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The MX-5 Miata of the Month from

June 2004

Brian "CowMan" Chaulk

Congratulations to Brian on the selection of his Miata as the June Miata of the Month!

My love affair with the Miata began when I was 16. A bald man in a blue 1st-gen. lightly tripped through a corner without slowing down atall, as I was walking home. It struck me in an odd way and it was then that I resolved to get one.

Fast forward, 19, finished high school. Started working in the late summer. My place of work was 5-6 km away, which I walked or biked but certainly it seemed I was not doing so in the snow. I needed car; which now, I could afford.

Upon seeing an ad for a BRG Miata, low km's, full records, within my price range, I hopped on the phone; grabbed my buddy Tom, and drove 5 hours to see it. It was bought on first glance... it didn't seem to matter to me that it was white in the trunk or under the hood; or how bald the tires were; nore did I notice the clutch was near gone. I had found *my* Miata.

At the time I was living in Ontario. So, my parents dropped me off, I paid for her, picked up some plates, and drove 'er home. I pretty much taught myself how to drive a manual transmission on that worn clutch over the course of the next three months.

Since then, its seen its fair share of use and abuse. Its a 1990 and every idiosyncracy of the early cars has indeed struck mine - the 65mph shimmy, the 'stuck-in-reverse' problem, etc. My philosophy with mods: if it breaks, I want the best I can afford to replace it. After the 2nd clutch burnt out (due to a few people learning to drive on my car and a fair amount of 'abuse'), in went the ACT Xtreme pressure plate/organic disc. And when the exhaust started rattling, a Flyin' Miata dual-exhaust setup w/free-flow cat went on. Or when one of the rear brake calipers siezed, they were replaced with the larger rear brakes from a 1998 and slotted rotors with braided-steel lines. Best thing ever done for the Miata though is tires - Kumho Ecsta whatevers in the summer and Nokia Hakapellita whatevers for the snow. The shift knob is a Voodoo, o' course (titanium! mmm).

Since purchase years ago, the car has seen, on average, 91-96km/day. A lot of roadtrips, and a bit of craziness. Its been in the garage so the top can go down on a cold winters morn., driven through the snow in the worst of conditions, and carried as many as 6 people at a time. I've slept behind the seats with the top up and carried a bottle or two shy of 17 dozen beer, ladders work well sticking up from the passengers seat, and anything can be strapped to the rear deck with the top down.

Some might find this treatment horrendous, I would've before I owned 'er. I do, as well, fully appreciate the responsiveness and nimbleness of the machine. I have a hard time driving all those other mushyclutched slushboxes when I cannot be driving my little ragtop. Dropping the top and hitting up the back-country as the leaves change, or on a cool springs evening, or even sitting in a black interior on the hottest day of the year, there is a spiritualistic feeling to driving a Miata unequalled by anything else short of a Lotus or motorcyle.

Last fall I made the move from Ontario to Newfoundland to attend university. The trip took many, many diversions and clocked another 6,000km on the odometer. Despite the heavily loaded condition of the car (between myself and my passenger Joe, our combined wieghts exceeded the max. recommendation on the door. :), the only concern was a couple of tires that wore a bit faster than expected. This winter is its first winter away since 1993, and I eagerly await the summer - there are a few road trips already planned. S!

Brian "CowMan" Chaulk
St. John's, Newfoundland

This one is from a road trip to Kingston. So much snow came under the hood from the road that my passenger complained their feet where cold, even with the heat. Shortly before pulling in for gas the alternator light started to blink on and off - I originally thought it was just the belt slipping, but when I popped the bonnet to check for oil, the snow was to the hood on the intake side and was physically stopping the alternator. By the time I had got the camera, a fair amount of the snow had already been removed.

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