Well, I've done gone and done it. I bought a "new" MX-5.
Way back in March of 2006, I test drove a new MX-5 on a lazy Saturday. There's a dealership near my parents' house and a fairly high speed twisty road not far off (I'm talking about 2222, for those of you who know Austin). Of course, I headed straight down that road. I fell in love with the handling of the car nearly right away. The better top and other updates to the car only made it more desirable to me.
My car of the time was the one pictured in this icon - a '94 M Edition, supercharged. The guys who built the supercharger for that car were planning on designing one of the NC. With all the various improvements to the NC, I decided I'd rather restart on one of those than continue work on my car. It didn't help that my car was running into lots of "old car" and "poorly maintained car" problems (the owner for the first ~9 years of its life is unknown, as is the maintenance in the time period).
But, I procrastinate. There was a lot to worry about. I had to budget and see if I could afford the new car while paying off my student loans. I had to figure out what on earth I was going to do with my supercharged monster. And so I just kind of moped along, doing pieces here and pieces there, but not really getting very far.
I stop by my mechanic's shop fairly frequently. They're pretty close to my workplace and I enjoy chatting with them. So, one day, I'm idly mentioning that I want one of those new MX-5s, again, and yet again mentioning that I'd like a Nordic Green one. And by this point in time, I probably wasn't going to be able to get one new, because it was nearly 2007 and they weren't making '07s in Nordic Green and all the Nordic Greens, especially the ones with the options I wanted, disappeared from dealer lots quickly. The mechanic I was lamenting at, John, mentioned that he has an MX-5 that he'd kind of like to sell.
This MX-5 is the one they bought to be the experimental supercharger car. But, the attempts at designing a supercharger for it fell though - the relationships needed with the various other shops just didn't manage to stay in place. So, since John is no longer developing parts on this car, it's no longer a source of income for him, and since he has kids, it's not really the kind of car he wants to buy for himself.
Buuuut... One of the other mechanics at the shop, Dan, was planning to autocross the car this season. He'd bought various parts for it, including a set of custom wheels with slicks mounted. He didn't want the car to just disappear out from underneath him.
It seemed to me that the obvious solution was for me to buy the car and allow Dan to continue to race it. He had switched from planning to run SM2 to CSP. I'd been driving a not-so-competitive SM2 car as a daily driver for quite some time and was tiring of it, but CSP would be a lot more livable. He outlined what he needed from the car and I suspect it will be tolerable for me.
This seemed great from my point of view - I get exactly the MX-5 I want, with the mods I'd like to be able to put on it, for cheaper than if I had bought it new (and a lot cheaper than buying it new and getting the mods installed later). John loved it, because he no longer had to make a car payment on the car. And Dan... Well, I think Dan's happy with it. I think both he and I are still a bit worried about how we'll work around him racing my daily driver, especially since he'll need the car on some days when I'll still need transportation to get to work. But there are a lot of ways we can work around this issue, and I'm confident we can find a solution that will leave us both happy.
But there's another complication. Though John was actually paying for the car, the car/loan/whatever wasn't legally in John's name. Dan's wife was the legal owner. So though we'd worked out how Dan could continue to race the car with me buying it, we hadn't actually worked out me buying the car. I had to manage to coordinate that with Dan's wife, who has a very busy work schedule, and that nearly fell through because John hadn't paid for the registration on the car for '07, and the car can't be sold with expired registration!
Still, today we signed all the paperwork and I went to get my 2006 Mazda MX-5, Grand Touring with the Premium and Suspension packages, with aftermarket intake, exhaust, flywheel, and suspension, in Nordic Green. I was so very happy.
But I didn't get to drive it home. This weekend is an autocross, and Dan has a front swaybar he wants to install. He also needs to get the coolant running back through the heater again so I'll have a usable heater for those days when I insist on driving to work in nearly freezing weather with the top down (he knows me well). And so I left the car at the shop with him. I won't see it again until it's time to race on Sunday (but you better BET I'm racing it).
As if that wasn't confusing enough, remember that supercharged 1994 Miata I mentioned at the beginning of the post? Well, I needed to figure out something to do with it. This, itself has its own set of complexities. You see, my mother loved driving that car when it was stock, but she hates the supercharger and she hates the ACT clutch that's on it for the sake of the supercharger. But, while my mother loves to drive, she has no fun cars to drive - all she owns are Camrys. I would love to find a way to get her a Miata, and giving her mine seems like a fairly easy way to get her one. Only mine has all of these fiddly aftermarket bits that she would hate. It just happens that while I was taking to John about that Nordic Green Miata, another person in town decided he wanted a built engine + supercharger + all the goodies for his
NA Miata. John and Dan pointed him toward me, knowing I wanted to get those parts out of my car and get my car back to stock. And so the guts of my supercharged Miata are going into his car.
So far, all of this mess... This Melrose Place of cars, as my boyfriend has called it, has worked out fairly well. Yeah, there have been a few snags, but they've all been overcome with a minimum of effort. I'm hoping Dan and I will settle into a routine for dealing with him racing my daily driver that will make this autocross season run smoothly. In time, I'll get to see if I've gotten myself into a mess, or if we've managed to find a good solution.