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Discussion Starter #1
I thought I'd post a new thread about this just in case the autoguide Millionth Miata subforum gets deleted after the event is over. I don't want this thread to get blown away.



Where to start on this. I feel like I have to explain so much…

Many of you probably saw the post here on CR. They were looking for a long-time member to go on an adventure. The member would be flown to Houston for the joint MX-5 Experience and Millionth Miata Celebration Tour stop. Autoguide, the owners of the forum posted this. It was legit.

I posted in the thread. I emailed back and forth with some folks from Autoguide. They wanted to do a video with me about the new Miata. I agreed.

The next week, I was at the airport with my pocket-sized ND.

ND on the Beach


Galveston at Sunset


I was flown into Houston and was booked in a very nice hotel on the beach in Galveston. That did mean about a 2 hour fight through Houston traffic after landing, but it was worth it.

There wasn’t a whole lot of time for seeing the sights. I had a free evening in Galveston to wander the beach and see what there was to see. After that, the Miata train started rolling.

How about that pavement?



Thursday was lovely. I mean, look at that sunset pic above.

Friday? Not so much.

I got to the track juuuust about as it was submerged under water for the first time. Yes, the first time. Nothing like a totally soaked track day.

The sky opened up four times on Friday. Nothing was dry at the end of the day. But that didn’t stop the fun.


Braking Test


Slalom Test


Track Test


What is the MX-5 Experience? It’s a three-station test drive of the new 2016 ND Miata on a real track. It costs nothing. All you have to do is show up and Mazda lets you put an ND through the various paces.

But you have to show up.

They have a dozen or so tour stops throughout the country. At each of these tour stops, you get to do a braking test, a slalom test, and a road course test. There’s driving instructors in each car and you get your choice of automatic or manual.

This tour stop was around Texas City at a little track called Grandsport Speedway. It’s apparently a pretty small track. Not one person I talked to had ever been to it before. It was very nice though.

I mean, aside from the water it was very nice.


Dual Purpose ND


This is not a photoshop trick. The car is divided in half.



This whole MX-5 Experience Tour is really a great idea and an impressive thing for Mazda to do. The tour is NOT a small operation. There’s a lot of gear and individuals required for it to happen. I mean, look above. They had a bisected ND that was half track car, half stock Miata. They had tons of cool stuff like this that they brought on their tour.

The Experience wasn’t going to stop anywhere near my town, so I didn’t have my hopes up at attending, but… that turned out to not be a problem.


MX5 Cup Car


Staying Dry.


Yes, I need that wheel.


This ND cup car was too cool not to share pix of. It didn’t actually get to go on the track as far as I know, but that’s really okay. Words cannot express the buckets of rain that fell throughout the day. It was truly impressive.

"Under water" is a good description.


Ready for track time.



But back to the story. They wanted me to star in a video about the new MX5 and the joint tour stop of the MX5 Experience and the Millionth Miata Celebration Tour.

That meant driving Miatas. A lot.

The brake test consisted of launching an ND, going up to the middle of 2nd (about 45mph) and slamming on the brake to try out the ABS system. And it was impressive! Even in the super super soaked track parking lot (not the best surface), it hauled the car to a stop in short order.

I did this around a dozen times. Each time involved a Go-Pro being re-positioned slightly and Ben, the camera and media guru to stand in a slightly different spot.

Am I complaining? Nope. I got to sample the ND clutch on a launch many many times. And I loved it.


MMMMM. Brakes!


Next was the slalom test.

They… didn’t have a ton of room for this. The parking area was large, but it was also horribly flooded. Finding areas with as little standing water as possible meant the slalom got cut down to a four cone chicane with a very short start box.

I did this around a dozen times.

There was many splashes. There was much Go-Pro suctioning. There were many takes. It was great. I only nudged a few cones.


My steed for open laps.


Finally, the track test.

Each participant got to do two laps with an instructor in one of the NDs. You could choose manual or flappy paddles. After that, you got two more laps with a pro driver behind the wheel in a different ND.

I, um… got my money’s worth. I got about 8x the laps that I paid for.

Zoom Zoom


Splash!!!



Filming the driving segments required chasing the Autoguide folks in their Hyundai SUV at a somewhat slow pace. It wasn’t at all boring though.

Then there were shots with a camera on the side of the track. I drove some of those and an instructor drove others. Frankly? I wanted to take some pix of the whole thing myself. I was let out to click off a few while a few laps counted off, then I got back in and drove more.

The lapping happened several times throughout the day. It was impressive to me just how much effort was needed to film a short segment.


Cleaned up for the interview.



And then the car got parked and I stood in front of it for about a half hour of interview questions. There was no rehearsal and I didn’t know the questions before hand. This was my choice. I wanted to react from the hip rather than have a planned answer for stuff. I thought it would be more authentic that way.

And this was the result.



They made me look far FAR cooler than I really am. I’m amazed by this video. I’m a huge nerd in real life, but they somehow made me look really great.

I mean, I’m squinty in the video, but that’s because I’m talking directly into the sun. It was not as pleasant as you might guess. But… worth the headache.

HUGE thanks to Autoguide for sending me to this event!!!! Seriously. You made me one happy Miata nerd.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Re: MX5 Experience / Millionth Miata Celebration - Houston Sept. 2016

#1M wakes from its slumber


I took so many pix of the #15 and #1,000,000 Miatas that I split this event up into two separate posts on my blog. As it is, I'll probably have to split that blog post up into two posts here. I think the 20 image limit will hit me otherwise.


Puddles.


Trying to keep dry.



The Millionth Miata (known throughout the rest of this post as #1M) rolled off the trailer late in the afternoon once the rain settled down. Getting the car wet is not something they want to ever do on the tour. It needs to stay dry and clean.

Due to the wet weather, they did not angle the car around to have the nose point at the stage as they should have. See, we folks in Houston should have continued signing on the bottom side of the passenger door, where they left off in Florida. But thanks to the rain? That door was against the wall.

That’s right. The rain that tormented us all day allowed those at the Houston event to start signing the right front fender, right at the top. THAT is super lucky!

But first…

Miata #15


They had two cars with them for the Million Celebration stop – Number 1,000,000 and number 15. This was one of the three cars originally shown at the Miata unveiling.

Seeing this time capsule was an absolute privilege.

About #15


“This doesn’t just look like the Miata that was on the 1989 Chicago Auto Show stand when the car made its global debut; it is one of the three that was actually there, and it is the 15th Miata built.

“Mazda took everything the world loved about the legendary British Sports cars from the 1960s, and the automaker added Japanese reliability to come up with the Miata. A stout 1.6 liter engine fitted to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission was the perfect match for the Miata’s 2150 pound curb weight.

“Four-wheel independend suspension and four-wheel disc brakes meant the Miata was the perfect plaything for enthusiastic drivers, and the car became the perfect platform for legions of fans to apply modifications from engine power increases to suspension modifications to body kits. Has there ever been a question asked that the answer wasn’t Miata for?

“This car is owned by Mazda North American Operations.”


Ropes lifted.


When I was hanging around this tent, there was no one else to be found. Just one bored car caretaker. I politely asked if I could come over the rope for a few close up pix. And I was allowed.

I reverently snapped pic after pic. I’ll let them do the talking.


Time Capsule


Modern Art


VIN 15


Indescribable


So original.


Under 5k



This, by itself, thrilled me. To get such access. To be allowed to worship at this kind of alter. I’m still floored.

Car #15 was incredible. To have lived so long, toured around, and still be in this kind of shape.

Incredible.

I turned my sights on car #1,000,000.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: MX5 Experience / Millionth Miata Celebration - Houston Sept. 2016

Approaching #1M


It will carry "Adam Wolf" on the fender forever.



I was physically incapable of doing anything but signing the car. I wanted to snap some photos, but the job ahead of me was too greatly anticipated.

They gave me a pen. I signed.

Well… I signed after several dozen takes of filming at many different angles. Me signing the car was a key part of the video Autoguide was doing about me. So, I walked up to it a bunch of times. I got down on the fender a bunch of times. I did a bunch of goofy thumbs up takes. And then I was allowed to sign it.

It was worth the effort. It was so unbelievably satisfying.

On my blog I popped the video here. You can scroll back up and watch it again if you want. :mrgreen:

After the video (where they made me look incredibly cool – thanks again Ben and Colum!), I was taken away for more filming. And after that was done, I came back to #1M for some quiet time.


So many names.


I love the hood. Without the grid, you can really imagine what the finished car will look like.

I shot this over the rope. Then I had an idea.


Left side fender


I politely asked if I could come around and take some photos of the car. The caretaker happily agreed. There was no one else around and no line. I had #1M to myself.


Trunk Lid - Dallas folks got to add to this.


#1M interior


I snapped the above interior shot and the car’s caretaker told me that there were signatures all over it. Inside the doors, under the car.

Then he opened the door for me to see.


Engineer Signatures


Hidden


Special.


Seat Adjuster!


You can imagine how I felt about this. I don’t think I screeched like a little girl, but I might have.

Then he mentions something about more signatures behind hidden under the trunk.

And then he opened the trunk.


More engineer signatures


Tail light!


I snapped shot after shot.


I might have lost the power of speech at this point. I was all smiles just happily clicking away. Trying with all my power to make my shots focused and my framing good.

I’ve never seen any shots of this stuff. Maybe they’re all over the internet, but I had no idea that this existed. Getting to shoot it and share it with everyone on my blog. You have no idea how happy this made me.

Or maybe my words are giving you some idea.


Signatures on the chassis


Shock!


He told me to lay down and try to see the stuff under the car. It was hard to see at first, but the more I looked, the more I saw. I could only get some of them on the camera. A lift would be required to see everything.

The caretaker mentioned a bunch of signatures under the hood. I asked to see. He went to ask permission and… was denied.

So no under hood shots for me. Sorry guys. But, you know, that’s okay. I got such access to this history-making car that I can hardly begin to complain. To get to see all of this and share the pix on my blog. Privileged is a word that falls short.


The Mazda Staff Door


I was told that the driver’s side (RHD) door was reserved for Mazda staff. As the tour hit different cities and various Mazda workers were around the car, they were invited to sign this door.

This makes me feel even more lucky to have signed the adjacent fender.


Colum signing.


Colum is the Autoguide content and marketing guru that made this all happen for me. He was a true pleasure to work with and spend time around. Getting to snap his signing really made me smile. Thanks again Colum!


Liam signing.


Liam is one of the pro drivers who was taking the regular folks for rides around the track. He’s a former Marine Staff Sargent who lost a leg to an IED in Afghanistan. To say he’s an inspiration is putting it lightly. I wish I could have spent more time around him.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: MX5 Experience / Millionth Miata Celebration - Houston Sept. 2016

revplaque!


The event was capped off with a commemorative dash plaque. Mine, of course, says “revlimiter” in the correct all lowercase.

I’ll be honest, getting one of these little plaques has been huge in my mind. This has been nearly the equal to signing the car. I saw photo after photo of various internet friends signing the car and getting one of these plaques.

Jealous is a word that doesn’t begin to hit at my emotions.

I wanted one. Having it in my hand was pure joy.

But it got better.


My revlimiter plaque...


... and my Sharka plaque!


Attending this event was my buddy Chad, aka Greasemonkey2000. I’ve known him for a few years through the forums. He’s an amazing supporter of my store and products, but he’s also a good friend. We’ve swapped emails and phone calls. Getting to meet him was wonderful. He’ll be the subject of another blog post soon.

But I’m getting off track. I was talking about plaques.

They were letting each person get just one plaque. I had it in my mind to wait until no one else was around (a strategy that got me 90% of the pix in this blog post) and asking for a second one that said “Sharka”. It was a pretty lightly-attended event. I thought my chances were good at pulling it off.

Before I could do anything about it, Chad walked up with this Sharka badge. He asked for an extra for me. The folks in the tent were apparently all too happy to do it. Chad didn’t make me wait for mail or Christmas or anything. He gave it to me right there.

I hope the pure joy of this is coming across as you read this.

Thank you so much Chad. This little plaque is already a treasured belonging. It’ll find a place on Sharka after a bit of thought and planning.


Marked forever.


Thank you again Autoguide, Colum, and Ben. You guys made me one insanely happy Miata superfan.

I really need to buy an ND now.
 

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Really happy to have finally got to meet you as well Adam! :) Glad I finally figured out what to give you!

The event was a BLAST! Despite the weather and low attendance, which actually I think made it better in some ways. Experiencing the ND on the track in the rain and then "dry" was awesome with a professional race car driver behind the wheel. Apparently due to the rain we were able to sign the upper area of the mx5 instead of the lower as intended.

I also got to see my first LS swapped NB, a 2002 SE with a 6.2 LS3(like the 24th FM built v8 swap), owned by Kelly Brown and his wife that seemed to be just as much of a miata enthusiast. Wish there would have been more miata's to check out. It was a great time for sure! :icon_cheers:
 

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The 50/50 Miata is messing with my head in all kinds of wonderful ways. That splash shot on the track is stunning, and I had no clue about the hidden signatures on the millionth Miata. Way cool. Great pictures as always, Adam.
 

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I'm just waiting to see the millionth revlimiter gauge design.

I cannot stop looking at your Avitar/ Sig combo :lol:

Adam, thank you for documenting this! So awesome seeing how the ND has signatures basically everywhere.. I feel the need to go and test drive an ND but do not want to jump into a monthly payment.. bleh lol:bouncin:
 
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