There's a new addition to the family. Miata number 338 followed Tom Tanner home on April 6th, 1999. It's one of the earliest Miatas that's out on the street - built in April of 1989, it's a full year older than Keith's own 1990. Miata production has now surpassed a half million, and cracked 50,000 in that first model year.
The car needs some rejuvenation. The shock absorbers are tired, there's a hole in the exhaust, the paint is inconsistent, and there are a number of small details typical of older Miatas that need to be put to rights. But it's in good hands. Click on the picture at left, and you can see just how happy the new owner is. He'll take care of the shiny parts, and Keith gets to nurse the greasy bits back into shape.
The biggest challenge is going to be found elsewhere - Laura Tanner. Her first car was an MGB. She's never lost the love of sports cars, and had managed to inhabit the driver's seat within seconds of the car arriving in the driveway. One of the conditions she put on the purchase of the car was that she and Tom have to tour the Atlantic provinces of Canada this summer. It wasn't a difficult decision. It should be noted that Tom grew up driving Bugeye Sprites and MGBs as well. Is it a surprise that their son Keith's first car was a Miata?
Stop by again soon if you want to keep up with one of the oldest Miatas around!
Tom and Laura Tanner - April 6, 1999.
One major events since 338 came to stay include a 2 week, 8,000 km trip to Dallas and back. Axel Windmueller and Steffi Wonnenberg-Windmueller came over from Germany and drove 338 down with Keith keeping company in Baby. Werner and Petra Cassel met up with the group in New Jersey driving Gary Fischman's car, Max. The three 1990's headed off for Texas - the newest one was 9 years old and had 118,000 km on it! The tops stayed down almost the entire time, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. On the trip, 338 turned over 130,000 km and was the oldest car present at the show.
After returning from Texas, 338 spent most of a week up on blocks getting a stubborn set of shocks extracted. The Konis went in to a great improvement in ride and handling, and then Tom and Laura took off for a two week tour of the Maritime provinces, as part of the original plan. Since they returned, 338 has led a quiet life with no major road trips! Not bad, really, considering the car travelled 13,000 km in the first couple of months in the family.
What's been done so far?
We rather fell behind here - the car was spirited away to Texas for the Miata World 99 meet. 338 was the oldest car there.
On the way, a few new bits got stuck onto 338, such as:
Since returning from Texas, the following has been performed:
The shock installation was actually rather traumatic, as the rear bolts had siezed over the years. It took approximately 6 hours of hard work with a hacksaw to get the old ones out. What a difference, however!
With this work, 338 is now as good or better than new in most respects. The suspension is finally working well, the body is stiffened up with a collection of braces, the interior and exterior are looking good, and the radio sounds good on those long trips. The total investment was not great, and now 338 has been rescued from being a beater. Tom and Laura are very proud.
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