Convertible Convergence: Mazda MX-5 Miata Open House

Mazda MX-5 Miata Open House in Peterborough

PETERBOROUGH, ON – Those weather gods must be a real barrel of laughs. Not only has this been one of the soggiest springs on record, but they were probably rubbing their hands together with glee at the prospect of so many convertibles gathered in one place. For the second time in its two-year history, the annual meeting of Peterborough MX-5/Miata owners was met not with balmy, top-down touring weather, but the sort of miserable grey drizzle that makes one long for a lazy day and a warm fire.

But the relentless rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the owners of at least 30 Mazda MX-5s who showed up at Angevaare Mazda to peer under each other’s hoods and talk cars, before setting out on a round-the-lake cruise.

Organizer Rob Angevaare regarded the forecast with good-natured stoicism. “That’s why we have tops,” he said. Indeed, there were a few chuckles from those who’d refused to stow their roofs the year before, insisting they’d been fast enough that the rain didn’t touch them.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Open House in Peterborough

Angevaare, who is the Senior Service Advisor for the family business, came up with the idea of an annual meet to bring together some of their clients, friends, and Miata owners from all over Ontario.

He and his son, Brad, are hardcore Miata fans themselves; Rob owns a 2004 Mazdaspeed MX-5 while Brad “acquired” his mother’s silver 2009 and transformed it into an angry, lime-green, supercharged track monster. The two have an enviable father-son relationship, spending long hours in the garage wrenching on the “Little Green Bastard” – upgrading brakes, installing aero parts and fabricating some truly inventive custom fittings for the dual-throttle bodied, super-charged engine. A promising competitor in the Miata Cup Challenge, CSCS and Time Attack racing series, Brad, 22 is involved with a charity campaign called “LAPS4MD”, or Laps For Muscular Dystrophy. It’s a network of racers across Canada and the US, from recreational amateurs to professionals competing in series like NASCAR, Porsche Cup, World Challenge or Superbike. LAPS4MD team members in this country donate $1 for every lap that they lead to Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Although there is no charge for participating in the Miata Meet, which includes a free BBQ and drinks, donations to LAPS4MD are welcomed.

Mazda MX-5 Miata Open House in Peterborough

Unfortunately, the continuing deluge ruled out the traditional parking lot tailgate aspect typical of such gatherings. But there was plenty of space in the showroom to accommodate several dozen Miata fans, who mingled about, burgers in hand, while sharing tips and swapping stories. Unlike some brand-specific car clubs that tend to attract a specific demographic, Miatas seem to draw from across the spectrum. Our group included retired couples, auto industry people, young enthusiasts with autocross weapons, and collectors. There was a 20-year-old from Kingston who’d fabricated his own vented supercharger hood, a woman who’d excelled in high school autoshop – building her own car from three scrapped carcasses, and a man who’d driven his Miata across Alaska. There are less than 400 Mazdaspeed Miatas in all of Canada, and yet three of them showed up for the meet.

Our 2017 Mazda MX-5 RF, borrowed from Mazda Canada for the occasion, was attracting a lot of attention, and we pulled it into the garage so everyone could have a closer look. Winner of both World Car of the Year, and World Car Design of the Year for 2016, the RF is the closest Mazda has come to producing a Miata coupe. The fastback’s flying buttresses and ingenious retractible roof geometry garnered plenty of approval with this tough crowd.

Eventually, we headed out in a convoy for a leisurely drive through the Kawarthas, and around the shore of Rice Lake into Northumberland County – approximately 124 km in total. Despite the teeming rain – and losing a few “navigationally challenged” members, it was a great day to be out in one of the greatest little sports cars money can buy. Hopefully next year’s meet falls within a dry spell.

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Lesley Wimbush

Lesley Wimbush

In 5th grade, Lesley traded drawings of muscles cars for chocolate bars and things really haven't changed much since then. When not cursing the gremlins behind the insidious check engine light on her 400 hp modified Dodge Dakota, Lesley can be found lapping her Mazda MX3 KLZE at Mosport.