MiataTudes
The Monthly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association
www.sacramentoareamiata.org
Copyright 2007 - Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - Sacramento, CA 95662

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Expressing Thank You
By Robin & Jeanne George

Robin and I wish to thank all of the members offering your condolences on the recent death of Robin’s father in Florida.  

We especially want to thank Helen and Mike DeLaurentis for taking over the responsibility of the February meeting.  We were
notified during the two minute warning of the Super Bowl game.  It is always a very trying experience when you are notified of a
family member failing.  Add to that experience trying to coordinate air travel, hotel, car rental, time off work, and fast packing.  We
also needed to get all the stuff for the February 8th meeting to Mike and let him know he would need to take over Presidential
duties.  Helen was great about accommodating Robin dropping the stuff off.   The one comforting fact we knew, was that Mike
would step up and take charge.  They covered my usual duties of setting things up at Coco’s plus we added a request to present
silk roses to the members which Robin had purchased.  

We had to cancel the President’s Run, which we will reschedule when we are able to do it.  I called the restaurant owner to let
him know the group would not be coming.  I contacted Ron Petrich and asked him to cover the financial responsibilities for me.  He
collected the raffle money and deposited it with the bank.  Thank you, Ron.

Mario, we apologize to you for not getting the canceled event information to you.  When you updated your email address we failed
to update our SAMOA group list.  

Thank you also to Joanne and Ralph Gingrich.  We understand they stepped forward and planned an event to give members
something to do the date of our postponed event.  

As a side note, traveling on less that 24 hour notice with the airlines “sucks”.  We were tagged as high security risks.  My artificial
knees always trigger my personal search, but we weren’t prepared for the greater search of Robin and our carry items.  I think the
security guy was captivated by how much electronic equipment Robin got in that backpack.  Plus, why would anyone need so many
items?  About 20 minutes later, with all his gear laying on the counter the security guy walked away, leaving Robin trying to repack
everything.  

Again, thank you very much.


Web Site Doings
By Ron Petrich

I have been maintaining our site for almost three months now, and things seem to be going well.  I usually try to post any additions
and/or updates within 24 hours of my receiving them, and I think I have pretty much met that goal.  If not, or if you sent me
something and its not reflected on the site, by all means let me know.

Just a few reminders…  If you are a SAMOA member and you want to have your profile (short article and pictures) posted on the
site, its easy to do.  Simply send me an email with your text either in the body of the email or attached as a Word file, and some
jpeg photos (the larger the better), and I’ll get create a special page just for you.  There will even be a link from the membership
listing to your bio.  More and more members seem to be doing this, and it just enriches the site.

Passwords…  There seems to be a little bit of confusion about our password policy.  A password is www.sacramentoareamiata.org is
only used for two areas of the site.  It is the same password for both areas, and it changes on the first of each month.  The
password is needed to view this page, MiataTudes, and is also required to view the detailed membership directory – that link is on
the membership page.  And to further secure the detailed membership list, those members that have specifically asked NOT to be
included in this list are not.  Of course, the downside to that decision is that other club members cannot contact them as easily –
but we respect your decision to be excluded nonetheless.  One final note on passwords… to view Miatatudes you need to enter a
user id in addition to the monthly password.  That user id is the word member… and this term never changes.  On the first of each
month I send the new password to all members via email.  Please look for this message from me at this time, and write down the
password for future reference.

Photo Albums…  We have plenty of space to display your photos taken on SAMOA outings and other club’s events.  Please email
them to me wherever and whenever you have them.

Favorite links…  If you have a favorite Miata or other car-related website that you think may be of interest to your fellow SAMOANs,
by all means let me know, and I’ll add it to our links page.

Finding our site…  Last month ownership of our old web address passed back to the club.  Now, when you type www.samoa.org in
your browser, you will be automatically sent to our new site.

That’s about it for now.  Hopefully I’ve given you some impetus to send me some information, pictures or links which will make our
site just a little bit better.


Membership News and Miscellaneous
By Jeanne George

This year the SAMOA family welcomes eight new memberships which include eleven new members.  Russell Smith, Jarrett Tamaye,
Tak Auyeung, Ron and Linda Moe, Neal and Elaine Mackey, Brenda Murray, Anthony Ricamara, and George and Pat McIntyre.  
Several have already attended events like the Hangover Run Passenger Swap and the Super bowl Run.  We look forward to
meeting each one of you at club meetings or future events.  This time of the year tends to be slow but will increase soon as
weather becomes a little more predictable.  

New people are getting the information about our club from numerous sources.  The most obvious is the new website which Ron
Petrich developed and is maintaining.  The website has had over 2500 hits since it was released to the public in December.  He is
very prompt in adding new membership information and updating current member address and email changes when he receives
them from Fran and me.  When he is notified about new events or changes in existing events, he is quick to make the
corrections.   Thank you Ron, for providing this service to the club.

All of this being done while he is putting together the SAMOA sponsored Gut Guts II at Thunderhill scheduled for April 23.  So far
this year, Ron has collected $6700 from driver fees, raffle ticket sales and sponsorships for the charitable event for the Crohn’s and
Colitis Foundation of America.  After track costs, all proceeds of this event go to the charity.  Last year a check for $10,050.50 was
presented to a representative of the foundation.  At the March and April general meetings, I hope you will consider purchasing
raffle tickets for this event.  Ron has accumulated many prizes which are listed on the website.   Let’s all do our part to make this
another great SAMOA sponsored event.  In addition, there are still spots for drivers for this event, details and requirements can be
found at www.thunderhill.com

Another source reaching the membership is our Event Coordinator, Mario Lavoie.  He has been sending informational emails
regarding events and meetings.  In addition, Mario keeps the Sacramento Bee car club events person notified of upcoming events.  
We have seen numerous new people from this effort.  If you are not getting the information, contract Secretary, Fran Rowell, you
may have changed your email address and not informed her.

Another source of information is YOU.  You can help to get the word out to Miata owners by using the colored “Miata tags” located
on a table at the monthly club meeting.  If you see a Miata without a SAMOA decal on it, tag it with the information.  Several
members have brought in new people with this program.  

Miata Dealerships are another source of new membership.  Last year’s Dealer Representative, Rod Gonzales sold his Miata while
preparing to purchase a new home.  For now his attention is directed towards those “new home owner details”.  If you would be
interested in representing SAMOA to the Dealerships, please contact any of the current Board of Officers.  

As a last note, the Board of Officers are in the process of organizing the SAMOA 17th Birthday celebration.  It will be held at the
Windwalker Winery on Sunday, September 30.  More details will be posted on the website as they are determined.


Treasure Trove News
By Jeanne George

WELCOME to new members joining in February
Anthony Ricamara
George and Pat McIntyre

Memberships Expiring on March 1
Peggie Cathie
Adi and Parvin Damania
Steve Hartzell
Ed and Chris Long

February Renewed Memberships
Kevin & Carol Twitchell


Who Does What
By Fran Rowell

A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.   The wife said, "You should do it
because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee.   The husband said, "You are in charge of
cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee."  His wife replies, "No, you
should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."  Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me."  
So she fetched the Bible, and opened the New Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says...
"HEBREWS" .


Hardtop Headaches
Adi Damania

As soon as we can afford a red or silver MazdaSpeed Miata with a retractable power hard-top, we are getting one pronto! Having
said that, readers may be wondering what grouse do we have with the nice blue hard-top that came with our 1999 10th
Anniversary Miata “Blue Belle”? Issues we have plenty, apart from the fact that I have to beg my ever-busy wife to help me to load
or remove the damn thing! And I do not like to be under anyone’s obligation(s). In fact I like to be on the top of things! (wink,
wink).

The latches that hold the hard-top with the rest of the car always de-latch at the most odd moments, especially when we are
tooting along on a rather rough road or one with a generous supply of pot holes, the latter most probably due to lack of funds with
CalTrans. At one point this year, soon after we had mounted the hard-top at the start of winter or the lack of dry sunny days,
whichever comes first, poor Parvin had to in place both latches on the passenger side while I did my best to steer the car away
from on-coming traffic! Mazda may have applied the “Kansei Engineering” philosophy to the Miata (the driver and car as one cyborg
being), but they certainly messed up the removable hard-top design on mine! In fact, it could have easily been “Kung Foo
Engineering” as far as we are concerned!

Which brings us to our last and biggest grouse with our hard-top. Every thing is tickety-boo till we hit 90 mph. Then it screams like
a banshee! And the noise gets louder and louder as the speed increase beyond that (we have not gone more than 110 mph,
ever). It seems there is a very fine gap between the front of the hard-top and the upper frame of the windshield. I do not know
how to solve this problem? Could applying white garage-door grease to the rubbers while mounting the hard-top provide an
answer? Or remove the rubber tubing altogether? Or, take the line of least resistance, and not go over 80 mph at all? Some of you
Miatistos will say “Why does he have to go so damn fast?! It is illegal anyway anywhere!” But when the open road beckons it is
difficult to resist.

Little sports cars can be described with adjectives like sporty, fast, cute, elegant, etc. But, which parameters influence these
impressions? Kansei Engineering can show to what extent product attributes (e.g., the suspension, the gear ratio and the engine
power) have an effect on these impressions. Kansei engineering is a tricky concept for a Westerner to understand. It has something
to do with being thoughtful and aware, of maintaining a high degree of sensitivity to all the parts as they work and come together
to become a whole. Does the power retractable hard-top on the 2007 Miata remain true to the quirks of the 2-seater British
roadster on which the original Miata back in 1989 was based? Or has the Miata, like the Ford Thunderbird, become too fat and cozy
for its own good! I let you be the judge.

CC: To Bob Hall, Product Planner of the original Mazda Miata design team in California. Bob is currently, or should I say conveniently,
living and working in Australia as editor of “Wheels” magazine. But Takao Kijima, who was largely responsible for the 1999 change to
generation II Miata, should be made aware of his design flaw! Kijima now says, in an exclusive interview to Miatatudes, Kansei
underscores every aspect of the design, mechanical functions, and dynamic responses of the 1999 Miata. Together they contribute
to driving satisfaction, something critical for this car. But he did not mention the hard-top. May be we should get rid of the hard-
top, hoist, pulley, stand, cover and all lock-stock-and-barrel, as it still remains our headache. Bah! Another trip to the poker table at
the Cache Creek Casino!


Datsun 2000 – The Little Roadster That Could
By Adi Damania

The Datsun 2000 roadster was the Japanese version of a traditional open British roadster in the MG or Triumph mode. It came to
the U.S. more than two decades before the Miata. Even then, the car was considered a more mechanically reliable breed than
those from the little island across the pond. By the time production ended in 1970 nearly a hundred thousand of these utilitarian
but reliable and rugged little open sports cars were on the road all over the world.

The Datsun 2000 began life in 1965 as a 1600, being the improved version of the earlier “Fairlady” 1500 roadster (the Japanese
were always at a loss for words when it came to naming cars until recently). In 1967, the 5-speed manual fully synchronized
transmission Datsun 2000 was introduced to the U.S. Only five cars were manufactured initially with engines running on twin solex
carburetors through which 150 bhp @ 6000 RPM was obtainable from four cylinders with a compression ratio of 9.5 to 1 and an
OHC. The rest of the cars (including this 1969 example- see photo) had twin Hitachi-SU carburetors which developed 135 bhp @
6000 RPM and maximum torque was available at 138 lbs/foot @ 4800 RPM. The tachometer was red-lined at 7000 RPM but the
engine was not as free revving as some Italian sports cars of the day and hence the maximum allowable engine rpm was seldom
reached. The car felt rigid during acceleration, i.e., more like an old Volvo than a FIAT.

According to a road test of a Datsun 2000, reported in the Sports Car Graphic magazine of December 1967, 0-60 mph came in 9.8
secs (not quick but adequate for those days), and a respectable top speed of 125 mph. The minimum and maximum speeds in the
five gears were as follows: 1st 0-44 mph, 2nd 16-71, 3rd 18-100, 4th 24-125, and 5th 32-125. It was interesting to note that even
with a tall 5th gear the car could still achieve top speed albeit after a greater length of time than in 4th. The gear ratios were as
follows: first 2.957, second 1.858, third 1.311, fourth 1.000, and fifth 0.852. Fuel consumption was 27 MPG on A-type roads.

The car was priced at US $2,999 in 1967 which was not cheap. The presence of two head rests on the seats distinguish the 1969
and 1970 models from earlier ones. The RHD Japanese version was also offered with a factory hardtop. Unfortunately, production
ceased after 1970 and the following manufacturing figures were given by Datsun:

Datsun Fairlady 1500 total L.H.D. for U.S.                 3148
                   total L.H.D./R.H.D. (other)         6906

Datsun 1600 roadster total L.H.D. for U.S.                23609
                   total L.H.D./R.H.D. (other)        31400

Datsun 2000 roadster total L.H.D. for U.S.                11800
                   total L.H.D./R.H.D. (other)        15006

                                 Total                91869

According to the Sports Car Graphic magazine the five pros and cons of the Datsun 2000 were: Pros: Performance, Gearbox,
Handling, Cockpit, and Fuel Economy. And the cons were: Harsh ride, Canvas Top leaks, Small Thin Tires, Workmanship/Material, and
Rear Suspension.  The present car pictured is a 1969 model with 163,650 miles currently on the odometer, the engine having
undergone a major overhaul once. Parts are generally available but very expensive now.

Driving impressions...

Around 1995 I came across a Japanese enthusiast in Davis who had restored the car. Passing myself off as a automotive journalist, I
took several pictures of the silver sports car, and he even accompanied me for a test drive. The car started first time without choke
on a hot, sunny, Sunday morning in July. After a short warm up period the first gear was engaged and the car leaps out of the
curb. The acceleration was not as heady as an Alfa Romeo 2000 spyder (that I had tried out in Rome, Italy) or the modern Miata,
but the strong torque (much like my 1983 Mazda 929 Sports Coupe) made up for it. The ride was harsh with bumps being felt
liberally as rail tracks were crossed on the way to the Richards Blvd. on-ramp. The engine also seemed rough although the idle at
the traffic light was smooth.

The 60 mph cruising speed was quickly reached on the Interstate-80 between Davis and Vacaville (I did not want to risk attention
of the law in someone else’s car). The engine felt rough at high rpm and the noise was considerably more than our 1994 ex-Miata
“HiHoney”, the marquee that is favorite of all Californian open sport car lovers for the last 18 years. With no rain clouds in sight the
leaky hood could not be verified. The exhaust note was nothing to write home about, being almost identical to a normal Datsun
(now Nissan) sedan of the 70s. The temperature gauge stayed on normal throughout the hour-long outing and oil pressure was
strong. Although a small AM radio and analog clock were offered as standard, no air conditioning, cruise control, or power steering
was available, and you can forget about ABS and automatic transmission. The car stopped with authority without booster (servo)
on a front discs and rear drum combo.

Epilogue...

This car was identical in concept to the Mazda Miata MX-5, except unlike the latter, it did not possess such modern refinements.
The Miata now costs around $26,000 in its basic form, whereas, almost 40 years ago, an almost similar driving experience could be
had for just $ 3,000. It now enjoys an almost cult following. Please see also:
http://www.datsun.org/fairlady/


Three Chips and a Dip
By Jack Parker

It came to my attention a while back, after financing most of my autocross car on Ebay, that there are a number of ways to
"creatively" make my car go faster.  Ebay, you see, is just jammed with miraculous and dare I say cheap ways to get "guaranteed"
additional horsepower out of my trusty car.  A couple of years ago, there began an item that virtually made every car faster.  And
therein lies a story.  To quote Phil Mickelson again, "I feel like such an idiot".

While searching the Ebay site for used Miata go-fast goodies, I came across the ultimate come on.  "DO YOU NEED EXTRA HORSE
POWER FOR YOUR MAZDA MIATA?  You just have to love something like that.  Who wouldn't?  And to my amazement, the little
go fast item was only going to cost me $4.99 shipped, mind you, SHIPPED!  What a deal.  And instructions to boot.  Incredible and
I was going to be faster and no one would know the secret to my success.  Well, low and behold, "What a deal!!!  Save Fuel &
Increase Horse Power" came along and of course how could anyone resist this.  This chip was a little more expensive.  But we wont
go into that.  It's going to make me secretly faster and SAVE GAS!  Awesome.

So the experiment was on.  The plan was simple.  Install these items and win every race and save gas as well.  So one Sunday in
Stockton, I brought my chips with me with the intention of testing the go-fast items.  The first run was made.  I figured that the
first run was a tire warmer and could just be used for practice.  The second run was a hair faster, I figured it was the fact the tires
were warmer and stickier.  So I decided to see what the difference was in performance between these two chips.  I pulled the first
chip out and put the other, more expensive one, the one that saves gas, into the same place.  Presto.  Virtually the nearly exact
same time. Very discouraging to say the least.  This was not what the manufacturer promised and I was ahead by only a second or
so.  Being the kind of guy that I am I decided to go for it and take the chip out and just go for it.  Interesting result.  Virtually, yes
that is right, the exact same time.

The next event was a month off and this called for some extreme measures.  SPEND MORE MONEY!  Yikes.  There is this company
that I have been seeing adds about for some time called Jet Chips.  Yes JET Chips.  Anything with the Jet name must be fast.  
Sent for it.  Again the supposedly added horsepower was 11-14.  It came as a reflashed ECU.  So off to the race track we went.

It was another Sunday and after the third round I stood in first on a comfortable one and a half second lead.  So in goes the Jet
Chip.  My time, to my amazement improved by over a second.  To me this was amazing.  I finally found a go-fast item that seemed
to work.

Moral to this story is you usually get what you pay for and you can bet that those chips on Ebay, that you see everywhere are a
bunch of crap.  If you think you need to "rechip" your car, do your research and come up with a solution that someone else found
to be usefull.  There are many ways to change the behavior of your ECU.  Rechipping or replacing the whole thing with a stand
alone are two alternatives.

As an addendum to this story, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine just did an article on the new Power Card that you see adds for in a
lot of import and tuner mags.  They found it to be of no value as well, and this thing is $200.  Again do the research.


Old Sugar Mill
By Ralph Gingrich

ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 11, 2007, JOANNE AND RALPH GINGRCH, MICHAEL AND JEANIFER SIPE WENT ON A DRIVE IN THE
DELTA.  WE STARTED AT THE FREEPORT INN AND MIKE LET US ALL THROUGHT THE DELTA TO ISLETON, USING BOTH SIDES
OF  THE RIVER.  WE THEN CAME BACK TO WALNUT GROVE AND HAD LUNCH AT WIMPY'S MARINA RESTAURANT ON THE DELTA.

AFTER A VERY NICE LUNCH AND FINDING OUT THAT MIKE AND THE GINGRICH'S ONLY LIVED 30 MILES APART WHEN THEY
GREW UP.  WE TALKED ABOUT DIFFERENT FOOD AND I GUESS I HAVE TO DO SOME COOKING AND BAKING FOR THE SIPES.

AFTER LUNCH WE DROVE TO THE OLD SUGAR MILL AND WAS VERY SURPRISED AT THE VERY BEATIFUL BUILDING AND ALL THE
WINES TO BE TASTED.  THEY LIKED 2 WINES VERY MUCH AND WE TALKED ABOUT MAKING ANOTHER EVENT FOR ALL THE
REST OF THE CLUB.

THE 2 WINES THAT THEY LIKED WILL BE BOTTLED IN MAY AND JUNE, SO I GUESS WE ARE GOING BACK SO WE CAN BUY,BUY,
BUY.  BY THE WAY IT WAS TOP DOWN WEATHER AND WE HAD A GREAT TIME.


Ranco Murieta to Kirkwood and Back
By Jack Parker

The object of many of my events/runs is to stay off freeways as much as possible.  Let's face it.  Huge 18 wheelers, Suv’s and 70
miles per hour in a straight line are ideas we all try to stay away from most of the time.  The road trip that is described here
accomplishes just that.  So much so that the area is only passable in non snow months.  This trip is best done from May to
October.  It is part of the Breakfast at Kirkwood event we are doing in June of this year.  We utilize many of the Gold
Country/Sierra Foothills and the west side of the Sierras so the terrain is varied and beautiful.  We get close to 8000 feet in
elevation and takes about one and a half hours to get there and same back.  But it is worth it, especially in the springtime after a
good amount of rain when the fields and hills are very green.

Starting in Rancho Murieta at MarShaTe's coffee shop, where by the way there is a great gathering of classic, sports and hot rods
on Saturday mornings around nine oclock, take highway 16 to the east.  About ten minutes into the drive you will come across Old
Sacramento Road.  Turn left.  Follow Old Sac Road into Plymouth, home of Taste, one of the ten best restaurants in the
Sacramento Area according to the Bee.  It is on the right about halfway through town.  Continue through town and across
highway 49 onto Fiddletown Road.  Take the "Y" ahead to the right which remains Fiddletown Road.  Go through Fiddletown and
continue up the hill.  When you get to the "T" intersection turn to the right onto Shake Ridge Road.  When you get to Highway
88 turn left, east, and continue up the hill to Kirkwood.  On the way you will pass some of the most beautiful scenery in the
Sierras.  The Dew Drop Station and Ham's Station have places to pull off the road and get something to drink.  A couple of lakes on
the right side are also places to stop for pictures.  Kirkwood Inn is on the left just past Kirkwood Meadows.  Pretty funky place but
it is 150 years old.  Enough said.

On the way back you might try Omo Ranch Road, which is a right turn, a little past Ham's Station.  Stay on Omo Ranch Road to Mt.
Aukum Road and turn left.  Mt. Aukum becomes Shenandoah Road and stay on that into Plymouth.  For a fast way back, turn left
onto 49 and continue into Sacramento.

Hope you take this during springtime as it is a great ride.  For a real variation take Mormon Immigrant Trail, a right turn off 88 on the
way back.  It goes into Sly Park which is also a beautiful ride.
March 2007