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April 08, 1999 - Image 27

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The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-08

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4

16B - The Michigan Daily - Best of Ann Arbor 1999 - Thursday, April 8, 1999
MAZDA MX-5 MIATA: EVERYONE NEEDS ONE OF THESE

The Michigan Daily - bCl of Ann Arbcr

ike the Cadbury Egg, the season
for top-down motoring is finally
here, and people are rejoicing. It's
different from driving a headlined
automobile, in fact, I prefer to say
"motoring" when I speak of travel-
ing in a roadster, spider, or convert-
ible. It evokes feelings of Mille
Miglias and other great old races in
which old Italian women waved
their kerchiefs and cheered and
cried as race cars blazed through
everyday cobblestone streets.

This weekend
I grabbed a won-
derfully ugly
English flat cap
and jumped in a
1999 Mazda
Miata to visit
some friends in
St. Louis and
Chicago and see
one of America's
best live rock
acts, the String

Cheese Incident. Of the 1,200 miles
I clocked, about I,000 were spent
topless.
The Miata is perfect for long trips
with the top down - the seats are
phenomenal, the radio is loud and
clear enough for listening at 90
mph, and the top can be flicked
back up in seconds in case of rain.
It is important to remember that it
was the Miata, moreso than the Alfa
Romeo Spider or MG B or Midget,
that brought about the renaissance

of the two-seat roadster in America.
The aforementioned might have
been crucial in the process, but
Mazda's two-seater was the first one
to offer a spunky four-cylinder con-
vertible with ultra-reliable service
and at a price that even the common
man could afford. And on top of
that, the 1989 debut car was a baby
brother in design to the gorgeous
Lotus Elan of the 1960s.
The Miata is still a cheap thrill.
The base price of $19,770 is reason-

REILLY
BRENNAN

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able, and comes stock with a CD
stereo. From there, every option
imaginable is available, including
leather seats, a Bose stereo, and
power everything. The top remains
manual in every option package -
it's so lightweight it can be raised or
lowered while sitting in the driver's
seat; a power top would only add
unnecessary weight.
The best thing about the new
Miata is that it's still as magical as
the original, and where improve-
ments could have been made, they
were. For instance, the new head-
light design no longer impedes
vision (the old unit had retractable,
pop-up lights), and there's a glass
back window with defroster - both
stock. The engine is also a bit more
powerful, although it's still the same
spritely 16-valve four cylinder as
before. Trunk space is increased a
bit, too; I managed a large duffel
and a pair of running shoes with
room to spare.
What makes this thing so fun? I
think it's the outstanding shifter,
which is probably the most enjoy-
able, and effortless, bunch of throws
you can experience in a shift-it-
yourself ride. This is good for keep-
ing the revs up - the little 16-valve
requires frequent shifting and
adjusting to stay on top of things. I
could easily shift with only two fin-
gers resting on the shift knob.
One gripe might be the tiny fuel
tank. I ended up making seven fuel
stops all weekend - a little exces-
sive. Maybe the car could lose some
trunk space for a few more gallons
in the tank.
The Miata's interior is re-worked
from the older wire-rimmed theme.
It's all in black with neat circular air
vents and easy temperature controls.
In fact, the radio and temperature
controls swapped places on the dash
- no longer is the shifter in the way
of switching CDs.
There's an X-factor present here
that makes motoring more fun in a
Miata than in nearly all other two-
seaters - the power-to-weight ratio.
The Miata has just a four cylinder
with dual overhead cams. It's not as
throaty as a BMW Z3 or even the
Mercedes SLK 230. However, the
Miata feels quick, weighs little
(2300 lbs.),and makes for quite a
nice runabout.
See BRENNAN, Page 17B
THREE WORDs:
READ THE DAILY.

6

h 'I

[EBest of the Rest
Parkg tickets, sleep, crashed
computers slow 'sketchy' students

Anywhere (Best Place to Get A
Parking Ticket) They're out there,
ready to use their stupid little
machines to spit out a ticket and ruin
our collective days before we can
catch them in the act. Like an army of
ants (or at least an army of under-paid
parking police officers in blue shirts).
They pound the pavement in search of
a car parked next to an expired meter,
a fire hydrant, a dumpster, a fire lane
or stowed in a University lot with no
sign of the coveted parking pass. They
have very, very high monthly quotas
and they always meet them. If you're
lucky enough to have a car, you will
probably be unlucky enough to get an
unfair share of parking tickets in this
town.
"I slept in." (Best Excuse for
Cutting Class) It's tough to get up
for class after a night of three hours
of sleep. Drinking is much more fun
than lecture and why should the
excitement end at Midnight? It
shouldn't. If you miss class, it will
at least be for good reason. This
excuse is here to stay.
"My computer crashed." (Best
Excuse for a Late Paper) Well we've all
used it, so stop feeling so high and
mighty. The fact is, it's fool proof. The
professor does not know the difference
Do you ever feel
like you're the
only one in the
room
readingthe
D aify?
Change that.
Tell your
friends and col-
leagues that
they should
read the Daily,
too.
It couldn't hurt
them, and you
will all have
something in
common to talk
about.

and, hey, with all new iMacs in all the
computing sites, it's not like you could
use a University computer. Plus, who
here lives with a dog that could eat your
homework.
North Face (Best Fad) Rule of
thumb: It's always better to fit in than
feel left out. And that's the magic of
North Face. Their coats come in all col-
ors (including some that should be dis-
continued), and they make all who wear
them look like the Pillsbury Dough
Boy. But puffy is in. Another rule:
People who look like they just returned
from nine weeks in Antarctica make
lots of friends.
The People (Best Thing About
Ann Arbor) So the weather's lousy
from Oct. 31-March 25 - in fact
we go weeks without even seeing
the sun. So there's nowhere to park
- ever. So there's not an Arby's
restaurant within walking distance
of any University classroom. So
North Campus is so far away. Ann
Arbor has a lot of problems - but
the people we meet help us cope.
Our friends and girlfriends and
boyfriends, our professors and
room/house/hall/classmates. The
Ann Arbor residents we meet who
work at Meijer, Mr. Greek's or
Showcase Cinemas. These people

are the best thing about life around
here - because, well, what is col-
lege without the people who go
through it with you?
"Sketchy" (Best Slang
Expression) "Man, like, I was at
this bar and this sketchy dude who I
don't even know comes up to me -
and he's got all these tatoos and
he's, like, wearing all this leather
and all these chains and stuff, and
he, like, wants to dance with me. So
I told him, I don't, like, dance with
sketchy dudes like him, and to go
harass someone else."
Tailgating (Best Thing About
Football Saturday) Ok, so we've
never actually met a single student
who tailgates. Still, the older people
wearing funny hats and funny pants
and munching on very delicious-
looking goodies in the parking lots
around Michigan Stadium every
game-day Saturday seem always to
be having a good time. Maybe
instead of sleeping until 20 minutes
before the noon kick off or getting
up two hours before the game only
when there's leftover beer from the
night before to be pounded down -
more of us students should take to
tailgating. Lots of people who voted
sure seem to like it.

The people - the best thing about life
shapes, all sizes.

"What was I thinking? I wanted some great-
looking European designer eyewear, so I dropped
over $400 on some big-name designer glasses,
only to find out I could have paid less than 1/2 of
that atSEE. Including the prescription lenses!
That's because SEE buys direct from the
coolest young designers in Europe...no middle-
man mark-up. I didn't know such an incredible
store existed! So many styles to choose from.
If only I had gone to SEE, I would have
had enough money left to buy a whole outfit!

Better Scores
Better Schools
Better
THE
PRINCE I'
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FOUR MORE
WORDS:
WRITE FOR THE
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UNDERSTAND?

s

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