I restored first generation Mazda Miatas (1990-1997). I got my first one after the kids were grown. I got it with very
little money by joining my partner, Bill, in fixing up a scraggly Miata. Then selling it and getting another one, and pretty
soon we had two. And on it went. We called our little hobby Just Miatas so we could get some cards printed with our
phone numbers. We also did a lot of follow-up on our cars and considered the new owners part of Just Miatas, as well.
I was certainly hooked. They are the best-selling sports car of all time and the first generation Miatas are becoming
This is my story of finding cars, traveling the entire northern California country and meeting some of the most
interesting people and seeing some of the most fascinating places in California and in the Miata world.
It’s a story of bringing life back into a little car that has served it’s owners for years and just needs to have all the little
stuff fixed that has been neglected. Taking a scruffy looking little sports car and turning it into a gorgeous car that
gleams and captures your attention and everything works was our ‘thing’.
My partner and I were fanatical about getting the car right, with everything working and mostly stock. We did a lot of
paint jobs, new tops and hundreds of brakes. We wanted to turn out beautiful, mechanically up to date Miatas that
the new owners could drive away and enjoy for years.
The book details not only the people, but the process of restoring these little cars back to their beautiful selves. This
little hobby of mine, which got way out of hand, not only paid for itself, but was the most fun I’ve ever had.
Just Miatas is our little group, consisting of not only of my partner and me, but also the experts we take the cars to,
and the people who get the cars when they’re finished. There is nothing like the smile of a brand new Miata owner!
There was such excitement and passion in these cars. It was a thrill to experience it time after time, and to experience
it myself when I found a cool car (or one that I knew I could really turn into something special).
I formed the Just Miatas Car Club of Riverbank by calling all the people who lived locally and had one of my cars.
We’ve been on lots of Miata runs and are about to have our 5th Annual Twaine Harte Street Faire Run.
This book focuses on the regular people who love Miatas, rather than the performance and race buffs. It’s not
technical. The Miata is everyman’s sports car and this is a story of many different people from all professions and
means, who have one thing in common, the Miata.
I’ve found Miatas in dingy dirt floored San Francisco basement garages, on vineyard estates in Napa county, in cow
barns, and in the back area of Oakland airport.
Imagine looking out your front window and seeing all those Miatas. I usually had four or five at any one time.
|How the Whole Thing Started
I Wrote the Book on Restoring Miatas
by Terese Mac Davis