We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

The rear end kicked out, I can see mile marker 102, our destination. "We're going to hit that pole." "Yep." I remember thinking, "We'll probably end up stuck in the snow bank". Distressed metal sounds, "Shit", I thought, "We're upside-down."

Orloved!!!

(Welcome to the Continuing Misadventures of Aaron (Me) and Kenny (Miata owner) and his Miata, part one of a one-part series on how we rolled in a Miata.

So it's a cold morning in January, and I had recently won tickets to go to a radio station and meet and see a concert from English musician Jake Bugg. My roommate Kenny would tag along as my plus one to the event. Because it was 29 degrees and snowing, we thought, "Why not take the Miata to the station, with the top down?"

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

The drive was an absolute blast, we are cruising on I-94 and people are taking pictures, laughing, and giving us thumbs up. But somewhere near Battle Creek, I (from the passenger seat) can feel the car lose traction. Kenny immediately eases off the accelerator and decreases speed by at least 10 MPH.

Then somewhere just outside Battle Creek, the rear kicks out to the right, Fuck, we're sliding. We slide across one lane, headed for the ditch. There's a strange split second when everything feels peaceful, but then we leave the freeway. We slide sideways approximately 25 feet until the rear catches the up-slope of the ditch. Faster than I can even process, we flip and I come-to, upside-down.

Fuck.

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

After a quick self-assessment to see if I have any major injuries, I yell out Kenny's name to see if he is alright. He responds that he is okay, no major injuries (we both walked away unscathed). With my head and neck cocked against the ground, I am still buckled in. Kenny comes up underneath me, facing out my window. He was buried in snow when we landed, and had to unbuckle and dig himself out.


I try to open the door, but it will not budge. The top of the triangular window has stabbed into the icy ground. We are stuck here.

Luckily, after about five minutes, two truckers with Russian accents and a lady come to our aid, ask us if we are okay, how many people in the car etc. etc. After a short brainstorming seminar on how we can get out, we ask the truckers to pull on the door with all their might. They do, the window frame objects, the window pops, and we now have an exit.

We crawl out and begin to assess the damage. "We just had a near-life experience."

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

The lady, one of the kindest people I have ever met, drives a bus, and says we can get warm in there while we wait for the wrecker. We thank the truckers and the lady for helping us, and wait for the EMT's to arrive. The truckers leave, and the state police arrives. Our entire encounter with the EMT's goes like this:

"Are you guys okay?""Yeah we think so.""Okay, bye."

The state trooper comes, chastises Kenny for driving too fast, and issues a ticket for violating the basic speed law.

It continues to snow.

I snap a few pictures with my phone.

The wrecker arrives, flips the Miata with ease, doubts the drivability of the car, and proceeds to tow the lugubrious little Japanese convertible away.

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

The lady with the bus offers to give us a ride into Battle Creek, where Kenny's parents reside. We graciously accept and discuss the events that recently transpired in the warmth of her shuttle bus. I cannot express enough the gratitude I feel for the generosity her and the many other strangers we encountered that day showed us. Faith in humanity restored.

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

We hung out with Kenny's parents for a while and drank coffee, and then he called the tow company. They said we could come down and inspect the vehicle, so we did.

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

Seeing the Miata in that automotive graveyard was painful. After talking it out with the tow-people (who were also genuinely friendly, great people), he paid off the tow fee of $271. We got to the car to discover it is full of snow. We scoop out as much as we can, and Kenny proceeds to fire his baby back up.

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

It's alive!

With a few puffs of burnt oil, albeit, but alive nonetheless.

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

Kenny does a few celebratory donuts in the graveyard, and we depart for a body shop.

She's totaled, Jim.

We Rolled Our Dream Car, A 1997 Miata

The top is obviously destroyed; the windshield frame has bent down about 10 degrees and the half-closed top gives the Miata a more sleek, Porsche 914-esque appearance.

It also has a few more dents than I recall.

But mechanically and electrically it remains indefatigable.Perhaps a LeMons racer in the making?


Time will tell. Safe driving, planet Earth.(We never made it to the radio station.)Photo credits:RS Hole