I was recently forced to part ways with my Mazda Miata track car, leaving me without a dedicated road course vehicle for the first time in several years. It wasn’t financial hardship or the desire to get behind the wheel of something new that saw my Miata leave my life forever. No, it was a force far too powerful to resist that ended up claiming the life of my tiny trackside companion. My Miata was smote by the hand of fate.
In other words, it drowned. I was in the process of moving into a new apartment in late May – one that featured two garage bays that I was quite excited about – when I decided to bring the Miata over a couple of days early and take advantage of a stick-driving friend’s offer to help me with the logistical problems associated with owning more than one automobile. Tucking the car into the garage, which sat at the bottom of a nearly 35-degree driveway, I had no way of knowing that he would be the last person to ever pilot the roadster under its own power.
Flash forward a few days later, when I arrive at the apartment just ahead of the moving truck. Opening the front door, I go down to the basement level where I see three small lakes sitting on the hardwood floor. Thinking back to the hard rain that Montreal had received earlier that week (close to six inches in 30 minutes), I had a ‘moment of clarity’ where I realized that if the basement had been flooded, then the garages at the rear of the building must have also been hit hard.
I ran around to the back of the apartment and as soon as I saw the scene that lay before me my heart dropped straight from my chest all the way down through my stomach and out onto the pavement below. There was a clear water line almost five feet high on each of the garage doors showing where the flood had crested – including the one behind which sat my Miata track car. My second garage bay had seen the force of the water rip its door off of its hinges and spread the tools and car parts I had been storing there across the entire alley, completely ruined by the mud and gunk that had shot up from the Montreal sewer system as the units had filled from the inside via their respective drains.
It was an hour before I located and unpacked the box that held the key to the Miata’s garage, and when I opened the door it was exactly as I had suspected. The entire vehicle had been submerged for a two day period and was now a mess of water, mud, and mold. The convertible that I had care for and campaigned for three years was a total loss – a fact confirmed within seconds by my insurance when they sent an adjuster over the next day.
Cars are just things, and things can be replaced. I bought the car back from the insurance company and with the help of a friend parted it out and sold off the roll bar, the racing seats, and any components that could help other Miata owners out on the track. The Miata will live on, a ghostly donor spread across several local track day fanatics, but I decided that I wasn’t going to buy a new NA just yet to continue my own lapping for the seasons. I no longer trust the ability of my garages to protect my vehicles from the elements, and it seems foolish to purchase a replacement car only to have Mother Nature tear it from my possession once again.
Instead, I’ve started to take the CTS-V out on the track, a vehicle that by sheer chance was not parked beside the Miata on that terrible, wet night. The Cadillac offers a dramatically different driving experience that isn’t nearly as fun as my departed roadster, but in the interests of practicality it will see me through the rest of the seasons as I learn how to pilot a vehicle that weighs twice as much – and has four times the horsepower – of my trusted track-day steed.