one? No..what? He said he has no other Miatas except the one on the floor..Well? Could I order one? No again.. the dealer has to take what is given to him I was told. When they took it out of the showroom, I got to drive it & then they wanted to sell it to me. Why sell me the only one they have I asked? The comment was that this was not a museum for cars." A follow-up on March 9at 7:33a.m.: I returned to the dealership, wife in tow & check in hand. My wife was sitting in HER new Black with a smile on her face, when the salesman came over and said the deal is off! They didn’t want to sell me the car at all!! I have a red LE Pkg under agreement at another dealership." BUT..on March 9 at 4:31 p.m. he writes: "The dealer with the red called & said that if I do not have the check in his hand today the deal is off. What a soap opera! We are picking it up tonight & hopefully will be driving it down Route 95 north!"

From Paul in Virginia: "I have decided that Sebring & JLAudio would get the $4,000.00 I would have lost in depreciation driving a new 1999 off the lot!

Bruce in Conecticutt has a silver Miata on order.

From James: "I am totally fed up with BMW. They tout such excellence and don’t deliver. I had a Porsche 944 for 11 years and the Miata is the equal of that car, if not better. The Z3 doesn’t come close! From my brief exposure to web-based Miata info, the ownership community seems to be every bit as enthusiastic as the Porschephiles. BMW owners are snobs without good cause." James sent me about 10 pages of comments of how bad the BMW Z3 really is! He has a silver on order and is putting his ’98 Z3 for sale in the newspaper!

From Rich in Alabama: "I am President of the Alabama chapter CAMS. "I love the new ones, but I love my original ’90 White better. She is just well broken in with 125k on her. We’re looking for 250k between rebuilds and repaints every 10 years!"

From Arkansas: "Unbelievable, I thought the Mazda people were ignorant because I’m in Arkansas. By the way, the first one (1999) in Little Rock –an AUTOMATIC!"

And then there are the messages from dealers telling me that they would be happy to talk Miata to me! I decided to keep my "classic." I just bought her some new "shoes" (tires & wheels) and some more after market goodies. My PACE Miata club is going to a couple of dealers on March 28th. I hope I don’t see a silver! I love my ’91 silver, but the ’99 silver is tempting………………………..

Thank all of you, again for the letters. It’s been a blast!!!

See you all in the Poconos!!!!

Patty Eckels
PACE Miata Club

Back to

22 March, 1998