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First ND Drive and Impressions

I was having a pretty bad day today, so I retreated into my favorite comfort activity, looking at cars. I’ve really got to stop that… Wait! A new 2016 Club with a manual transmission less than 100 miles away?!? The manuals are more rare that hen’s teeth right now. I’m smiling because I finally know how to make the day just a little better. I made an appointment and hit the road. I understand some don’t like the new Miata for various legitimate reasons, but here’s my take on the experience.

What I really liked (in no particular order):

1. Transmission. It’s the best ever on a Miata. The gear ratios are more evenly spaced than on the NC. On the NC, I frequently felt the need to skip every other gear because of the odd ratios.

2. Suspension. Even stock, it’s very nice. Still too soft for my tastes, but better out of the gate than previous versions. It’s also less jittery. It feels more grown up and serious.

3. The feel of the interior materials. They’re a lot nicer than the NC’s hard plastic interior.

4. The seating position. I know, I know… I already hear the groans. I feel a little lower in the ND as opposed to being perched on a low car in the NA and NB generations. The NC started this trend, and honestly, the ND isn’t any more than that, but it’s still noticeable. It may be a function of other cars I’ve driven, but that lower slung sensation makes me feel more snug and connected to the car.

5. The engine bay layout. Yeah, I know that’s probably a crazy thing to like, but it has a good design. The stupid plastic cover on the NC generation is (mostly) gone and it looks like an engine again. There’s actually some room in there. The engine itself seems more noticeably shifted rearward. It’s now easy to see this is a front mid-engined car.

6. No more Mazda grin! That said, Mazda may have gone a little too far towards aggressive, but I’m so happy the grin is gone, I’ll take it!

The top is a mixed bag for me, so I’m not going to list it as a like or a dislike. On the NC, while seated, I could reach back and close the top without exiting the car. Handy! Doing this is even easier on the ND. The top feels like maybe all of a few pounds when you’re pulling it up. It’s light! While all that’s great, the downside is it seems closer to my back and makes the back and top of the cabin seem slightly more closed in than before. Even top-down, it seems slightly less open. Some of this may be from the windshield angle, too. It’s not bad, but it is an adjustment.

What I really didn’t like (also in no particular order):

1. The diagonal LEDs on the lower front.

2. The stupid looking tablet glued to the center of the dash. I really hope the aftermarket community comes up with a delete or folding option for that. The focus of this car has always been the connection between the driver, the car, and the road. Why put a distraction like that in plain sight? I’m hoping the screen can be turned off. If not, it’s going to be majorly annoying at dusk or dark.

3. Did I mention the stupid looking tablet glued to the center of the dash? Oh, sorry…

4. While the movable cupholders are kind of a cool idea over previous fixed locations, they feel incredibly cheap and flimsy.

5. The NB and NC had a nice folding wind blocker. The ND’s pulls out leaving you holes and a loose part to keep up with. Given it’s new shape, it made be able to stay in all the time, but it does interfere with rearward visibility with the top up.

6. On the stock wheels, I think it desperately needs some lowering springs (easy fix once someone actually makes them). Stock, it sits a little high. Maybe it was expecting the recent floods?

7. The shark fin satellite antenna on the trunk. On the NC’s, it was only on the GTs. Now, it’s only missing on the Sport versions. Both the Club AND the GT now have it.

8. The window supports seem minimal when shutting the doors with the windows rolled down. The windows kind of rattle around in there. This was definitely true of NCs as well, but seemed slightly more pronounced with this particular ND.

I know these are mostly just minor styling elements, but they do add up…

After having some time to reflect without any excess Miata-induced endorphins coursing through my brain, I find myself still being impressed. The car was very fluid and felt great on twisty roads. Luckily, I was able to talk the salesman into a very long test drive. Since it was such a pretty day, I’m sure he was as happy to be out of the showroom as I was to be finally driving a manual transmission ND. It’s still exceptionally light and nimble, and it still feels comfortably small; it’s still every bit a Miata. It can also magically improve bad days.

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Mandrill

MandrillBecause the Club’s website is not something everyone checks each day (although I can’t understand why?) someone suggested that maybe every time someone posts something to the site an email could go out to all the members letting them know. I thought that should be easy, WordPress has an email system built in, piece of cake. Well, not so much.

A little Google Fu and I came across Mandrill a program that would do the heavy lifting for free, at least the first 12,000 emails a month (we have been averaging only about a thousand.) Every week I get an email that shows me the stats from the mails they send for us. It is kind of interesting and I figured you might find it interesting too (but probably just once, it is not that interesting.)

The report (click on the image to make it bigger) lets you see how many emails were sent, how many made it and how many didn’t. You can also see how many were opened and how many actually clicked on the link inside.

Dash Invaders

You turn on your car and all of a sudden – DASH INVADERS! How could that many things go bad over night?! Grab your toolbox and fend them off! Try and get the elusive check engine light when you can, but watch out! The more you eliminate, the faster they come! Wipe them all out or else it’s GAME OVER.

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Buy One!

Boshears Air Show

Keep in mind that the Boshears/Skyfest is October 17, 18, with the car show participation on the 17th. We just found out that a British car club will be attending with 20+/- cars, along with the other 100 or so that have signed up. You never know what will be there.

We just added Bob Carlton with his Sonex micro-jet to the show; it’s the only one of its kind.
Gates open at 9, the shows starts promptly at 2 each day, and you might see me running around out there somewhere. If you do, yell out.

Double Stoked

Four passengers, timeless looks, ’nuff power (blah blah euro motor blah blah, the s50/52 are good in their own right), and the best handling money could buy. Viper, Vette, NSX, 911, 355, Boxter, Supra… all couldn’t keep with an e36 in the twisties.


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Buy One!