SAMOA Miatatudes, February 2011
BAMA Newsletter, January, 2012                                                                           



                                            My Love Affair (with Miatas)
By Terese Mac Davis



I have been a sportscar person since I was a 14 year old girl in Denver. My first sportscar was a '65 Austin Healy
Sprite. My first actual car was a 50s something Hilman Huskey, which got passed down to my little sister Farris when I
got the Sprite
.
I had the Sprite for about seven years and moved from Denver to San Jose and brought it along. I loved California!
As a 19 year old, I had the car repainted the Sprite yellow at Earl Schibe and re-did the upholstery myself. I had
bought it during a snow storm (best time to buy a sportscar) and the seats were pretty trashed.

All my life I had been sewing  with my grandmother, mother, and sisters. I found some cool (70s) pea green
Naugahide fabric, took the seats apart and made patterns, and did a tuck and roll on the seats. It looked like a 19
year old had done it, but it was a lot better than it had been!  

I finally sold it to my boss, an engineer. He started messing with it and I don't think it ran for very much longer.  As I
said, an engineer.    

I had found my dream car! It was a 75 Fiat 124 Spyder 1600 or 1800. I had that one for 17 ½ years, raised three kids
and taught two kids to drive in it.

When the Miatas came out in 90, I was so excited. I knew I was going to have to replace the Fiat eventually and this
was the first car I’d seen that I liked almost as well. Of course I had three kids and we couldn’t afford one and I still
had my Fiat.  It would be eight years before I got my first Miata.
                                                                              
I had been sportscarless for several years, the kids were grown and gone and I was single again. I wanted a Miata,
but I didn’t have much money. My boyfriend told me how to get one.

We each put in $2k and bought a raggedy Miata. We fixed it up and sold it and then bought another one,, and then
another one,,, and then two more, etc.

He had done this with other cars. He didn’t know anything about Miatas, and I only knew I liked their look. We
researched and drove lots of Miatas and learned. Bill said ‘find a car you like and stick with just that one car’ and it
worked! You get good at that car, the parts are interchangeable, and eventually you know what you’re doing.














                                     


We restored Miatas for years. I was still working my day job, but Bill was ‘speculating’. He was a real wheeler dealer.

First we did our homework when we were looking for a car. I copied a handful of ads and compared them and called
them and did as much screening as I could over the phone, since most were three or more hours away.

When we decided to go see one, I did a CARFAX and Kelly Blue Book reports before we went to see.  It didn’t hurt to
have a backup car to look at in the same area
.
We found lots of Miatas to rescue and some that were already fabulous.  We now knew how much it would cost to
take out the dings and paint it, put on a new top, how much for mechanical and tires and brakes. It was fun! Bill
became a total Miata convert! (he had been a Corvette guy).

We were so excited when we finished a car and someone came to see it.  We were proud of our cars.  Bill and I were
partners for seven years, including two years with my Jimmy, who I married and brought into the fold. Bill brought one
of his girlfriends on board, too, and she’s one of my best friends..and drives a 95 M  Edition automatic
.
I did it for 11 years altogether. I was even ‘Miata of the Month’ for May of 2008! See http://miata.net/motm/2008/mac.
html .  I enjoyed the heck out of my 15 minutes of fame.  Right after the article came out, I started getting emails from
everywhere.  Even a guy in Switzerland

These are such wonderful little cars and I’ve certainly had more than my share. One of the biggest joys was having
so many cool cars, and making cool cars out of tired scraggly ones.  People who came to look at cars and got excited
about Miatas were so much fun!!

My cars are all over the country (well, one in Milwaukee, one in Louisiana, two in Arizona and two in Seattle, oh and
one in Utah and Texas and two or three in Nevada).  We were fanatical about finding and fixing everything we could
on each car.

We had a wonderful mechanic, Jet, who had been working on Mazdas for almost 25 years and he was with us the
whole 11 years. We certainly couldn’t have done it without him.  He worked on all our cars and continues to work on
some for the new owners.  He's a quiet-spoken, tall, thin guy with formerly red hair now white and wireless frame
glasses.  He is the most organized and tidiest person I've ever met.  I've never shown him my Miata room.  He's
straight-forward, knows his stuff, and enjoys what he does.  He's honest and tries to save us money when he can.  
Having a good mechanic you can trust and afford improves the whole car-owning experience enormously.  

When we got a new car, one of it’s first stops was to Jet. We replaced a lot of cam cover gaskets/o-rings seals and
slave cylinders, and brakes, and so on. I even kept a supply of those parts in my Miata room.  I would find the parts
and bring the car to his house and he'd work in his garage. He was a true car guy and his hobby was restoring
antique and hot rod cars and trucks. He always had something interesting in his garage.  We would do the paint jobs
last so they didn't get messed up by all the other work being done.
.
This was the coolest thing that had ever happened to me in my life! I met hundreds of Miata people, saw all of
Northern California, drove and restored hundreds, maybe thousands, of Miatas and got to see where they came from
and who they left with.

We got real good at it, after plenty of mistakes.  We saw some incredible houses and met some verrrry interesting
people.  99% of Miata people are nice, honest and interesting folks.  We met some of the 1%'ers too.
.
I am a member of Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association (SAMOA)   and I did a few events with them over the
years. I’m almost an hour south of Sacramento, so I didn’t do much, but I took the Miata Performance Driving School
at Thunderhill Raceways in Willows (twice) and did the Vintage Car Races and parked in the Miata corral. We also
went autocrossing with Bonni Weatherwax (an important player in the Miata world).  I did discover that I'm not good at
it.

I went on the Copay Valley run where we stopped at that little shop in the hills that sold their own wine, olive oil
concoctions and sauces. Almost everyone in our group bought something. We chatted, heard Miata stories and told
ours.

When it was my turn to be rung up, the lady told me a Corvette club had stopped by earlier that day. There were
almost 30 people in their group and only one person bought anything. Almost all of our people bought stuff. Kinda
shows the difference between Corvette people and Miata people, huh?


I sort of started my own Miata club pretty loosely based on SAMOA. What I did was contact everyone local who had
gotten one of my cars and inviting them on our fun runs. We’re now on our 5th Annual Twaine Harte Street Fair run.
We don’t have a newsletter or dues – we just do fun Miata runs and show off our cars..
Our first run to Twine Harte had 13 of my cars, plus another Miata we picked up on the way.  

When we got a new car, we started a car card on it. These were the notes of everything that car needed to achieve
gorgeousness and mechanical integrity.
And here are my own babies.
Tequila Sunrise.  1995 B package,
PM, 133k mi.
The BlueBerry.  1994 A package
with added headrest speakers and
PW, and PM.  Automatic.  93k mi
These are the car cards for the two
Miatas I kept for my retirement.
Jet's note back to me saying what he'd
done.
Now this is a house with curb
appeal!  
I've retired from the Miata restoring, and have started doing more things with my own cars and with the car clubs.  
However, after I retired, one of my cars came back.  I'm almost always willing to buy back one of my own cars.  Miatas
are tiny cars and people outgrow them.  I know all the major work has been done already and I know the car.  

This was a 94 Laguna Blue (my favoite) automatic.  It had all sorts of goodies added to it and it was even better than
when I sold it.  So I got it smogged, advertised and found a new home.Then it happened again.  I guess the fat lady
hasn't sung on that yet. I just finished my third last one.

I wrote a book (yes, me!) called, of course, '
Just Miatas, the Book'.  You are welcome to visit my new website at
www.justmymiata.com .  You can read some stories, see some fabulous or just gorgeous cars, and see how much fun it
is to restore a Miata, or any car that you love.


by Terese Mac Davis
Just Miatas
Your comments are welcome at justmiatas@yahoo.com


All material Copyrighted @2011 by Terese Mac Davis