Congratulations to Karen on the selection of Thomas as the December Miata of the Month!
Hi. My name is Karen Davis (miatamama on the Miata Forum). I am the owner of a 1990 Mariner Blue that is named Thomas.
I am not new to Miata ownership, having had a 1991 Classic Red, bought brand new in June 1991. We are also a Mazda family with most of our cars from Mazda.
The first time I saw a Miata was in Sports Illustrated Magazine in the fall of 1989. At that time, my husband and I lived in Barbados, West Indies and the SI was one of our only reality touches (especially for my hubby during swimsuit issue!) of what was happening in North America. We received one TV station, two radio stations and two local newspapers in our country. If we were lucky, we could get a USA today for $10 US, every few weeks, but it was old news by the time we got it.
I remember sitting watching a thirty year old episode of "Days of our Lives" (huge, huge hit in Barbados) and Don was reading his SI and says "Nope, can't let you read this copy because you will want this car!" I immediately grabbed the magazine out of his hand and what lay on the page before me was something beyond beauty: a Classic Red Miata! I was drooling.
Not long after, friends of ours (older than us at that time…at least fifty!) bought one of the first Miatas on the island; a Classic Red 1989, right side steering, five speed. It was one of the only two Miatas on the island. The other was a silver 1989 owned by the leader of one of the local music groups.
The first time I rode in my friend’s Miata, I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe that I was in such a cool car; everyone was looking at us and us knowing, Yeah, we look good! Not long after, my friend installed an air conditioner in the car because it was actually too hot to have the top down during the day. She always drove with the top up during the day with the air blasting at full speed. I always got a kick out of that.
Don and I returned from Barbados in June 1991. I came home early June and he came home end of June. We had an ongoing joke going for two years, that when we moved back home, I would pick him up at the airport in a Miata. We thought this was funny because I was coming home to no job and Don was starting at an accounting firm in Chilliwack and we had no history for the last two years in Canada.
Two weeks after moving back, I found employment in a law firm. Two days later I went to test drive a Miata in Langley. It was a White 1991. The first time I sat in the driver’s seat I knew this was the car for me! I remember some loser also yelling at me when I was at a traffic light, "Don’t buy that piece of crap!". Of course, he was driving a real sporty late ‘70’s Acadian and he was just jealous.
When I returned to the dealership, I tried not to look too excited. I left, went home (I lived with my parents on return to Canada) and talked to my Dad. I decided I would buy the car, but of course the issue was NO MONEY to pay for down payment.
I went back to the dealership the next day and told them I wanted a red five speed Miata but I had no money. Within one day, I had 100% financing for my car. I was thrilled. My brand new baby cost me just under $22,000.00 Cdn with PDI & taxes included. Of course, I was being pressured into buying all the little extra touches the dealership would do, like undercoating, rust proofing, scotch guarding, etc… which I said "no" to. Turned out they did it anyway and tried to make me pay for it. I stood my ground and they ate the cost of their "mistake".
And YES, I did pick up Don from the airport in a Red Miata. All he could do was laugh because he knew when I am determined to get something, there is no stopping me.
I loved my car and as it was my main means of transportation, drove it every day and most of the time with the top down (yes, I do love going topless!) I got personalized plates "IRE FLN" which no one could guess. It is a short version of "irie feeling" which means a good feeling in slang in the West Indies. It was also the name of my favourite song at the time.
I had my red Miata for three years but as life happens; we decided to start a family. I had dreams of garaging my Miata and putting it on the road for only six months of the year, but by the fall of 1994, we had a big dilemma as we needed a really reliable means of transportation and our eleven year old Mazda GLC Sport was beginning to nickel and dime us to death. So, with much regret, I had to make the sacrifice and use my car as the down payment towards a Ford Windstar. At least I got the Windstar in Red and got to keep the plates for a little while.
One of the saddest days of my life was driving the Miata to the dealership on November 24, 1994 in the pouring rain and believing that I would never, ever own a Miata again. But on the upside, I have two wonderful kids and wouldn’t trade them for anything!
Flash forward ten years and I am approaching forty, and not doing so with a lot of grace. Most of our friends were turning forty the same year, and one of them, Harold, made the decision to buy himself a Miata. Of course, my hubby had to break the news to me about a week after he knew, because he knew how jealous I would be; and I was. But, I was also happy for Harold because I knew how much he’d enjoy his car.
So, not long after, I secretly decided that I too was going to buy myself a Miata - another 1991 Classic Red five speed, and there was nothing Don could do about. So, I talked to my car dealership; I searched the Auto Trader; I checked the local car advertisements, but nothing stood out, because I was getting a Classic Red 5 speed and there were none. Then, I told Don what I was doing and he was disappointed because he wanted to surprise me by finding me a Miata first.
Don went out for his weekly "guy’s breakfast" early April 2004 and came home and said "The guys and I decided that any Miata in the driveway was better than no Miata in the driveway". I told him to take a hike, it had to be Red, no ifs, and, or buts. Don then suggested that I go and test drive the 1990 blue Miata that our car dealership had and maybe, just maybe, I might change my mind. I thought, okay, but no-way am I buying it because it is Blue and it is an automatic.
Well, guess what? I loved the car. I realized how much I enjoyed the automatic transmission (a sign of getting older!?). I still get to gear up and down and even have chirped my tires going into 2nd a few times. It also came with a hard top which I have only used once, but it was something I always wanted with my first Miata.
I became the proud owner of my second Miata on April 24, 2004, with much thanks to my wonderful husband, who thought I would enjoy turning forty more, if I had something from him and the boys that would make it much more special. Turning forty wasn't so bad anymore!
My kids love the car too, and the reason we call it Thomas is after Thomas the Tank Engine, who is the same colour blue. Now, all our vehicles have names; the Jimmy is "James", the Blue Protegé is "Emily" and the orange Hornet is "Rusty".
I joined the Sea to Sky Miata Club in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada even before I owned my car and am glad I did. I wasn’t able to make it on any club events during my first year as the ones I wanted to go on fell on our family vacation times. I was an infrequent poster on the chat board, wondering if I could sound like I knew anything about my car and nervous because there were so many really knowledgeable club members. This year I have become more involved by being the Newsletter Editor for the Sea to Sky Miata Club.
I don’t have any huge modifications (my cup holder was the first mod); I bought new floor mats and door sill guards this year. Everything is stock except for my new exhaust last year because it had to be replaced.
I have realized how much more I enjoy my second Miata as it is just not my main means of transportation anymore. It is my fun car and I drive it every chance I get. In British Columbia, when a car is 25 years old you can apply to have collector’s plates. One of my dreams is to get collector plates for Thomas in ten years.
Will you be next?