Racing Beat

The MX-5 Miata of the Month from

October 1997

Howard Marder

Congratulations to Howard on the selection of his Miata, as our October
Miata of the Month!

Honestly, this is the way it all started: You take one brand new 1990 beautiful red Miata purchased in December of 1989; add a growing teenager...slowly pour in a guy who is nearing mid-life...and presto! You now have the beginning. I’m that guy; well known in the Del-Val Miata Club as one “neat and clean freak” when it comes to his pride and joy Miata. Not that there is anything wrong with that; I know many people who feel the same way about their cars. I simply take it to the next higher level--and perhaps even beyond that.

I am a person who has gone on road rallies only to say: “No way--I’m not going through that puddle of water just to stay in the rally. I would rather come in dead last than dirty my lovingly-polished car and wheels." That gives you some hint into the passionate affair going on between me and my car.

It seems that my son Jeff got interested in autocross and decided to try it. Well, Dad tried it too. We did some “minor” things to the Miata during that time, such as: adding autocross special tires, a chassis brace, some underneath bracing, and sway bars. In time, we also acquired Jackson Cold Air Induction, Jackson Headers and a final exhaust system. Our car was gradually transformed into a very smoothly maneuvering vehicle. Special thanks goes to Bill Cardell, of Dealer Alternative, for putting up with my nit-picking during some of the installations. Also, thanks to Ed Avol for helping me with installing Tokico shocks and Flyin’ Miata springs which lowered the car about one inch. Although I was never too great at autocross, the car was sure set up nicely now. (Hey--are you starting to nod off with this tale?)

The next thing, that seemed only naturally for us to try was Performance Driving. This I liked! In fact, I’ve even been told that I’m now pretty good at it (?). I definitely seem to have a knack for it. I even installed the Hard Dog Sport Bar, just to be safe. If you haven’t tried this part of our hobby yet, I highly recommend it. It helps you in everyday driving situations and makes you a better all around driver of this terrific car. I have participated in Bertil Roos schools, the Madds events at Summit Point, and also mingled with the Corvettes at Pocono. What a blast, to put it mildly!

Naturally, there had to be one more slight adjustment to my dazzling bright and shiny red Miata; (it still turns heads!) and that was to upgrade wheels and tires to 15 x 7 Borbet rims outfitted with the new Yokohama A032R 205/50/15 racing compound tires. This tire-wheel combination, I believe, is the best possible choice for both wet and dry racing conditions. Since my car doesn’t get too many miles put on it, these tires will be just fine for all of my normal driving activities.

Finally, because of my involvement with performance, etc. my next--and Roslyn hopes the final improvement--will be a Turbo. This is planned for sometime in July. At that time it looks like I’ll have to learn how to drive just a little better because of the huge power increase. I guess some well hidden Miata-ego has certainly emerged!

I know it must be really difficult for some long-time Club member friends to believe that I’m going to these great lengths and doing all this to my Miata. Seeing me now, following close behind another car on the track and getting filthy dirty at the same time, has to boggle their minds. You see, I’m the same guy who carries the little squirt-bottle of water just to make sure his car is clean and spotless.

My car and our great Club has definitely changed my life! Remember the Miata Wave.

Previous Miata of the Month Winners

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