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Miatas at Deals Gap- July 2008

I've spent countless hours poking around the Miata.net and the MiataTurbo.net sites reading the tech tips and plowing through important archives trying to learn everything I could about these cars. I've been so focused on getting the technical aspects down that it took me awhile to realize that I was missing the most important part of the Miata ownership experience, the camaraderie!

When I first heard about this event (through the Miata.net forums) I wasn't sure what to expect. I've been to car gatherings before, some where folks just stood around and looked at each other funny. But this was a completely different event. First off, this has been going on for awhile. 12 years to be exact! Secondly, it felt more like a family reunion of sorts than a car get-together.

Although I was a newbie, I felt very welcome and met many interesting people. The Miata community is a diverse one full of folks of all ages and backgrounds. I wish I could've stayed the entire weekend, but a busy schedule only allowed me one day there.

Oh, and did I mention that this all takes place on one of the greatest little stretches of roads in the USA? The infamous Tail of the Dragon. 318 curves in 11 miles! Known to make grown men weep, pee their pants, hurl, etc. Luckily I did none of those, but I sure did have a great time. Here are a few photos that I took to try and capture what I saw.

Click on any photo to see a full size version

When I pulled out of the garage, the rain was coming down in buckets. I was afraid that it may rain like this all day.
Miata rainy day

As I got closer, the skies brightened considerably, but I would still hit a heavy sprinkle every now and again. I was really hoping for some sun so I could make the most out of my trip to The Dragon.
Miata wet road

Before I got to The Dragon, I decided to pull off for a quick look around and photo opp. The fog was heavy in spots, sometimes blowing up from the water over the road like a fast moving trail of smoke. It made visibility tough at times.
1992 Sunburst Yellow Mazda Miata

For those that haven't had the chance to drive this incredible stretch of road, click on the map below to see it in all its glory.
Tail of the dragon

As I got closer, I felt my heart start to pound a little harder. The roads were very wet and it was sprinkling heavily in spots. I still kept a pretty good pace even though I could feel the car wanting to slide under even light throttle. The great thing about the additional power from the turbo and the gearing of the Miata was that I could leave it in 3rd gear almost the entire time.
Tail of the dragon

Cheoah Dam was a spectacular sight on this foggy morning. As you're coming around the bend, it suddenly appears.
Cheoah Dam

When I pulled into the parking lot of the Tapoca Lodge resort I was surprised at the number of people that were already congregating. It was cool to see so many Miatas in one place. At first I parked a little far out, but I wanted to be closer to the action, so when a spot opened up, I pulled closer to the lodge restaurant.
Miatas at the Gap 2008

Here's a shot of the early crowd from the roof of the Tapoco Lodge.
Miata flywheel vs ACT

A super clean Miata sitting in front of the Tapoco Lodge. Love that color with the black wheels.
Miata with Volk Racing wheels

It could only be better if smoke came out of that cigar and it made unsavory comments as folks walked by.
Miata cigar

Very cool silver Miata with tons of custom touches.
silver Miata with stripes

The interior of the silver Miata above. The combination of the steering wheel, leather center console and brushed metal accents give it a cool, vintage roadster feel.
Dirty miata transmission

More of the festivities. My car is second from the left. I was surprised how friendly folks were, many asked about my car and the turbo setup. I was singing the praises of turbocharging all day, so hopefully I've convinced more than a few to take the plunge! It makes these Miatas even more fun to drive.
Miata show

A few banners of Miata clubs from around the country.
Miata clubs

I really liked everything about this Miata. It had an agressive look and the stuff under the hood to back it up.
Miata with big intercooler

Engine bay of the car above. You could eat off of it!
flyin miata engine

Just a clean red Miata with some beefy tires...
LS1 Miata

Until you open the hood! I'd seen LS1 powered Miatas on the web, but seeing one in person was great. It really fits without any major issues and is a hoot to drive, I'm sure. According to the owner (who graciously answered all my questions) this one was putting down about 350 horsepower to the wheels and was an LS6 motor. I asked if I could borrow the keys and got a pretty good laugh.
Miata with corvette engine

Miatas as far as the eye could see!
na miatas

More!
parked miatas

As time went by, people were pouring in.
MATG

Love this color! I got to talking to this gentleman and found out that he belongs to a Miata club in my area. I plan on joining soon.
blue miata

It was so much fun to see the different "personalities" that each car had. This one was wild!
red miata

Super clean red Miata
red miata

And it's packin' a turbo!
miata engine bay

Miata's aplenty.
Mazda MX-5 Miata

MazdaSpeed MX-5 with the factory turbo and a few modifications for good measure.
2004 Mazdaspeed Miata

Miatas aren't the only Mazdas that folks throw LS1s into. Here's an RX7 with the swap.
LS1 RX7

Corvette valve cover-covers...just to rub it in the die hard rotary guy's face a little more.
LS1 RX7 engine bay

A clean Sunburst Yellow Miata.
yellow miata

Compelling reason to switch to the newer body style!
yellow miata

The day ended with a spirited dragon run with a couple of other Miatas. This wasn't planned, but it sure was fun! This road made it incredibly obvious that I need MUCH better tires. Oh, and the nut behind the wheel may be a little loose as well.
Miata tail of the dragon

Last but not least, there is a Website by the name of KillBoy.com that takes, posts up and offers for sale pictures of folks driving The Dragon. I think this is a brilliant business idea, as I couldn't resist buying a couple of photos myself. Thanks Killboy.com! Here are a couple pics they took of my Miata. My pictures won't be here for a couple weeks, so these low-res shots will have to do for now.

Whee!!
turbo miata cornering

Yours truly, carvin' it up! I'll admit, seeing a camera pointed at you as you come flying around a hairpin was a little surprising at first, but I don't look too distracted.
sunburst yellow miata

How many times in your life do you get to see the back of your head going around a turn?
Miata dragon run


Thanks for reading!

-Tom