The MX-5 Miata of the Month from

November 2001

Rich Velardo

Congratulations to Rich Velardo on the selection of his Miata as our November Miata of the Month!

Just what have I gotten myself into here anyway? I spend hours on the computer, reading posts on the Miata Net Forum, answering questions, moving topics to Car Talk and giving out my $.02 worth of opinion. Every Miata parts vendor knows my charge card number, and is gleefully waiting for me to appear on their web site again. I get e-mail form strange people with Miata fixations constantly and I post e-mail to the UK, and around the US most every day.

Could I be like them, could I too have a Miata fixation? Nah, not me. I could leave my Miata by the side of the road in an instant - if it stopped running, was hit by a semi, burst into flames, and I couldn't get the pieces into my pocket. Well maybe not even then, I think I'd sit by the car and morn. See what kind of a state I'm in? All because of a wonderful little car from Japan.

I bought my Miata in February of 1999 (lovely understanding and long suffering wife, " are you nuts? What moron would by a sports car in February?" -me-). I was looking for a red and black but the dealer in town had this Emerald Green Mica with a tan top roll off the transporter one day. I saw it on my way to school, one cold February morning. It was really, really sharp looking, even with the white plastic stuff stuck all over it. But I was looking for a red one so I let it pass, besides the 10AE's were due out soon and I thought I'd like one of those. Well I found out the $ being asked for the 10 AE, and decided not to get one of those. The red ones on the lot, next to "my" green, were beginning to look not so nice as the green.

Doomed, by a warm February day! Wouldn't you know it, Lilas (lovely and long suffering wife) was late getting home from school and I had some time to myself on an unusually warm day, to do what....? Why stop at the Mazda dealer, for a ride in "my" green Miata of course. 1/2 hour and one terrified salesman later, it was sold! The little kid (me), who had wanted his very own sports car since a mid 1950's Cleveland auto show, finally had his toy! All of those years of studying car magazines was finally rewarded with the best buy in the sports car world. BMW, Porsche, Corvette, Mustang, F bodies; not interested, thank you.

So, what have I done with my life since then. Why all sorts of significant and uplifting things; I've run my Miata to red line every chance I get, can't get more uplifting than that. I've joined the North Coast Miata Club and have met some wonderful people who share my obsession, not only that, they've corrupted me further (more on this later). I've become active on the forum where I met even more of you corrupting influences (many thanks BTW). And I've played with my toy, I don't mean driving it, I mean ripping perfectly good pieces-parts off and putting "better" new pieces-parts on instead (Lilas, long suffering wife again, "what was wrong with the old parts?" followed by, "HOW MUCH?"). So "the Baby" isn't exactly stock anymore. The biggest change is the supercharger, oh is that sweet! I've also put on; a header and muffler, 16" wheels and tires, and many other interior and appearance mods.

Back to those corrupters from the North Coast Miata Club. These guys & gals sucked me right in, I've been forced to write a monthly road test for the newsletter, forced to attend monthly meetings with friendly people (they bribed me with beer, what can I say). These are the very same fanatics who've forced me into autocrossing. They are truly an awful influence if ever there was one. They are so effective and sneaky that they've corrupted Lilas, (long suffering wife) and she is now almost as fanatical as I am. Her latest question, "could I have a Miata too?". Do I see a another project car here?

Now the ultimate symptom of my affliction; racing. Yes, thanks to those racers in the Northcoast Miata Club, I've gone over the edge. This summer it was time for Solo II. Armed with my new helmet, I terrorized every orange cone in the city of Akron. Hey, I even took a 2 day course on how to best flatten those pesky cones, the instructors claimed it was an "Autocross Driving Course", little do they know. My 1st autocross season has ended with a championship in the E-modified class. Not that I'm any good mind you, my team's not named "B.D. Racing" (B.= bad & D. = driver) for nothing, rather I got the championship by being there for every autocross, and never finishing last.

It sure is great, having been corrupted by all of you Miata driving fanatics out there. Thank you very much!

Rich Velardo

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