This is microdot, my 1996 montego Mazda Miata. I call it microdot because I wanted a name for it that conveyed the sense of smallness, cuteness and happiness that this car evokes.
|2008 mods: New Grille from Little British Car Co.|
|2004 mods: one is a parking light mod that uses the empty corner space for a directional and turns the original directional into a solid white twi-light.|
|I also installed an interior light, as it didn't have any sort of lighting when I got it, not even the lame factory light.|
|A home-made windscreen and the trunk-release bypass, to keep miscreants from making off with all my valuables.|
|My dad thought microdot was pretty cool too.|
|On September 24th, 2004, me, my boyfriend and microdot headed east to Cape Cod for the weekend to see my family. Microdot was a real trooper and got us there and safely home again without a hitch. We arrived back in Ohio at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, September 27th. I got an hour and a half of sleep and then went to work.|
|At 4:50 p.m. September 27th I was driving home from work, looking forward to finally getting a decent nap. Microdot did the best it could, but then a very, very bad thing happened.|
Read here for the gory details.
|September 29th: The insurance adjuster went to see microdot today. He says microdot needs exploratory surgery to see what it's going to take to get us back on the road. I'm worried, but even if we're totaled, microdot is going to live to roll again, I promise!
|October 1st: Got my estimate from Progressive off their website: $7398.05. Sounds like totaled to me, but naturally my adjuster, Steve, isn't in his office on Fridays, so I don't get to know for sure yet. If you're interested (or truly bored) you can see the claim estimate here. They still haven't brought microdot home yet, and I'm a little distressed about that. I'm going to go have a beer and let someone else drive!|
|October 8th: Microdot is indeed totaled - it was those freaking airbags that did it; between parts and labor, airbags alone were over $3000 to fix! The good news? Salvage value is only $766! Am I buying it back? Heck yes I am! Microdot part II: getting estimates.|
|October 11th: At last, the tow company managed to bring microdot back from the Progressive garage - Ugh; it's in even worse shape than when they took it away! They'd torn off the fender and half the nose, and all the "refuse" - they'd unceremoniously thrown inside the car. How many more indignities do we need to endure?!|
|Nice of them to tear poor microdot's fender off - and stuff it in the car right on the leather seats!|
|Hmmm... Don't remember this fender being damaged before they took microdot away!|
|November 9th: Microdot is still languishing in my garage, getting very depressed. I'm hunting for the body parts we need, but Microdot doesn't understand what that means and is pretty despondent. Fortunately, some of the new "stuff" I ordered has finally arrived: wood gauge bezel, Nardi wheel off ebay and adapter hub from GoMiata. I spent yesterday and today working on installing those.|
|Here I've taken out the gauge pod to put the wood bezel in, and have removed both spent airbag assemblies. That void on the right is going to be a challenge!|
|Old wheel off; installing Nardi adapter. Couldn't find instructions on installing this one on the net anywhere, and had no idea how to attach the old horn wire to the contact ring on the back of the adapter. Decided that simply removing the ring would allow me to pass the original (green) wire through the hole in the hub, splice on the clip from the copper ring, and attach it to the horn button that way. (That's the now defunct contact ring hanging from the wiper stalk.) Bottom right pic shows the new hub installed, spliced and ready to go.|
|Regarding the much-discussed airbag light issue: when I had the gauge pod out, I removed the airbag indicator bulb. But since I also had already purchased a packet of 1/4 watt 10 ohm resistors, I also wired three of them between the ends of the two airbag wires (yellow wires in the above pictures), wrapped it in electrical tape and jammed it in the cavity of the hub. No idea if that made a difference, since the light was already removed, but at least I can say I did it the "right" way... sort of.|
|From there on, the steering wheel went on like a dream; looks pretty nice too. Haven't put my horn button on though; I bought a JDM Eunos emblem off ebay which I thought would fit perfectly. It's about 1/8" too wide. I guess I'll put it on the front bumper where the other emblem used to be, and find something else for the horn button.|
|You can also see in the pic above, right, that I've begun to try to remedy the space where the passenger aribag used to be. I bought a $2.50 door mat at WalMart and have been cutting it up and fitting pieces in here and there. Eventually it should all fit together and then I'll glue the pieces together and see what I have.|
|January 2, 2005: Tonight, Microdot finally got to leave on its long-awaited trip to the shop. The weather was dismal, and I was feeling pretty grim, but Scott, the guy who owns the shop and is promising to put Microdot back on the road, is looking remarkably optimistic, in spite of having gotten soaked putting the car on the flatbed. Have a safe journey, little Miata! See you in the Spring!|
|Microdot finally came home on May 20th, looking good - no - looking awesome! Partial list of new/replaced parts:
Total cost for parts and labor (not to mention 5 months indoor storage), $2200.00. Not a bad deal!
Actually, it wasn't all that bad. I finally managed to get the horn working two days before the inspection, and even though I had been agonizing all winter about the potential problems of not replacing the blown airbags, it turned out to be a non-issue. All the inspector said when I drove the car into the inspection bay was, "Airbags in it?" and I said, "Nope." Very smooth. I was pleased anyway, that my efforts at reclaiming the space where the passenger side bag used to be were at least marginally successful:
I cut and fitted all the pieces from the carpet square, then hot-glue-gunned them all together. I couldn't figure out a way to install a hinge for opening the cover like a glove-box (if you put the hinge on the inner surface, the outer edges interfere with each other so that it really won't open far enough), but I made a discovery - the metal plate on the back of the airbag cover is magnetic, so I embedded cabinet-latch magnets on each side of the compartment (you can kind of see them in the second pic) and that holds the cover on just fine. The fit isn't perfect, due to the cover having gotten scratched and slightly deformed during the explosion, but compared to how it looked before, I'm very pleased.
Here are the new wheel and wood gauge bezel
Grille from MM Miata. Happy Microdot!!
Unfortunate note: Grille was unceremoniously removed by an errant raccoon in the fall of 2006. Raccoon did not live to regret the event.
Microdot's own home-made top boot.
My home-made gauge faces based on vintage Smiths gauges,
for that groovy retro look.
This would be cool, but I'm too cheap. :p