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Sunday, March 27, 2016

The best looking Miata is... Italian Miata? (or maybe - the one that is in your garage!).

(This post about 1:1 scale (real) cars, vs. 1/64 scale toy cars...   ... though given the Miata's size, it's ALMOST a Matchbox...).

My first new car, this '99 Miata, was purchased in June of '98.  She's now almost 18 years old, but still beautiful and in great shape.  I've loved her since she was new.  I think of her as a golden retriever puppy (given her black color it should be a Lab retriever puppy - but still she's a golden puppy in my imagination), always playful, bouncing around, ready to go for a ride.

I know what the muscle car snobs say about Miatas, that they need more power, that they are chick cars, etc.  What they miss is that the Miata is one of the most perfectly balanced and honed cars ever made.  Yes, it's not overly powerful, but it loves to have the engine wrung out at 10/10ths, and once it's up to speed, that utterly communicative chassis lets you keep it at speed like no other car I've ever driven.

I own several other cars, including a Porsche 911 and a BMW 330i ZHP, both of which have substantially more power than my Miata.  But consistently my long commutes get done in the shortest time when I drive my "under-powered" Miata...   She zips through traffic with ease, with me always knowing exactly where my car ends and which gaps I can squeeze into.

I've got the best-looking Miata...   The first generation (NA) was too rounded...  the third generation (NC) was slightly too big and fat...  And while the reviews of the newest (fourth (ND)) generation are nothing short of glowing about the car ("the best Miata ever"), the knife-edge styling has not yet enabled me to warm to it.  But mine....?   It's got the best curves of any of them, with stretched fenders that turn the innocence of the NA first generation into a sexier looker....   Plus, I love the black and tan color combination - my favorite - even though I literally changed my mind with the salesman four times before settling on black...   the Mazda speed NB version is the only version that I feel is better than mine, it came out several years after I bought mine, if it'd been out when I was buying I undoubtedly would have gotten it.

But then I saw an article in Car and Driver, saying that Fiat was going to use the Miata as a basis for the new spyder, and that it would have styling hints from the old 124/2000 spyder...  I'd previously heard Alfa would be using the Miata as the basis for THIER new spider - but this was the first time I'd heard about Fiat taking advantage of the Miata's architecture.

Either way, I was somewhat open to the idea.  I've never owned either a Fiat nor an Alfa spider/spyder, but they are both cars that I'd thought about and looked at for 4 decades.  I didn't like Fiat/Alfa taking the cheap way out and NOT bringing a truly unique car to the table, but still...

...But then I saw these photos of the new Fiat in Car and Driver...   ... And I was SMITTEN.  It looks like the perfect modern updating of the 124/2000 spyder.   Check out the round headlights, and the trapezoidal taillights!

Wow.  If I can get the excellent dynamics of the 4th gen ND Miata, but in a package that heralds back to the Fiat 124 spider...?!?   SIGN-ME-UP!  I might have just found my next new car!

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