Our monthly meetings take place at the Black Bear Diner, located at 2700 El Centro Road, Sacramento, CA 95833 (916) 641-2327. This location is in South Natomas near I80 and West El Camino Avenue. Our meetings start officially at 7:00 PM, but please come an hour earlier and join us for an informal dinner or other refreshments. You will have the opportunity to meet and greet fellow Miata enthusiasts, learn about the upcoming calendar of events, find answers to technical questions, hear the latest club news, and speak to Miata vendors.
is a MILD, relaxed scenic drive, slow-paced, passenger friendly.
is INTERESTING, with intentional twisty roads. It involves a little quicker pace.
is a BLEND. This trip will allow the driver to exercise his/her driving skills within the driver's comfort and experience level.
is for TRAVELING a more lengthy distance to meet, socialize and drive. It usually includes an overnight stay.
is ADVENTURESOME, involving a more spirited pace.
is SPORT. This event includes open track days and autocross activities where driving skill is essential.
The Quarterly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - October 2020 - Page 3
New SAMOA Members In The Third Quarter...
On September 21st. I drove part of the route on the map below. I took Putah Creek Road on the south outskirts of Winters, right on Pleasant Valley and then about a mile to 128 (where the abandoned gas station is). I turned off 121 at Wooden Valley and came back to north Fairfield and home on 80. I could not go back on Pleasant Valley as part of it is still closed due to fire damage just north of Lagoon Valley.
What you see is what you get pretty much. The fire burned the area around Lake Solano (where Putah Creek is dammed near Pleasant Valley), and the fire extended everywhere the eye can see as soon as you make the first turn behind the hills on 128 – all the way to the split. The campground behind the dam survived for the most part, maybe because the fire came in from the west and northwest and the lake provided some separation, but everything else around there is just a moonscape. Markley Cove resort and store is gone. The buildings at the split seemed to survive, maybe because it is flat with few trees and a lot of dirt. I turned left on 121 so I didn’t get a look at the buildings on the other side of the split, maybe they are gone too. There were 3 places I had to wait for a slow flag between the dam and 121, with one lane traffic. At one place about 4-5 miles past the dam (still in the twisties near the lake) it looks like the roadbed melted an the lakeside lane collapsed. So we were detoured onto the other shoulder and they were rebuilding it. This wait took about 15 minutes. What got me besides all the burn in 360 degrees was the huge number of tree stumps, where trees near
Repair Mistakes & Blunders John Taylor
I recently purchased a higher mileage 2016 Ford Fusion SE from a local car dealership. The Fusion ran fine for a car with almost 90K miles and was comfortable. The only issue was a noise coming from the trunk; almost like the spare tire tools were loose. The salesman claimed to have tightened them, and while driving the car home, there was no noise. But a "clunk" from the rear of the Ford eventually did return.
The noise sounded like a bad strut mount/shock mount; a "clunk" that occurred when the vehicle's weight shifted from front to back. I checked the spare tire and tools and they were tight. I raised the vehicle and after struggling with swollen lug nuts, a visual inspection revealed no problems. The rear mounts and shocks seemed to be solid but would move a little with force. I went to RockAuto and ordered new upper mounts and shocks for the rear on both sides. After the job was done, I patted myself on the back for a job well done.
But the noise was still there. I feared that I purchased a lemon. I shook the car back and forth, jumped on bumpers and door jambs trying to recreate the noise, but it only occurred while driving. I removed the rear seats and all trim from the trunk area from the car to look for damage. That is where I found a golf ball, then another; then three more golf balls! I took the Fusion for another test drive and heard the noise again, but not as bad as before. I took everything apart again and found one more golf ball. I removed that final golf ball and there has not been a "clunk" since!
Even though I spent some money I did not need to spend with the new struts and mounts, it was a great learning experience. And I really do think I got the car for about $1500 under Blue Book value because the dealership did not want to bother with a car that had suspension issues! They must have heard that noise too.
OK Where to Start... Steve Meischke
I am an avid roadster guy. My first car was a used 1962 MGA 1600 I bought in 1973. Looked great, ran like an MG, I washed it a lot, didn’t know how to fix it.. but got the attention of my current wife (yes we met in High School, Willows, CA)
It wasn’t long into “building our life” that we knew we needed to make a change. So a 1966 Ford Galaxy got us both through college, and living in the Bay Area. Wasn’t long before we wanted back into the British sports car experience, so we bought a 1974 Spitfire… Both working, she took the Triumph, and I got my first VW van.. go figure, but have loved those every since as well.
In 1984, tiring of working on the Spitfire, (not to mention a growing family)... We went the VW Jetta route. Worked great for many years. But we got the itch again in 1999. My wife was thinking another British ride… I said love the idea, but I am out of the maintenance game. So, in 1999, living in Seattle, yes we bought a new Miata. Had to choose between red and green…. Stuck with the Brits and went green.
Currently, the car has 59,000 original miles, maintained to perfection, all stock (well new original color paint), including hard top. About 3 years ago had complete exterior body work done (in Bend, OR), and is in the garage in Redding today. Between the heat and the smoke, not getting our for many long rides, but do exercise it every couple of weeks. Here are some pics of body work, before and after...
The Quarterly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - October 2020 - Page 4
The Quarterly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - October 2020 - Page 5
John Brandy & Deborah Deryck
1995 Red/2001 Green
Gary Coverdale & Janice Hacket
The Quarterly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - October 2020 - Page 6
If you are a Mustang fan, the welcoming tent was a place of worship. Though the GT500 was the flagship, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the GT350. It was painted in the white/blue colors of the iconic Shelby original. There was a Mach 1 and a GT there as well. Impressive to think that the slowest Mustang there was around 500HP! We headed to the drag strip where we were geared up with safety helmets and vests. Two cars raced twice each. On my 1st run, I tried to record it on my phone but the “launch” caused me to double click my phone, so I didn’t get a recording. Unaware of that, the 2nd run I did nothing but experience the thrill. When we turned to the staging area, the 2nd car went back to the starting line so my driver didn’t hesitate and followed suit saying “if anyone asks, this is our 2nd run… again.” The third (I mean the 2nd twice) time, I took pictures of the speedometer during acceleration. Top speed was 137 MPH! Not bad for an American Pony car.
Next we headed over to the burnout demo. I have never experienced one of these live. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is a technique just before you do a drag race to prep the tires for the best launch. The action requires you to apply enough breaking power to keep your car from rolling while spinning your back tires. This used to require skill, but the techno-geeks at Ford Performance decided that anyone should be able to do a burnout at any time. So they actually programmed a “burnout” mode on all performance Mustangs. When you flip on the mode, you just slam on the gas. The gar will “hold” for 20 seconds (or whatever you tell it) before releasing you. No skill required. INSANE!
There was a small break before we headed back to the track for our driving experience. Again we were fitted with safety gear. On the grid were approximately 20 GT500 Track Edition Mustangs. At around $100k each, that is around $2 Million! I know I am already writing a book here, so I won’t go into the all of the details. But in short, it was a lead follow with 2 cars following. Basically the instructor leading and two students behind following his line. We all had communication devices in our helmets so we would hear his instructions. Each lap was progressively faster. I had two big takeaways from this part. First was the insane speed I could get to in the windy section. In my Miata, I think the fastest I went in that section was maybe 60. In the Mustang it was 85 easy. The second was the hard break just before the hairpin turn. Just before the break, you should have your foot on the gas floored. I had NO idea how fast I was going as I was totally terrified. But immediately after I slammed on the breaks, I looked down and I was at 85. That means I was WELL over 100 when I applied the brakes. I am guessing even maybe 120+. After our third lap we were called in (no 4th lap, DARN IT). I then exited my car and was led in to the passenger seat of a professional driver. We did two laps and I think I left my spleen somewhere during our 2nd lap. Two reference points, the windy area where I was at around 85, he did at 105. At the point he slammed on the brakes, his speed was around 132. OMG. The day ended with a tech talk, something that probably would appeal to many of you, but most of it went right over my head. Except for the tire/wheel talk. The wheels on the GT500 Track Edition were made totally of carbon fiber. I have never personally experienced carbon fiber. I have read about it, but have never touched it, let alone lifted it. They had a carbon fiber wheel without the tire on it available to touch and lift. I did so with my left arm, limp wristed! I was truly amazed out how light and strong carbon fiber is. There was a closing talk with several “Thank you’s” and acknowledgements. We walked away with a goodie bag that included a nice hat, some stickers and paper weight of the upper block of the GT500. But the memory of this day and photos will carry more value in my heart and memory than any tangible item may bring me. Unless, of course, they gave away a GT500. But they didn’t. THANK YOU RON, for distributing that first e-mail. If not for you, this experience would have happened without me even knowing about it. To everyone else out there, if you ever have the chance, take one of these 800HP pony cars out for a spin. It is definitely worth it.
Each December the SAMOA membership elects a slate of officers to serve on the BOO for the succeeding calendar year. This will take this year, for 2021, at our December monthly meeting to be held on December 10th. At this point we do not know if this will be a face to face meeting or a virtual one. Nevertheless, you the membership are still tasked with electing officers for next year. The BOO consists of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Events Coordinator, Webmaster and Newsletter Editor. The incumbent Treasurer and Events Coordinator have both stated that they will not serve next year. If you are interested, please contact any current BOO member and notify them which position you would like to fill. I am volunteering to continue as Webmaster/Newsletter Editor, and Jack Parker has tossed his hat in the ring as Events Coordinator.
Election of Officers For 2021
the road or on upslopes were cut down. The crews working there were removing brush, loading cut trees and brush onto trucks to haul out, and still cutting. It looked like PGE had already repaired the electric lines along 128 as all the poles I saw were new. There aren’t a lot of buildings between the dam and the split, but I saw nothing standing – only foundations. South on 121 the fire was spotty almost all the way to Castle Oaks, which survived. That was as far south as the fire went on 121. The fire must have been moving very fast as 1 building is burned but the 1 next door was still standing. Lots and lots of trees up on top of the hills were burnt but just singed closer to the road level. I think a few will survive. But this whole area will probably have major mud slides this winter as there is nothing on the hills in most places. We will probably have to do SBS elsewhere. RP...
click on each picture for a larger image
Daniel Delacruz recently replied to my request for newsletter material with a couple of pictures of his Miatas. I added them to the Member Gallery on our website, but these cars are so beautiful I added them here as well. Daniel's pristine 1992 Silverstone Metallic NA 5MT sports Raceland coilovers and F1R 15x7 wheels. His equally perfect 2002 NB 5MT in Sunlight Silver Metallic wears Tein Flex Z coilovers, 16x8 konig Dekagram wheels, Nitto tires, a Roadstersport muffler, short shifter kit, tupperware, and custom leather seat covers, and a Project G Bikini top. Rumor has it that an FM turbo kit is on the way early next year. Both cars have HardDog rollbars installed for added safety. Congrats Dan on two beautiful and well prepared Miatas.
A Track Day with Good, Medium, and Bad... Norm Swanberg
I was able to get a track day September 24, 2020. I had previously signed up for four this year and two were cancelled. The weather was good with a high of 90 degrees. I was the first in line when the gates opened, which allowed me to pick a spot close to the building that got afternoon shade. I was able to get in seven sessions at 20 minutes each and 150 miles on the track.
The morning was the normal direction which was quite familiar. The afternoon was the reverse direction. I had done this a few times, but it was over a decade ago and was not at all familiar. It took awhile to feel comfortable with where to be for blind curves etc. I was not fast.
Someone recently asked if I had ever seen anything bad happen at the track. I replied after 118 track days I had never seen anyone hurt. Ten or 12 cars totaled, but no one hurt. I am not sure that is still true. A BMW went end over end in the novice group. Both the driver and passenger went to a hospital, one in a helicopter and the other in an ambulance. Their condition was considered confidential, so the event organizer had no information on how they were. I saw the car on a tow truck and the top was intact, which is good. I would assume they got airbags in the face and shaken up a lot. Hopefully no more. Everything considered, it was a good day for me.
There’s Fast… and then there’s OMG!!! Hugo Schmidt (2004 Mazdaspeed)
Several months ago (well before COVID-19 – that feels like a lifetime ago), our club received an e-mail from Ron Petrich. Some of you may remember it. The e-mail was an invitation for anyone who wanted to attend the North American Track Tour (NATT) from Ford. It was an open invitation for any enthusiast and the new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 was to be featured. Without even looking at my calendar I clicked the link and filled out the application. I don’t know how many Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s I said, but a few days later I received a confirmation that my application was accepted. The e-mail was beautiful. It contained several photos of different views of the Shelby. On a track, doing a burnout, on the ¼ mile. Beautiful.
You see, although I absolutely LOVE my Miata (I am on my 5th), my very first car was a 1977 Mustang II. Not the best year (not by a longshot), but for a 16 year old it was the best. It had a V8 engine and a radiator that was worthless. The only way to keep the engine cool was to drive fast so the air could cool it down. That was perfectly fine by me. Unfortunately, the lack of a good cooling system eventually got the best of my car. After a LONG stop-and-go experience leaving San Francisco at 5 pm on a Friday (yes, stupid), the car overheated and actually caught on fire. All of the cables in the engine compartment had melted. I was no mechanic, nor did I want to be. I paid the tow company to take the car of my hands. Getting rid of the car and not fixing it was not the dumbest thing I have ever done, but it definitely was in the top 10. Bottom line is that I have ALWAYS had a passion to get another Mustang.
Fast forward to COVID and I started to worry. Everything was shutting down. Both of my kids were graduating from college and we received news that they would delay the graduations to Labor Day for one and June of 2021 for the other. Other kids were experiencing virtual graduations. Would I have to experience a virtual GT500? More Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s (with some Our Father’s). A few weeks passed and I received the e-mail I feared. The NATT was postponed. I was devastated. My wife was optimistic. She pointed out that it wasn’t cancelled. She was sure COVID would pass and I would get to drive. More Hail Mary’s.
Time passed, COVID didn’t. We received an e-mail from our daughter’s Labor Day graduation. Due to COVID, it would not be live and virtual instead. Oh, no. Would the same thing happen to the GT500 experience? I received an e-mail from Ford. Another Hail Mary. I opened it and read it. They announced a new date with COVID safety in mind! The show would go on. However, the e-mail made no indication that I would get to drive the car. It left the impression that some would, but no guarantee that I would. At the very least, I would get to sit in the car. I suppose that would be better than nothing, but when you have your hopes up the fall is very hard.
The day finally came, September 19, 2020. There were a total of 3 track days scheduled at Sonoma Raceway with two sessions per day. I had been there a couple of times before in my 2000 Miata, so I was familiar with the location and the track. I was accepted to the last session of the last day. I arrived early and had to wait in the outside parking area (COVID rules). As my timeslot drew nearer, more cars arrived. There were a couple of other Miatas, some Corvettes, a few SUVs. At exactly 1 pm, we were let in. I walked to the check in line and was assigned to the “green” group. Apparently, there were two groups per session. In my group there were 14 enthusiasts. There was some welcoming downtime so I did some math. 14 per group (rounding to 15) per session, 2 sessions per day, 3 days. Approximately 180 enthusiasts were going to experience this in all of Northern California. That meant that the chance of my catching COVID was greater than ever getting to do this again! I was either lucky or those Hail Mary’s paid off. You can be your own judge on that one.
During the welcoming, I heard the words I was REALLY praying for “yes, each and every one of you WILL get to do 3 laps in a Shelby GT500 Track Edition!” I thought I was going to die of excitement! The day’s activities included (in order): First, the welcoming tent displaying two original Shelby GT500s as well as the entire Ford Performance line for 2020. Second, two ride along in the ¼ mile with a professional driver. Third, a demonstration of a pre-1/4 mile burnout. Fourth, three lead/follow laps around Sonoma Raceway followed by a ride along with a professional driver experiencing two HOT laps at speed. Fifth, tech talk in the GT500 lounge. The event would end with some Thank You’s and the typical goodie bag.
Click on any of the photos in this article for the full size image
The Quarterly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - October 2020 - Page 7
As the pandemic lingered, even rebounded; and forests were burning, we made the difficult decision to cancel our 30th. run to Fort Bragg, one that has been made annually since the inception of the Club. While individuals or family groups can navigate such a trip while maintaining social distancing, a multi day event, the purpose of which was to bring us together, just did not seem wise.
Saddened by the cancellation, we took a minute to think, as they say “outside the box.” With help from our President, Martin Boersma, who had himself recently done an event in Fort Bragg with BAMA, we have come up with a way to keep the tradition alive, honor the memory of Ralph Gingrich, and give Club members options to enjoy the coast. First, we have included a link to a photo album with pictures of past Fort Bragg runs. It is titled “The virtual 30th Annual Fort Bragg, Ralph Gingrich Memorial Run-2020". This is a shared album, meaning anyone with the link can upload photos to the album. Since we first made the run in 2001, since we did not switch to digital photography until 2002 and since we can’t find the 2001 photo album, these pictures so far only go back to 2002. It would be great if some members have photos of some of the earlier runs to add to the album. (The website photos begin in the early 2000’s as well.) The link to the album is: https://photos.app.goo. gl/MycexsDEn4J2gQiV6. For a sneak peak some of those photos are thumbnailed below - just click on the image for a larger view.
As we continued to think of what we could do, rather than what we could not, we have also come up with an actual run. The run itself is a day trip to Bodega Bay on Monday October 12th. Our plan for those of us who choose to just do the day trip is to leave the Sacramento area with the goal of arriving at Bodega Bay in time for an early lunch. We will each either bring our own food or order our own food at the Fishetarian Deli. Since the seating by the Deli is “customers only”, if you bring your own food, we ask that you plan to purchase something such as a drink or desert from the Deli. Vince made a prerun on September 22nd. and learned that Fishetarian has three separate eating areas with what should be ample outdoor socially distanced seating. However, in the unlikely event that there is not enough first come first served seating, we have obtained alternate areas from the Chamber of Commerce to safely picnic . It is interesting to watch the comings and goings of the commercial fishing fleet from Fishetarians location on Lucas Wharf. If you have Miata trunk sized chairs, it would probably be a good idea to bring them, or bring a picnic blanket “just in case.”
To decide if you want to bring your own food or purchase it there, you can check out the menu at: https://fishetarianfishmarket.com/. We are also going to visit the Children’s Bell Tower. Information about this monument to transforming tragedy to inspiration can be found at Green family website (this is the Green Family Foundation and, understandably, focuses more on Nicholas Green’s well-lived, but tragically short life, than the Tower itself.). More about the tower itself can be found here. There is a very nice hiking trail leading toward the ocean from the monument for those who might want to get a bit of exercise before heading out.
We have selected Monday, October 12th. to give you several weekend options. Should you wish to spend the weekend in Fort Bragg, you can do so and then meet the day trippers in Bodega Bay on Monday before heading home. Also, for those of you who are retired (or working from home), this offers the opportunity to head north toward Fort Bragg or elsewhere on the coast for a couple days or so after the event, avoiding crowds. We think that making your own plans gives you more control over what you want to do and lets you do only that which you are comfortable doing. It is also easier if changing conditions, such as fires, require a last minute adjustment, or even cancellation of plans.
Please email Vince Weis at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. For everyone’s safety and convenience, we would like to give Fishetarian an idea of how many people to expect, even though they don’t take reservations. Having your email will also give us the chance to keep you updated on the plan. Updates will also be made to the website as they become available. To paraphrase Steven Stills... “If you can’t make the run you love, love the run you make.”
The Future of the Miata Ron Petrich
The NA first generation Miata lasted 8 years - 1990 to 1997 - or perhaps 9 (1989) if you want to get picky. The NB Miata also lasted 8 years - 1999 to 2005. The NC, which debuted in 2006, ran until 2015, so 10 years of production. And of course the ND MX-5, the current generation, has been produced for 5 years, with the 6th year, 2021, due out in late 2020. All of these generations of Miata underwent both design, suspension and powertrain tweeks in the course of their lifetime. The 1990 model, at 1.6 liters and modest output (116 horsepower), received a 1.8 liter motor in 1994. Horsepower jumped to 128. The first NB in 1999 also featured the same BP-ZE motor and 140 horses. The first NC in 2006 was blessed with a 2.0 VVT motor and 170 horsepower, plus a weight gain. and of course our current ND, which had a 2.0 liter motor and 155 horsepower (and 250 fewer pounds) in 2016 now comes with 181 horsepower.
During the years the Miata's color choices and trims changed slightly within each generation. For the most part, as long as the buyer wants either red, gray, white, silver, gray, blue, gray, silver, black, gray, silver he/she can have any color of the rainbow.
Which leads us to current events. Right now Miatas are selling quite well globally and in North America. Maybe it is new demand or perhaps lack of supply due to the pandemic, but dealer inventories are quite low. Used Miata prices are holding their own and even increasing for certain model years. But the Miata is still a unicorn among automobiles...but not the sexual connotation. It is unique among today's cars, in that it has pretty much stayed true to it's roots as a lightweight, 2-seat sports car with great handling, adequate power, affordable, with a high fun factor. But will the Miata continue to follow such traditions?
Several threads on the Miata Forum have suggested that the fun will continue, but that the Miata will also evolve with the times. What does that mean? Coupe body style (sorry RF fans but it is not a true coupe)? Hybridization? Electric-only drivetrain? More than 2 seats? Additional power (turbo)? Read some of these threads and draw your own conclusions...
The Quarterly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - October 2020 - Page 8
A different sort of event, tailored for the times: 30th Annual (almost to) Fort Bragg Ralph Gingrich Memorial Run 30 years - November 1990 to October 2020 Kathi Bell
The Quarterly Newsletter of the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association - October 2020 - Page 9
State of the Club Ron Petrich
We are fast approaching year end 2020, and the Club has undergone extreme stress during the last 6 months. Covid19 has prevented us from gathering at monthly meetings (except for 2 casual get-togethers at a member's house), driving and other events are nil, and we have had to cancel, for the time being, our 30th Anniversary Weekend bash in Nevada. We still don't know if and when a vaccine will be available or how effective it will be. Fires have devastated many of our favorite driving routes, but more importantly have destroyed thousands of homes and resulted in several dozen deaths. We are at the time of year when the BOO starts to cajole, beg and bribe members to come forward to lead the Club for another year. Club membership is down nearly 30% since the beginning of the year. Yikes! Many of you are probably wondering if the Club will even continue in 2021.
My response is a hopeful but resounding YES! SAMOA is no different than any other Miata or other fraternal club - every organization has seen its membership decline and its calendar stripped bare. But I am confident that a vaccine(s) and/or other treatments for this pandemic virus will be available before next spring and we will be able to gather again. The fires will eventually be put out, if not by the noble efforts of our first responders than by the grace of God with winter rains. We may not get all of our favorite roads back for quite a while, but there are plenty of other routes and destinations to explore and visit.
The Club is in excellent financial shape. Our fixed outlays are relatively small compared to our cash reserves, and the BOO have all taken pay cuts to further strengthen our bottom line. And yes the membership is down, but many of those who remain are historically active participants, and I'm confident that when conditions improve so will our Club calendar.
I invite all those who have let their membership lapse since the spring to reconsider, if not immediately then at least during the course of winter. As an incentive to get the juices flowing, I want to promise that there WILL be a 21st running of the Super Bowl Sunday Run again next year on February 7th. It may not be driven on the usual route, but it will prove to be fast and enjoyable as always. And a follow-up Hangover Run is also in the works. Further, Martin has maintained his relationship with our hosts at the Silverland Inn & Suites in Virginia City, Nevada, and we plan to indulge ourselves in a 31st birthday bash every bit as entertaining as the one that had to be cancelled.
So please keep the faith. Take the time to contribute to this newsletter - next issue is due on New Year's Day. Keep your Miata in tip-top condition and try to exercise it regularly. Use the member roster to contact your fellow SAMOAns for socially distanced rides. Support your Miata vendors, both locally and in the aftermarket, they are struggling just as we are.