Basil the Mini

Father’s Day Project

I love being in the driver’s seat.  In fact, I love being at the controls and having fell awareness with speed, engine RPM, water temp, oil pressure, you name it.  You see, I am a gauge freak by nature.  Even from the first car I owned, I always found a creative way to enhance the cockpit by adding a gauge or two to monitor some kind of vital read out.  Many of my friends to this day still give me grief for installing a 12v analog clock in a few of my cars in the past, but I love it.  It brings me back to my VW days when at the time, gauges were all the rage (3 in a row mind you) with the A1 and A2 GTi/Scirocco chassis.

Fast forward some 20 years and I am now fully involved with the Mazda Miata – an automobile that I am one with and drive the snot out of when I have a chance.  My 1995 Miata has a nod to my past with a set of 3 just below the radio and the 1992 Miata has a new set of AWD Gauge Faces in the perfect color of pinkish purple.  WHAT!?  Yes, pinkish purple.  This is not my Miata, but Ginger’s and she wanted some color added to the interior.  So a quick call was made to a good friend of mine in Japan (Makoto Nakamura) and a set of hand made gauge faces were ordered in US Domestic MPH.

I am very familiar with these gauge faces and know Ryoichi Dewa (the artist for AWD) through a few emails and finally meeting him in Japan a few years ago.  Super nice guy, BIG Beetles fan and plays some mean guitar.  I also respect the guy as a business man – only making a few sets a month and not in mass production.  I will always support Mr Dewa and appreciate the hard work that he puts into each gauge set he makes.


Open Road = Open Mind

Sometimes for me, it simply takes the turn of a key.  The sound of my 1995 Miata roars to life as the throttle bodies struggle to breathe air like for the first time – but within seconds the management system calculates ambient air temp and altitude, fuel to air mixture, spark cycles, angle of the cams and engine temps and before I can think, the symphonic sounds of all these harmonies is punctuated by a burbling exhaust note.  I love everything that happens in these precious seconds and it never gets old.

Many times, I always look for the signs – a time of the day or season where I can let all my personal concerns slips though the fingers of life and simply melt away in my other office and behind the wheel of my favorite automobile.  It took years to get her here and it needs nothing more to complete my vision.  And every so often, I continue to see other examples of other people’s vision for their MX-5 and life becomes even more richer and exciting.  It is addictive.

Within minutes, I am on the open road and no traffic.  I may not be in the best area for spirited driving – but at any moment, I can take a short 1.5 hour journey to the N. GA mountains and put her through the paces – the way the suspension was designed for.  There is a connection here that cannot be replicated through any video game or simulator – it is just is and with a roadster like the MX-5, you become one with your environment with the smell, sounds and sights as you cut through landscapes and roadways.  I almost connect this same feeling like riding a motorcycle across country – you just feel everything around you when topless.  And it is in these moments where you have a chance to truly think about life and take a moment to reflect.

Everything at your job becomes blurred and burned away, personal or health concerns take a momentary pause and the world becomes secondary.  My open road provides me with an open mind.