Moss Miata
The Miata of the Month from

May 2009

Desmond Wright and his 1994 R with a mysterious past

Congratulations to Desmond on the selection of his Miata as the May Miata of the Month!

Fellow readers, I need your help to gather information on Miata history.  I have tried to contact Mazda with no success.

I first purchased my 1994 Red Mazda Miata “R” in February 1995 with 8,001 miles on the odometer.  The car was stock with the exception of air conditioning and the factory “Mark Jordan” designed racing stripe.  I was told when purchasing the vehicle that this car was an original Mazda “Press Car.”

Printed on a label inside the door it states that my Miata was manufactured 12/93. I ran a CARFAX and it states that it was shipped to Mazda 1/10/94 and became a fleet car 1/15/94 thru 1/27/94 when it had a title issued. My Miata was then auctioned on 6/28/1994 by Auto Auction, Pacific SW Region with 1,756 miles on the odometer.  The next title change was at 8,001 when I purchased the vehicle. Is there anyone out there that might be able to help me in my quest to fill in the early history of this vehicle?

My story begins with the sale of two British sports cars, a Morgan and a Mini Countryman, both of which I was restoring.  Burned out on my dual restoration projects and having sold both, I began my search for an affordable, more practical modern sports car.   I was well aware of the Miata’s reputation and with my fondness for the Lotus Élan, I decided to purchase a Miata.  I live in Sacramento, California, where I visited our local Mazda dealer.  I looked at a “Special” and also saw an “R” model on their lot, which I immediately fell in love with.  However, I was unable to make a deal with them and left the lot disappointed.  

As we passed another car lot on our way home, my wife pointed out what she thought was a Lotus Élan, red with a white racing stripe and a “For Sale” sign in the window.  I immediately recognized it as a Miata, but had never seen one with the racing stripe.  We stopped to take a look.  The car belonged to another couple shopping at the lot looking for a new car.  It seems that the wife had bought the car on impulse because it “looked nice” but was having difficulty with the lack of power steering and the hard suspension.  They‘d purchased the car that had been sold at auction.  They were told that the reason it was sold at auction was that it had been a Mazda “Press Car.”  When they bought it, the Miata it had only 1,756 miles on the odometer.  I was a bit leery of the car’s use as a “Press Car,” but it seemed in good condition, had low mileage, and was still on warranty, so I bought it from them.

I drove the Miata a few times to the vintage car races at Laguna Seca Raceway and parked the car in the Miata corral.  On one occasion there, I met Jay Leno who was visiting the corral.  I used to leave Sacramento at 4:30 a.m. with the top down and drive for 3 ½ hours, spend the day at the track, and return by 8:00 p.m. with no fatigue.  The Miata was such a pleasure to drive. A few years earlier I had driven one of my Morgans to Lafayette, about 200 miles roundtrip from Sacramento.  Upon returning, I parked the Morgan and would not even look at it for two week’s because I was so exhausted from the drive.

In November of 1997, the fellow who had bought my Morgan called to tell me that he had just sold the car.  I asked him what he was going to buy next.  He said that all his friends were driving Miatas and that he had begun to look for one himself. I needed to buy a new family car, so I said I might be willing to sell him my car. I sold him the car, and he was as happy as a clam, but I felt like I had sold an old friend.  At this point in time the car had only 22K miles.  

I got occasional calls from my friend telling me of his exploits in the Miata.  Then one day in March 2005, he called telling me he was going to sell the car and asking me if I wanted to buy it back.  I thought it over for a while. I was nearly 60 years old, and this was not the smoothest riding car, but I missed it.  I drove down to Modesto, where my friend lives.  Parked and cloaked in a blue car cover in his five-car garage was my still near mint-condition Garage Queen.  She had only 33K miles on the odometer, my friend had driven her an average of only 1,300 miles a year.  Backing the car out of the driveway, I was instantly reminded that the car did not have power steering, but on the drive home I remembered why I had liked the manual steering so much.

I still drive to the vintage car races at Infineon Raceway (Sears Point), which is not as far away and is a lot more affordable than the races at Laguna Seca.  I also enjoy driving to local British car events.  I recall the time I had just parked and covered my Miata at an All British meet in Dixon.  I couldn’t help smiling when I overheard a passerby comment that he would never buy a Miata but that he would love to own a Lotus Élan like mine.

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