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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Are you a real car guy?

I'm about to let you in on a little secret. It's how to spot a real car guy from a poseur with one simple question:

What do you think about a Miata?

At this point, there will be one of two reactions. To the uninformed, the Mazda roadster will be mocked for its "cute" appearance, tiny dimensions, and lack of balls (usually it's a real macho dude who holds this car in contempt). To these people, driving isn't an experience to enjoy. Being at the wheel of a car is like being on stage for all the world to see.

Well, that's fine for them. The rest of us know that the Miata (why did Mazda change it to mx-5?) has a driving experience as pure as uncut coke and it's probably just as addicting too. Let's take a look at the recipe for this drug... err

The basics are all here. It has a front engine, rear wheel drive layout mated to a light and nimble chassis. How light is this car? The curb weights for the first and third generation are 2116 lbs and 2480 lbs, respectively. Horsepower? 116 and 167. In comparison, the iconic Corvette and Porsche 911 weigh about 600 lbs more. Ok, that's all well and good but numbers can't tell the story of why this is such a good car.

It's the feeling. That lack of weight carries more speed into the corners and immediately responds to direction changes. The driver just has to think and the car will be there in an instant. Find a good bit of twisty road, clip apex after apex, and mat the throttle in between. The tactile sensations are all there too. The steering wheel communicates every rock, leaf, and stripe to your fingertips. The clutch is perfectly weighted and matches beautifully to the perfectly spaced short throw shifter for those lightning fast upshifts or heal-toe downshifts.

So, next time you find yourself staring at the gauges of a Miata, pay no attention to the "bro" in the 'Stang with the blowout haircut sitting in the lane next to you. Let him dust you off the line and revel in the fact that you'll overtake him corner after corner. That is an addiction...

-Danny Chin-

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