Inside Mazda

An MX-5 Owner 25 Years in the Making

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.


The first time Joe Schlueter drove an MX-5 Miata was more than 25 years ago while taking a little break during a work conference. Since that drive in 1992, he’s never forgotten how the MX-5 drove.

"I was at a tax conference in 1992 in Los Angeles,” Schlueter explained. “The hotel was near the airport, which had a rental car desk. They were offering an MX-5 Miata for $49 all-day, unlimited miles. On the last day of my conference, I went to class, I signed in, and I left. I rented the MX-5, drove the Pacific Coast Highway all day, and returned in time to catch my red-eye flight back to Iowa.”

As soon as he got home, he told his wife about the car he’d just experienced.

“I told her, Schlueter recalled, ‘This car, you don’t drive it, you wear it like a tailored shirt. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.’

Over the years the fond memories of his MX-5 rendezvous in California never faded. In 2015, his youngest daughter was about to graduate high school, which meant he and his wife were about to become empty nesters. In December, he launched a search for an RX-7 to replace a previous one he owned, but instead an MX-5 caught his eye.

At his local Mazda dealer, he saw a 2001 Special Edition, No. 0001 of 3,000 with approximately 55,000 original miles on it. He drove the car and fell in love but wasn’t sold.

On December 30th, while taking his wife and their three daughters to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform in St. Paul, he learned that Mazda had dropped the price of the car.

“I thought, ‘I'm an idiot if I don't get it,’" Schlueter explained. “So I talked to my banker and sent an email to the car salesman. The salesman finally gets back to me while I'm sitting at the 3 p.m. concert. I'm texting and emailing between him and the banker, and finally, I get the deal done while the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's playing!”

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Now he and his wife have joined the Miata Club of Minnesota through which they do weekend trips.

“It’s been a great first step into empty nester status,” he explained.

Schlueter’s wife and daughters are now also Miata fans. “My youngest daughter has become a car nut now, too” Schlueter added. During her college spring break, his daughter flew out to North Carolina to drive back a 2013 Dolphin Gray Miata, with Spicy Mocha interior, to be Schlueter’s daily driver. “That was her spring break, and she loved it.”

Michele at 2018 Miata Club Spring Rally

“I’ll tell you, there’s nothing like an MX-5 Miata,” Schlueter explained. “It’s an extension of you when you drive it. Any two-lane road is a blast to drive. It’s more than transportation -- it’s an experience. It's about the pure enjoyment of the freedom of driving.”

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