I.L. Motorsport
The Miata of the Month from

January 2012

Matt Blakely and the Black Pearl

miatamanfromcali on Miataforum

Congratulations to Matt on the selection of the Black Pearl as the January Miata of the Month!

“Wherever we want to go, we go. That's what a ship is, you know. It's not just a keel and a hull and sails; that's what a ship needs. But what a ship is, what the Black Pearl really is, is freedom.” – Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl”

When I was 14 and got my first job, I already knew I wanted to buy a Miata. I loved the combination of a black exterior with tan leather interior and began saving everything I made to be able to buy it myself. In January 2003, I found her - a 1993 black and tan with 100,000 miles that had been garaged and babied, being sold by the original owner. My dad and I went to test-drive her, and his exact words were “Matt, this car is perfect, you have to buy it.” He had to drive it because I still didn’t have my permit! Even so, I trusted my dad’s judgment and the fun that I had just sitting in the passenger seat for that test drive. For the following three weeks, I was tortured by my car sitting in the garage until I got my driver’s permit. There were a few times I actually went and sat in it while I was doing my homework. Only other Miata nuts like the people reading this will understand why I would do something like that.

It was that same year (2003) that the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out, and one of my sisters had the epiphany when she heard that description that I should name my car the Black Pearl. I loved that movie, my car is black, and that quote is exactly how I would describe what my Miata has been to me – freedom.

I was living in the San Francisco Bay Area at the time and my dad and I once took a road trip down to San Diego. The reason for our trip was not to see the sights of San Diego, however. The real reason why we went was so we could drive all the way back on the Pacific Coast Highway and feel the ecstasy of that twisty road and the gorgeous views of the California coast.

Jinba ittai – it’s a phrase in Japanese that means “oneness between horse and rider.” That’s the award I won at BAMA’s Miatapalooza when I went. I’m not sure how BAMA made the decision, but I think they made the right choice. My car has definitely become part of my identity. When I moved to Boston a few months ago, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since I graduated high school in 2005. Her first question when I saw her – “Do you still have the car?” What a silly question… of course I still have the Black Pearl! Almost 9 years after buying her, and now at 171,000 miles, I hope she’ll keep running quite a while longer.

Through many road trips (including the recent 3000 mile trip from Provo, UT to Boston after graduating from college), a trip to Flyin' Miata's open house and track day, errand runs, commutes, and drives through the canyons, up the mountains, or on the coast just for the sake of driving, the Black Pearl has been a reliable friend and a blast to drive. I couldn’t resist when I saw the license plate frame from Knobmeister – “Happiness isn’t around the corner. Happiness is the corner.” Now I just have to hope that we can make it through a Boston winter. I welcome any tips on how to do that!

Matt Blakely

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