|The Monthly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association
|Copyright 2007 - Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - Sacramento, CA 95662
For questions about this website please contact the webmaster
What This Country Needs Is A Good Five Cent Cigar
By Robin George
United States Vice President Thomas Marshall uttered those words in 1917. It was during the tail end of World War I.
Cigars were seen as a sign of high social status. The story goes that the price of Marshall’s favorites had recently gone
Our Miata’s are the automotive equivalent of the good five cent cigar. It is what the country needed seventeen years
ago. The affordable sports car had disappeared. Many of us owned the English or Italian versions during the sixties
and seventies. They disappeared, but Mazda proved that the market was still there.
In fact they went one step better. I always thought that unreliability and oil leaks rivaling the Exxon Valdez were the
way it had to be. Japanese reliability was for folks who saw cars as transportation appliances. Real sports car folks had
to constantly tinker with and balance their toys. When I first saw pictures and descriptions of the Miata in magazines in
the late eighties, I couldn’t wait to get near one. A great, simple sports car that you could actually depend on to get
you where you were going.
When Mazda made two major revisions, I held my breath and hoped they hadn’t compromised the “five cent
cigarness” out of the car. Make it stronger and stiffer if you wish. But do not make it heavier or add things such as
electronic “improvements”. BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes have added complicated and frequently unreliable
electronics to justify ever higher prices. I do not find this stuff desirable, let alone worth any money. I like turning the
control of the air vent, and feeling the mechanical connection to what is happening. I don’t want to press a button
connected to some electrical and/or vacuum contraption.
When car makers have tight cost constraints in the design and build of cars good things can happen. Lots of
unnecessary, unwanted, expensive junk is deleted. The danger of that it seems to be cheap to add fun robbing
weight. It is expensive to cut weight or even maintain it as more airbags and side impact beams are added.
Mazda’s effort to keep weight and cost down is really appreciated. Long live the good five cent cigar.
Treasure Trove News
By Jeanne George
Welcome to new members joining in January
Ron & Linda Moe
Neal & Elaine Mackey
Memberships Expiring on February 1
Bob & Donna Carlson
Kevin & Barbara Chapnick
Dave & Lynn Hellman
Kevin & Carol Twitchell
January Renewed Memberships
Mike & Helen DeLaurentis
JoAnne & Ralph Gingrich
Joe & Carol Rainbolt
Wes & Paula Zicker
Notes From The Webmaster
By Ron Petrich
Our new website hasn't self-destructed yet, so I'm taking that as a good sign that we did something right when we
designed it. It is also averaging about 1200 hits per month so far, and I take that to suggest that some of you like the
site...or that one of you REALLY likes it and logs on about 40 times a day. Regardless, I hope that all of you will come
to me and let me know if you think something is amiss, or there is content that is not there that you would like to see.
I've tried to be responsive and update such things as the member directory and the events list as soon as I receive the
changes. I think I've done pretty well.
Notice that there are quite a few events listed which are hosted by other Miata clubs...SJVMC, BAMA, Delta and so on.
It seems that since the demise of the national Miata club of the past, and with even Mazda USA's diminished role with
clubs, that it is on our shoulders to communicate and cooperate with our fellow Miata enthusiasts in other cities...and
even states (don't forget that Vince Weis is organizing a trek to Utah this summer). I hope that we can continue to
publicize regional events.
Several members have sent me updates to their personal bios on our website. But more than half of our membership
have nothing published. This is a freebie for all of us, and a chance to demonstrate for the community your pride in
your Miata and our club. So don't be shy. Send me some copy and whatever pictures you deem appropriate, and I'll
get them posted forthwith.
Until next month, if you see a mean black convertible in your rearview mirror, its only me pretending that I'm still
driving a Miata.
Hints Stolen Right Off The Miata.net Website
By Jack Parker
Faster throttle response
If you have a slight lag between stepping on the gas pedal and the engine spinning up, you may need to take up the
slack in your throttle cable. The adjustment is simple - about 5 minutes. Email me for the simple instructions if you are
interested but it worked wonders on my autocross car as I dislike slow or sluggish throttle response as I want to be
going as fast as my underpowered car can go through the timing lights.
Droopy air vents on your dash?
Most of the time, you can just press on the center of the vent and the vent will snug up enough to keep it from
drooping. Another solution is to remove the vents and disassemble them, then add a half inch by half inch piece of
electrical tape to the rear half of each "eye ball" and reassemble them.
Droopy air vents II
A more simple fix is to get dime sized "light duty felt blankets" (thin stick on felt pads), point the eyeball down as far as it
goes, and stick the felt pad to bottom of the vent cup. Home Depot and Lowes has plenty of these. The felt side is
covered by the eyball when pointed anywhere but straight down. Voila, fixed!
If you're like us, you probably keep a lot of little items in your center console and a handful of change in your ashtray
for tolls booths and parking meters. If you're like us, it probably drives you nuts when all that junk starts rattling every
time you drive over rough roads. Simple solution: Pick up a square of black self-stick-backed felt from your local
hardware store or fabric store. Tool box shelf liners made of a rubbery material also works fine. Line the inside of the
ashtray and the console storage area. Much quieter and it doesn't look bad either!
Reduce Wind Buffeting
A simple way to reduce wind buffeting while driving your Miata is to raise only the passenger's side window. The effect is
a little more subtle than you want but is does work. This changes the aerodynamics of things so you actually feel less
wind than if the driver's window alone or if both windows are raised. And if your passenger doesn't know about this,
they'll be doing you a favor when they raise their window to keep a bit warmer!
If your trunk lid won't stay raised
You can adjust the tension. The lid tension is determined by the position of the tensioning bars at the rear of the trunk.
There are three "settings", and the Miata comes from the factory preset to the middle setting. You can get a tad more
tension by switching to the higher setting. To change the tension, you need to use a long screwdriver to move the
tension spring on the left side of the trunk to the other position. Be careful! The springs are under high tension!
When was the last time you cleaned your headlights?
It sounds so simple, but how often do you really remember to hit that black button right smack in the middle of the
console to raise the headlights before you wash the car? They can get pretty groty. While you're at it, go around your
car and check to be sure all your bulbs work. Especially the brake lights!
When was the last time you checked the air in your spare tire?
The Miata spare tire is much smaller than a regular tire. As a result, it requires a much higher pressure to hold the weight
of the car. Higher pressure tires tend to lose pressure fairly rapidly. The spare should be pumped to 65psi or it will be
too flat to drive on! Check the air in your spare once a month!
Holiday Lights Tour
By Jeanne George
On Friday, December 8, SAMOA members met at Ron Petrich’s home and were supplied with wine, cider, cheese,
crackers, laughs and fun. Robin and I arrived at Ron’s ready to get into the holiday spirit and found Ron’s home
festively decorated. Ron and Robin talked over the course of action---route trip, which they had emailed back and
forth and Robin had in his GPS finder. Ron used the traditional method: printed instructions.
Members began arriving despite the threat of rain. David Chin had his red Miata decorated with large white reindeer on
each side, complete with red blinking nose. At the 7 pm departure time 22 people headed to their 12 Miatas parked
around Ron’s neighborhood. Ron’s wife, Mary Pat had just returned from a trip from the Bay area just minutes before
our departure and was still willing to join the group. The cars were maneuvered into line and ready to head out.
As all good plans have a failure clause, ours soon raised its ugly head. We agreed to be the sweep car, with Ron leading
and Mike and Helen DeLaurentis with a CB radio in second place. As the cars were lining up, Robin was turning on his
electronic devices: GPS finder to keep Ron on route, his computer for my visual tracking, and the CB for
communication. Then everything went black. In the dark we struggled to get the CB ready to connect with Mike.
Soon the frustration level in the George Miata rose as everyone else was waiting for us to let them know to pull out.
Finally Ron determined enough time passed. Now in the dark, I attempted to read the written directions but there
wasn’t any light in the car. I was looking through the glove compartment for a flashlight, while Robin tried to follow the
group which we kept getting separated from due to other people on the busy streets. Of course the flashlight was
dead. (Note: periodically check your flashlight for working batteries.)
As I was struggling with wires, and Robin grumbling orders, I heard a strange noise. While trying to locate where the
sound was coming from, I realized it was Robin’s cell phone-which he didn’t think was turned on. It ended up being
Mike D calling to find out why we weren’t answering the radio and let us know where the group had turned.
We arrived at the first get-out-and-walk stop. The neighborhood was a bright display of colored lights, music, and
various blowup and animated characters. A new SAMOA member joined us at this location. The group returned to
their Miatas just as the rain began to fall. Mike lent me a flashlight. Meanwhile, back at the car, Robin had given up on
the electrical problem realizing it was a fuse and not the CB or computer.
The rest of the adventure kept me constantly calling Mike’s cell to find out where the group turned, as Ron went off his
own plan. At one point there were 3 different groups floundering all looking for Ron. We managed to mother hen 6
Miatas, and then we passed 3 at the side of the road, which joined us when they saw us go by. We eventually got
reconnected and arrived at the next large light display. At this stop every one got out and was exchanging their “lost”
stories. From that location we headed towards the State Capitol Christmas tree. Robin and I soon found out that city
traffic lights will accommodate 12 Miatas not the 13 we now had in the group. Robin and I mostly saw red Miata
taillights from far away. Just as we caught up, we got the red light again. Then the group headed to an ice cream
Ron chose some very nice light displays for the group to see. It was a nice trip despite our obstacles. Photos can be
found on the website, under Photo Album.
By Ralph Gingrich
This was a good event to repeat and I am glad that Jeanne and Robin did this event. I think it was a good event for
everyone to see the different cars that are in the club. Also we had some different cars to test ride in, Ron’s Honda
2000 and a Corvette. I was glad to get a ride in the Honda because I like that car and I got to ride in it and talk to Ron
about the car, thanks Ron.
The Center Court Restaurant was a good place to finish the run. Food was good and pictures and design is really
different. I have recommended it to some friends. Thanks again to Jeanne and Robin for repeating this event.
“Swapping” SAMOA Style
By Jeanne George
Robin and I started out this year’s event calendar with the Hangover Run, which he initiated in 1999. We also decided
to incorporate “passenger swapping” we did that same year which was a big hit.
The morning of January 6, we were armed with directions and ready to go. The weather was going to be cold but
more importantly dry. The sun was shining, and no fog insight. Shortly after 10 we arrived at the Starbucks location
and already several members were there. Guess they were anxious to get out in their cars. Six people read in the Bee
about the event and showed up to join the group. One young man who was interested in purchasing a Miata decided
this would be a good place to look over cars and see if anyone was selling.
Robin called the group together; 38 people in 21 Miatas, one corvette, and one Honda 2000 (two BOO members had
sold their Miatas and were using alternative vehicles). Robin started introductions, which included many “not usually
seen” members, new people, Kaitlan the newly elected president of BAMA, Graeme president of Delta, and several
people from the San Joaquin Miata club. Often Robin wonders if people ever listen to his speeches. Today he found
out they were listening when he was greeted with laughs as he explained the day’s event. “Today’s run will be a
leisurely drive; nothing spectacular except we have added a twist—every so often we will swap passengers. The first
stipulation is that if you find one you like, you have to let the sweep know you are leaving the group. On the reverse,
please wait until the car stops before you jump out.” At this point, new Events Coordinator, Mario Lavoie, drew out his
wallet and offered various discount cards for hotels. After further instructions, the group headed to their cars. Robin
had arranged with Mike his VP (a job assignment), that during the drive, when there were multiple turn lanes, he
requested Mike to pull along side of us and have the cars double up. This was a great success getting through the
crowed Natomas area. Mike, the ever diligent rule follower remained just a few inches behind Robin so as not to pass
the event leader which is a violation of Event Rules.
At the first “swap stop”, 11 passengers switched to open seats in 15 vehicles. Prior to the second stop, we were
treated to a traffic circle Robin takes his school bus through on a daily basis. We used the bus loading zone for the
swap, much to the amazement of local homeowners, seeing 23 cars in a row and people getting out and switching to
different cars. Wonder what was in their minds! At the third stop, comments included: “that’s my husband’s car, can I
pick another one?” “I rode in that one already, can I pick another number?” Several asked me for Ron’s number 9 so
they could ride with him. After several more swap stops, 23 vehicles followed a hay truck going 20 mph to the last
stop. It was a fire station parking lot which allowed the vehicles to pull in rows of four (pictures are on the website).
People were told to return to their original vehicle, to which groans were heard. From there it was a short drive
through heavy traffic to the Center Court Restaurant.
We arrived to find that the VIP room had been setup as one long table instead of the individual tables of four which
Robin and I had arranged with the Opening Manager in early December. I talked to the waitress and she indicated she
would provide food tickets per couple. She came back and told me her manager said she couldn’t do that, it would be
one bill for the whole room. I asked to speak to the manager, which soon became a heated discussion between him
and me. I told him the original Manager’s arrangement and that we didn’t ask for the tables to be put together. I told
him to seat our group out on the main floor, at which time he wasn’t happy with me at all. I told him one bill wasn’t
going to work. I think he saw the potential of our group leaving. He asked us if we would be willing to leave the room,
allow his staff to move the tables, and then bring our group back in. Robin asked the group which all agreed. The
food that we had was good and I heard many positive comments from other people. (For others planning an event
meal make sure you keep the name of the person and their business card that you make arrangements with, this
How Rolls-Royce Cars Became Famous
By Adi Damania
Everyone knows Rolls-Royce cars grew from the electrical and mechanical business established by Henry Royce in
1884. Royce built his first motor car in 1904 and in May of that year met Charles Rolls, whose company sold quality
cars in London. Agreement was reached that Royce Limited would manufacture a range of cars to be exclusively sold
by C.S. Rolls & Co. – they were to bear the name Rolls-Royce. Success with the cars led to the formation of the Rolls-
Royce Co. in March 1906 and to the launch of the six-cylinder 50 hp Silver Ghost which, within a year, was hailed as
'the best car in the world'. However, this success only meant that the car was popular, but its real fame as an
automobile for the powerful, rich and the royalty is because of its association with the Maharajas of India.
In 1907, an Englishman with business in trading with India brought the first Silver Ghost Roll-Royce to the Indian
shores. The car was dubbed as the “Pearl of the East” (yes, they did give cars names in those days too). The first
motor car had appeared on the roads of Bombay in 1901. Up to that time the cars imported were largely unreliable,
broke down often due to the heat, and hardly faster than a carriage drawn by two horses. Hence the Indians were all
eager to see the performance of this new marquee Rolls-Royce which made its debut.
The “Pearl of the East” participated in the 400-mile reliability trials that were conducted from Bombay to Kolhapur
traversing six mountain passes and various types of terrains that included unpaved roads and sometimes no roads at
all. The Rolls performed brilliantly where other makes failed. After winning several awards, the car was sold to the
Maharaja of Gwalior (a small state in central India), H.H. Madho Rao Scindia. That did it. Now every other Maharaja (of
which India had plentiful) had to have one, and Silver Ghosts with flamboyant bodies were ordered from England. By
the time King George V was crowned King Emperor of India in 1911, Rolls-Royce was already established as a car to be
seen in all over India. And the rich and the famous thronged its showrooms. In the same year, following the import of
several cars for the Durbar at Delhi, a sales and repair shop was opened inside the Fort at Bombay.
A certain J. Inman Emery generated even more publicity for RR by touring from Bombay all the way up to Kashmir, a
distance of more than 2000 miles in a 1910 Silver Ghost with coachwork by Barker and named the “Jewel of Asia”. The
visit in November 1921 of the Prince of Wales (father of the present Queen Elizabeth II) to India, resulted in the import
of dozens of new RRs as each Maharaja vied with the other to impress the British would-be-monarch. The Maharaja of
Patiala, H.H. Bhupinder Singh, outdid them all by having no less than 44 Rolls Royces in his stables at the time of his
death in March 1938! *
With independence from the British in 1947 and the socialistic government coming to power in India, the Maharajas
were persuaded to merge their kingdoms in to the Republic of India in exchange for generous ‘privy purses’ or an
annual dole from the Government. However, these ‘privy purses’ were no way even near to the income the Maharajas
enjoyed from taxes and ownership of vast lands. They could no purchase anymore RRs let alone maintain those that
they had. As RR closed its showrooms and packed up its repair facilities in the early 50s, almost all the RRs were either
sold to businessmen or rusted away in their garages. Today, after nearly 50 years, with the re-emergence of India as
country with a global reach, especially in information technology, and the abandonment of socialism in favor of
capitalism, Rolls Royce has re-opened his showroom in Bombay and the buyers are not Maharajas anymore but the
sultans of dot coms and captains of industry.
It was this royal patronage of the Maharajas of India in the early part of the last century that made a name of Rolls
Royce as the only car for the Royalty to be seen in even to this day. Alas, today Rolls Royce Car Co. owned by BMW
and no longer has Rolls Royce hand-made car engines have ceased production.
* Although the Indian cult guru Bhagwan Rajneesh had over 100 RRs before he was deported in 1987 from his ranch
near Antelope, Oregon by the U.S. immigration authorities, they were all purchased for him by his admirers as they
liquidated their assets to please him and join his ‘ashram’ where it is rumored pot and debauchery ruled.