Jim's mid-life crisis arrived right on schedule. The result was this cute little redhead:
A 2000 model year Miata LS. If you've never driven a Miata, you've got to try one: it is very light on its feet in an exhilarating way.
Even with only about 149 hp, the very light weight of the car (about 2447 pounds) means it accelerates quite nicely.
Where it is absolutely incredible, though, is in the turns. In "autocross" competitions the Miata is very tough to beat.
What a hoot: I couldn't stop talking about it for weeks!
After a few years I wanted a few more horsepower (and a little more headroom), so I traded in one toy for another:
A 2003 Nissan 350Z coupe (Enthusiast model). With 287 hp, insurance rates went up quite a bit :-) But it really gives you that muscle car push-in-the-back reminiscent of an earlier toy we had (a 1968 Camaro) without the mechanical problems. Well, without all but one problem: it eats the front tires pretty quickly. Other than that, it's really fun to own and drive. I did find that replacing the stock shocks with single-adjustable Koni Sports really improved the ride. Unlike the Camaro, this car handles incredibly well in the curves, though with moderate understeer.
I started autocrossing with the Oregon SCCA in 2004, with rather indifferent results. After a few "races" (is it really a "race" if you drive around safety cones in a parking lot at a maximum speed of 40 MPH with no other cars on the course?) it became apparent that some training was in order. I highly recommend the Evolution Driving School for autocross training.
When Brendan was home from Japan in August 2004, I dragged him out to PIR so he could try autocrossing. He had driven the 350Z a bit and he did quite well, even beating the Old Man's time (though dropping two cones). He's looking very smug about it all, wouldn't you agree?
We sold the 350Z for a variety of reasons (I found the seats got uncomfortable, for one).
After a series of auto trades my wife suprised me by trading in her car for this beautiful Porsche Carerra 911.
It was a 1995 model 993 cabriolet (272 HP), and it goes around the cones very nicely:
We soon got tired of paying Porsche repair costs (that convertible top's locking motors are notoriously unreliable and expensive, we learned).
So now we own this little beauty: a BMW 135i with 300 HP and a twin turbo. See Jim go at his favorite playground:
Cars we've owned that originally got us thinking about owning a true sports car were the slightly fun Mercury Cougar (my first "fun" car)...
... and the very fun Chevy Camaro:
As you can see, we like red cars!