Celebrating 30 Years of the MX-5 Miata begins with celebrating our fans and their stories. We asked owners and enthusiasts from around the country to submit their MX-5 stories to celebrate the debut of the 30th Anniversary MX-5 Miata at the Chicago Auto Show.
For Mike Fernandez, Mazda and MX-5 Miatas have become a lifelong passion. The proud owner of this “Mazda Trifecta,” Mike enjoys driving Mazda models year-round, even during the harsh winters of Alaska.
A military man, Mike’s love of MX-5 Miatas began back in 1994. Upon returning from an overseas assignment in Germany, Mike purchased a used red 1990 Mazda Miata. “That was the best move I’ve ever made,” Mike said.
After being stationed in Korea for a year, Mike was promoted to sergeant and moved to Turkey for 15 months. As a sergeant, he was permitted to have his MX-5 shipped to him. Mike recalls one of his favorite drives was the road connecting Adana City to Alanya, a beach resort on the Mediterranean coast.
“It’s almost three to five hours of switchbacks, with no lighting, no fence, “ Mike explained. “It’s all curvy roads.”
While in Turkey, Mike met a Swedish girl named Jenny. As a tribute to the memories they created cruising around Alanya together in his MX-5, Mike named the car after her.
After his time in Turkey came to an end, Mike was allowed to pick his next destination and he chose Japan. Though he was initially disappointed to learn that he couldn’t bring his little red Mazda to Japan because of the country’s restriction on left-hand drive cars, Mike eventually became acquainted with the Kanazawa Roadster Club (KRC) and bought a white Eunos Roadster (the name for the Miata in Japan). Jenny, his red MX-5, would head back to the states to be cared for by his family.
It was through this club that he gained the necessary knowledge and skills to eventually start his own club years later. “The club was located about eight hours from my base,” Mike recalled. “The reason I picked that club is the fact that they spoke English. Mr. Makoto Nakamura was my contact there and I owe him a lot. Many of the activities that I do for the club that I started are based on the club activities they did there.”
After Mike’s military assignment in Japan was complete, he decided to move to Alaska to pursue school. He flew to Las Vegas where he picked up his original MX-5, Jenny, and drove it all the way up to Alaska.
“I always have adventures with the MX-5,” Mike said. “It allows me to meet very interesting people. That car just breaks barriers. It doesn’t matter what it is. It seems to just take over everything.”
When he got to Alaska, he learned that a Miata Club had not been started in the entire state, so decided to start his own, leaning on his experience with the KRC in Japan and helpful information on Miata.net. In May of 2003, Mike officially launched the Alaska Miata Club, which today boasts around 40 members from all over Alaska. “Our ages range from 15 to 70,” Mike said. “You don’t have to own a an MX-5, you just have to like the MX-5 to be in the club.”
“The love of MX-5 started opening doors for me,” Mike explained. “The first door led to me buying a 323 Mazda GTX. I fixed it up and threw all kinds of money in it to keep it running.” The next door led to Mike purchasing one of his dream cars, the RX7 FD, from an autocrosser. “Now all of a sudden, people stopped calling me ‘Miata Mike’ and now calling me ‘Mazda Mike.’”
As president of the the Alaska Miata Club, Mike often times gets a first pass on buying new or used MX-5s, and has used this access to provide cars and parts to people who need them.
“I’ve given two Miatas away,” Mike explained. “If a piece can be given to somebody to allow their car to keep going and live on, I just give it to them.”
Uniting people of all backgrounds through a common love of Mazda and MX-5 Miatas, the club’s unofficial gesture is the peace sign.