Reader Question: Miatas?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Gilbert asks: I heard you on George Gammon’s show (here) and I thought you might be the perfect person to ask about recommending a car for me. I am 80 years old in perfect health and only need a car to run around town. I was thinking of maybe a Miata since my favorite car to drive was a new 1964 Triumph TR4 which I enjoyed until my daughter could not fit in the rear seat. I put less than 5K miles A year now. I have a budget of about $15,000.

My reply: I summon the words of Max von Sydow’s  King Osric in Conan the Barbarian: What audacity! What impudence! I salute you!  I hope I have such life left in me when I reach 80 – assuming I do reach it!

A Miata is just the ticket for revisiting your ’64 TR4 – with the perk of being as reliable as the sunrise and just as durable. These being part of the reasons for the fierce love so many people – me among them – feel for these cars. They combine the emotional appeal of an old British sports car with the practicality, low cost/high gas mileage of a modern Toyota Corolla – excepting as regards passengers.

What you have heard – probably – about people weekend racing them and then driving them to work during the week is absolutely true. A friend of mine does it and I have known many others who do it.

I cannot say enough in praise of them and expect you will join me once you own one. Your budget should easily enable you to find one in the 6-8 years old range and maybe even younger. But don’t sweat years – or miles. See above re durability. Unless a given example has been subjected to deliberate abuse it is very hard to go wrong with one.

My only specific recommendation is to find one with the six speed (which was optional) until a few years ago. The five speed is fine, but the six is finer!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Any well-kept version should suit you well. Don’t let high mileage scare you off, if you do regular maintenance they will run forever. And, if and when you do need something the community is nationwide with aftermarket support.

    When you get your Miata you might want to check out your local Sports Car Club of America chapter and see if they do autocrosses. It’s done in large parking lots against the clock around traffic cones, you’ll have a blast.

  2. Remember, Miata stands for Miata Is Always The Answer

    I still remember test driving an NC during my learning stick days and how pleasant and fun it was, and also all the ones driving around this time of year.

    Any gen is solid, its just a matter of what you can afford and whats available. Eitherway, can’t go wrong, get one and enjoy it!


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