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.
In 2004, John Ketwig’s brother-in-law, Bill, passed away from cancer. A fellow sports car enthusiast, Bill was the proud owner of a collection of antique MG’s, raced a Midget, and was actively involved with the Watkins Glen International Speedway, which he took John to numerous times. In September of that year, John’s sister-in-law and Bill’s widow, asked John and his wife to accompany her to the Grand Prix Festival at Watkins Glen where she would be presenting a trophy in Bill’s memory.
“We had never been there and it was fabulous,” John explained. “It was MG Weekend with at least 10,000 antique MG’s parked along every street in Watkins Glen. It was just terrific.”
A few days after the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Festival, the first time they’d attended this event, on a crisp fall day, John pulled into a car dealership in Keene, New Hampshire after spotting a blue MX-5 Miata out front.
“There was the blue MX-5. I always loved blue,” John explained. “I went in and said, ‘Boy, you’ve got a really nice looking little blue MX-5 out there.’”
Though it was pouring rain when John arrived at the dealership, the weather quickly changed and the next thing he knew the sun came out and the dealer handed him the keys and encouraged him to take it for a test drive.
“So I went out,” John said. “It was fall, so all the leaves were turning colors, and I went over a covered bridge. It was New Hampshire, a great place to go for a ride.”
During the drive, he called his wife who excitedly asked if he was going to bring the car home, but John insisted that he couldn’t drive two cars home. When he returned to the dealership, the dealer made him an offer.
“The dealer came to me with a slip of paper in his hand,” John explained. “He said, ‘If you want that car, here’s what you can buy it for. If I don’t sell it real soon, I’m going to have have it all winter long and I don’t really want to do that, and I know you would appreciate it.”
Back at home, John began researching the car and look at prices when he realized that the dealer had given him an incredible price, thousands of dollars below what the car was worth.
After going back and forth about buying the car, they both decided that life was too short to not enjoy themselves–so they bought the car. John and his wife drove up to New Hampshire to get the little blue MX-5 and drove it joyfully home.
After many wide-smiled drives, they found themselves attending a picnic with their local MX-5 Miata Club. As they were enjoying their day, John looked up to find a crowd growing around his car.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, somebody backed into it or something,’” John recalled.
What John learned next was even more surprising and unexpected. “I went running over to the car and a man asked me if it was mine,” John said. “I said, ‘yes,” and he asked me if I knew what it was. I told him, ‘Yeah, it’s a blue MX-5,’ and he said, “‘No! No! It’s Laser Blue. It’s the rarest color that Mazda ever built. There’s not many of those out there!’” John couldn’t believe that an innocent purchase would turn out to be a rare buy. The man even offered to pay him cash over his purchase price.
“It is the most satisfying possession I have ever owned,” John shared. “We have been everywhere with it and have enjoyed it immensely. It’s an instant smile and the most fun you can have.” In fact, John also shared that his wife describes each ride as a “mini vacation.”
“The Miata is a real sports car,” John continued. “It handles. It’s economical. It never ever breaks and it’s just the most fun there is.”