Does this mean winter is finally over?
We actually drove Mimi - Lady Leadfoot's Mazda Miata - top-down for the first time this year today.
Heater on, and one window down - for some reason, that seems to generate less turbulence than both windows either up or down - and aside from the hair getting quite a work-out, it was very pleasant.
We don't drive her in winter unless there's an emergency. We keep her outside, under a cover, with a trickle charger on the battery. She never fails to fire right up.
If there were some sort of award for the car that best discharges its responsibilities, best fulfils its brief, does exactly what it is supposed to do - do you understand what I'm driving at here? - then the Mazda Miata would surely win in a walk.
More accurately, it would win in a lovely drive through the countryside.
In a nutshell, it was supposed to be a two-seat British sports car that didn't break and didn't leak oil all over your driveway.
That was pretty much what Mark Jordan, a designer for Mazda North America, and Bob Hall, previously and subsequently a car journalist but then a product planner for Mazda, had in mind when they conceived the car on a cocktail napkin in a bar in Irvine California back in the 1980s; in profile, the original Miata looked more like the 1964 Lotus Elan than the Lotus Elan did.
Despite considerable upgrading and improving over the intervening decades, that's pretty much what the Miata still is today.
I.e., damn-near perfect.
Oh yeah, the company can try to call it 'MX-5' if they want, because the marketing people say that's how it is marketed in other countries.
Marketing people can be such idiots; like anybody over here gives a damn what they do over there.
It was originally sold in Japan as the 'Eunos Roadster'. Does that mean we should have called it 'Eunos Roadster' too?
Um, I don't think so.
The Miata Owners Club is still (I think...) the largest one-marque car club in the world, testimony to the affection people have for this car. Lady Leadfoot and I aren't 'joiners' per se, but might be talked into going on some of their cruises this summer.
We understand that the next-gen Miata will be a joint venture with Fiat through its Alfa Romeo brand. That company has no shortage of sports car heritage, although dead-nuts reliability like Miata enjoys has never even been hinted at chez Alfa.
Can the joint venture pull off a car that's as spectacular as Mazda was able to do on its own with Miata?
I hope so.
But I must say, I have grave doubts.