A crowd of Mazda and Miata enthusiasts traveled to Daytona, Florida this past Saturday, for the unique opportunity to sign the millionth Mazda MX-5 Miata produced. This was part of what Mazda calls “a worldwide appreciation tour” which was taking place “to thank fans and owners for their loyalty toward making the MX-5 the best-selling roadster of all time, as well as the torchbearer of pure driving joy.” Being a fan and owner myself, I decided to go to this appearance and document my experiences.
The tour began in Japan, and in August, made its way to the United States. Somehow I missed the news when this tour began, but I recently lucked out hearing about it through a Facebook group that I’m part of. The day began very early. Daytona Mazda, where the event was to take place, would be opening at 8:30am, and the local Miata group that I was traveling with wanted to arrive early. We met up around 6:30am in Tampa. Getting an early start was probably a good idea, what with signing space on the car being limited. Being there early would pretty much guarantee having a spot to sign on the car. I ended up losing everyone on the interstate, but it was good to at least know there were someone I could contact if anything bad happened with the car. This would be my ’95 Miata’s longest trip since the head gasket fiasco three years ago.
The trip there went smoothly with no hiccups from the ’95. I joined the line to fill out a Mazda brand survey and received a commemorative t-shirt along with an armband to show that I had a spot in line to sign the car. Once it was my turn, I got down on the ground and wrote my name below the left side door.
There was a Mazda employee down there to provide a paint pen. He also assisted with taking photos (and probably prevented people from writing dirty jokes or Reddit memes). This millionth Miata is a Japanese market car with right hand drive. The car was gridded off with fine lines of tape, providing many small spaces for people to write their name. On the spaces of the car that were already signed, there appeared to be a coating over the names, possibly a clear coat or a clear vinyl wrap to protect the names.
In addition to the millionth MX-5, the fifteenth was present as well. This was one of the three Miatas shown at the Chicago Auto Show in 1989, when the car originally debuted. That was a show that could be argued to have been the dawn of Japan’s golden era of car design, featuring both the first generation Miata and the first generation Acura NSX.
At Miata meets in central Florida, my experience has typically been that usually there are many first and second generation cars with just a few third generation, and maybe one or two of the new fourth generation. This event actually had a pretty good showing of all four generations and with a variety of tuning and maintaining approaches. Everyone has their own idea of what a Miata should be, and fortunately there are many things that a Miata can be. There was everything from a stock NB equipped with an automatic transmission, to a heavily modified NA with bolt on fenders, to a relatively stock NA that appeared more polished than Mazda’s own car.
Early in the afternoon, I made it home with my ’95 still intact. I’m hoping to have another update article of it’s progress ready soon. Unfortunately right before Hooniverse‘s most recent project car updates, the car started having a sticky parking brake problem which would take a little while to figure out. This caused a scary smoky stop of the side of the road when I thought the car had caught fire. It turned out to just be a sticky rear caliper. Until recently, I hadn’t been able to do much about it, considering the cost of the calipers. Thankfully a couple of weeks back, I was able to obtain two good used rear calipers off of a wrecked ’97, so hopefully I will have more to share about it soon.
If you are interested in seeing the millionth Miata yourself, it’s on its way to Texas next, followed by some dates in Arizona and California. See the linked calendar for the full schedule.
All images © Bryce Womeldurf 2016