Submitted by Chuck Lynch
I didn't find this car, it found me. I could never have located one like it, they are too rare. But about three years ago a little cash came my way, and with the big 5-0 right on the horizon it was time to find something sporty, small, and red. The final three choices came down to a new Mustang, Acura RSX, or MX-5 Miata. All red.
Time to go a-lookin'. Our local Blue Oval Ford dealer told me that unless I was ready to buy their car that day, they did not have time to talk to me. The last red RSX our Acura dealer would ever have had 400 miles on it, which I consider to be a demo, and they would not deal. And the Mazda dealer also thought highly of their cars; I simply would not pay $30,000 for a Miata.
Off to the classifieds and other used car sources. I was rethinking the red theme, too. Did I really want to attract that much attention? Then I saw one on the road ... a dark metallic green Miata, a few years old. Classy, I thought. When I picked up a local events paper and scanned the used-car listings, there it was--a green Miata with a six-speed. It had low miles (33,000) and was in good shape. The price was good, too.
The next day, I gave the owners a call. Trekking into Nashville is never fun--the town has grown, but the roads haven't. I finally found their house, right in the flight path of the airport, and the guy was more than honest about the car. He showed me every minute scratch he knew of, said his girlfriend needed a larger car for traffic (I agreed totally), and we came to a quick agreement over the price. The next day, he even personally delivered the car to my house, nearly 45 minutes away. I didn't know exactly what the car was when I bought it, and he obviously didn't know what he had either.
It is a 2001 Miata MX-5 SE (Special Edition), Number 1,610 of 3,000
made. As far as Miatas go, this thing is loaded! British Racing Green,
fender badges, tan leather seats, tan floor mats with BRG 'Miata
Special Edition' embroidery, 6-speed transmission, air conditioning,
power steering, power brakes, power windows, cruise control, Bose
AM/FM/Single CD, power antenna, power mirrors, remote entry and trunk
release, fog lights, wind blocker, cargo net, rear defroster, 16'
polished aluminum wheels, NARDI wood steering wheel, shifter knob, and
hand brake lever, plastic wood dash trim, 2 cup holders (can't get
along without cupholders!), and a larger polished exhaust tip. As far
as I know, it's only lacking two options: ABS and a cassette player; I
prefer the dash storage bin over a cassette player.
To date, 26 months later, I've put 9,000 miles on the SE. I've done
a few cosmetic repairs, as it would have been in better shape had I
bought it new. A new lower driver's seat cover ($250) from Mazda looks
much better than what came with the car; I'm not a fan of the longevity
of leather seats. There are some nice aftermarket parts available, so I
added console/interior lights, a trunk light, and side marker lights in
the red quarter panel reflectors. I hope the top lasts another couple
of years, there's a tiny ping in the hood, and the windshield is
showing some small chips. Other than that, the car is in pretty good
shape going on eight years old.
having the car for nearly a year, I turned a corner at a red light one
night, and all of a sudden, the interior of the car was filled with an
eerie green glow. Seems one of the previous owners had decided green
neon lighting looked cool with the tan trim (It does not), and the
system, once broken, had fixed itself for no apparent reason. Needless
to say, all remnants of the lighting were removed the next day,
restoring the car to its deserved level of dignity.
I get tempted to sell from time to time to trade, but I know I would
always regret turning this car loose. It's special, it found me, and it
has a good home. Like a good pet, it doesn't eat much, is always
faithful, never leaves a mess, and is, ahem, rather cute. Oh, by the
way, I looked up the value of the car recently--it's worth $25 more
than I gave for it.