Our latest trip to Florida resulted in us trading in my wife’s beloved 2016 Toyota RAV4 Limited for a 2019 Honda Pilot Elite. Given the increased size and decreased fuel economy of the Pilot, she decided she didn’t want to put on 80 senseless miles each evening commuting. The solution we agreed, was that she’d learn to drive my six-speed manual 2007 BMW 328i. Somebody broke their promise.
I must have been in a really gracious mood that day, because I up and sold my German sedan (in a matter of hours), along with the supercharger I had sitting in the basement, waiting to go on, and agreed to a new deal. We’ll get an automatic vehicle for the purpose of commuting, but it’s my choice.
The car would be my daily. I work from home and sometimes head out for errands, lunch and random things mid-day. In the evening it was to double as her commuter car, packing on 70 miles a day.
Initially I had a budget of about $10k, but quickly discovered the conditions my wife had upon a new vehicle. I was planning on something like a 2006 E55 AMG or maybe an N55 powered E90, but nope, far too old and can’t possibly be reliable. She was probably right about the E90. So 2015’ish or newer is how this was going to be. Mileage had to be under 100,000 on the odometer. The selection of desirable cars available for $10k with those limitations to an enthusiast are slim pickings, I tell you.
But there’s more. Had to have heated seats. Had to have leather seats. Not red. Not black. Not white.
I keep looking.
Then, while filtering all my limitations in AutoTrader, I stumbled upon the NC Miata. Huh. She never said anything about four doors.
A few days later I convince her to take a look at a 2007 Miata PRHT (power retractable hard top) on the other side of town. It was red, so we both knew we weren’t going home with it, but at least I was about to get her behind the wheel.
The salesman drove the Miata up to the front parking lot and left us with the keys. I pretended to know all about the car as I pointed out how it’s a convertible that looks like a coupe and how the hardtop gives it added security over a soft top.
We lowered the top and I drove it out of the lot, zipped down the highway and pulled into a CVS off of the main road. She didn’t feel comfortable driving an unknown vehicle for the first time on the highway. Fair enough.
We swapped seats and off we went… except we weren’t.
“I don’t have my glasses.”, she said, as I looked over at her with a puzzled gaze.
She’s trying to get out of it?!
Here we are. Dropped off the kids. Drove across town knowing I needed her to get behind the wheel. And she’s trying to avoid driving it.
I coax her along. “It’s okay, babe”, I replied in a comforting voice. “Let’s just take the small roads here through the neighborhood and show it off to your mom.”
Off we went. Slowly.
“Isn’t driving with the top down, awesome?”, I asked.
“I won’t use it.”, she replied.
Speechless, I pondered in silence.
“How’s it drive?”
“It’s okay. It’s your car. I’ll drive it because I have to.”
Not quite the enthusiasm I was hoping for.
The drive to her parent’s house was silent. She showed it to her mom, and then we left to return to the dealership. I drove it back.
She turned on the stereo on the drive back, cranking it up quite a bit. She’s shy, she thumps electronic beats loudly on her drive to work.
I ask her again on the return trip how she liked the car.
“It’s fine. I’ll drive it.”, was her answer.
Couldn’t tell if we were breaking ground or not.
Later that evening she linked me to a used 2015 Mercedes C300 sedan for $14,000.
That night, while laying in bed, I showed her a silver 2010 MX-5 hardtop for $12,000 on Carvana.
“Too old.”, she answered.
Jokingly, I showed her the cheapest latest generation Miata I could find within reasonable driving distance. A 2016 Mazda Miata Grand Touring in blue with just 40k miles was at a dealership just 30 miles away.
“Oh, I like that.”
“You what? Did you see the price? That’s nearly twenty-two G’s out the door.”
“But it’s newer and less miles. And it has a screen and I can connect my phone.”
“Well, yeah. But that’s nearly double the budget I was planning.”
“I like it, though.”
The wheel of opportunity was spinning in my head.
That weekend we drove up to Ourisman Mazda of Rockville to look at the blue Miata I had showed her. Only problem was that we couldn’t find a sitter for both kids. Our youngest was with us, and my wife didn’t want to drive the car, but she did sit in it, drop the top, crank the stereo and demand I go test drive it.
The 2016 was just fine to drive, but I couldn’t help thinking how I liked the fender arches of the NC better. And, that they were available for a cool fraction of the price. But, hey, if this is the cost of getting my wife a roadster, so be it.
We didn’t drive home in two cars that day. I noted that the car needed an alignment and that the rear view mirror vibrated like crazy while stopped, but was fine once rolling.
A few days later, after heavy negotiations, the 2016 Mazda Miata Grand Touring in Reflex Blue Mica was delivered to our front door with a full tank of fuel.
Modifications, if any, would have to be done with utmost stealth. One of the things I noted was that the Miata didn’t have a backup camera until 2019, but we could install an aftermarket one from Flyin’ Miata that worked the same. She’s already asked me when I’ll do that for her.
This is just the beginning. I’ve warned her that she may receive waves and flashes from other Miata drivers. And she may walk out to her car surrounded by other Miatas. She’s okay with it.
Let’s see how this goes.