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Voodoo Magic and Fuzzy Math (Part 3)

This is another continuation of an essay I wrote and posted to my blog back in December 2018. In it, tell the story of how I ended up with a Shinsen Miata after my daily driver starts having malfunctions. I’ve broken up the essay into multiple parts for easier reading.

Part 1: Voodoo Magic and Fuzzy Math (Part 1)

Part 2: Voodoo Magic and Fuzzy Math (Part 2)





I stood in front of the Rogue with the paperwork under my arm smiling at Michael poking his head out from his Miata. His eyebrows were still cocked in either amusement or bewilderment, so I repeated myself.

“I traded in the Rogue!

Michael finally snapped out of it and asked why, so I explained it to him. To put it simply, it made more sense to trade in the Rogue now than waiting to repair it later and then selling it on Craigslist. This way, I didn’t have to worry about getting the funds, or dealing with tire-kickers. On top of that, if I was going to buy this Miata today, I could pay Michael off sooner since he offered to lend me the cash. That being said, I might have been rushing the decision a bit since I didn’t want to deal with the Rogue anymore, and I had already done the research. I was determined to get a Miata now since it felt that the universe itself was lining up for me to get in this car and drive it off into the sunset. Plus, I actually broke even and got a solid $4,000 for the car, despite the costs it would take to get it perfect again.


Paperwork in hand and a box full of personal belongings, I looked back at the Rogue and felt that pang of guilt again. The thing did have some sentimental value after all; It was my mother’s before she gave it to me and had it shipped from the East Coast. I even helped her pick it out, despite the fact that I kept pushing her toward the Juke because it was clearly the cooler choice. And now the Rogue was sitting empty, 3,000 miles away from where it first came into my life. Then I remembered that tiny injustice I suffered when I was pulling off the highway at dangerously slow speeds, with me panicking and making inhuman noises. I shook the salesmen’s hand and thanked him again for the deal-making, and then I squeezed into Michael’s Miata and together we took off. It wasn’t until I looked in the side mirror and saw the Rogue that it hit me: “Oh shit, I sold my car!

No going back now.

After we a quick trip to an auto parts store nearby, we arrived at the seller’s home with the Shinsen in the driveway. He had been tidying it up a bit before we arrived. He recognized Michael and shook his hand with a smile; Michael did say he test drove it after all. The Shinsen looked impressive; in addition to all the features a “standard” Shinsen comes with, this car had the factory air dam extension, side skirts, mudguards, and lamp covers. In addition, the owner also had added a magnetized phone mount, a Bluetooth stereo head unit, and a chrome roll bar. At first glance, the car looked amazing, but there were some problem areas. The paint on the front bumper was pock-marked with paint chips; obviously from the dust and rocks that plague California’s highways. The paint was also peeling in some areas of the front bumper and scuffed off in others, and the lower lip extension in front of the passenger-side fog lamp had been cracked. To round it all off, there were some minor dents and scuffs around the body, and a gouge in the driver’s side skirt. Curious, I asked the seller what the story was with the car and how he came to own it. The seller went on to explain where the car came from; it was bought by a little old lady (I thought that was an urban legend) straight from the factory with all of the options, drove it until she couldn’t drive it anymore due to her age, and then sold it to him. He then proceeded to use it as a weekend driver/autocross car.


That would explain all the paint and body issues. On one hand, this car was a solid driver that had a lot of performance potential. But on the other hand, I wondered who would autocross this car? Despite it being a Miata, it was still a rare Miata. The seller also went on to explain that the car had some major services done, including a clutch replacement at 75,000 miles. Still, there was work that was needed to be done, including a timing belt replacement, and a resealing of the oil pan and differential. After talking with Michael about it more, we came to the conclusion that the car needed about $2,000 of mechanical repairs in order to get it running perfectly. This was course was not counting the body issues, but I could always do that later. After all, $2,000 in repair for a car like this was much better than having to pay $4,000 in repairs for a car that had all the sex appeal of a bowl of grits.

Michael then offered to test drive it again and the seller obliged, so off they went in a little jaunt around the neighborhood while I waited, surveying the service records. I figured that Michael wanted to get one more test drive in because he liked the Shinsen so much. Either that, or there was a little tinge of jealousy there. The Shinsen was better outfitted after all. While they were still out, my mind had begun racing:

I had just sold my car that I had been driving for four years, and I was about to buy a car that I had no experience driving, needed some work done, and was less practical. Despite the math all adding up and telling me this was the better option in the long run, I kept thinking to myself “Did I make the right choice? Or, did I just drain the bathwater, and stuffed the baby down the drain with it?” My thoughts refocused on the Shinsen coming around the corner and parking.


“This is it.”

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