|Adi & Parvin Damania
|We had owned a white Lancia Beta Coupe while we were in Italy in
1984-85 and enjoyed the car a great deal. We were members of
ACI, the Italian Car Club. Our Lancia had sexy lines and had gobs of
power from the 1300cc DOHC engine. So when we came to the
U.S. we joined the American Lancia Club (ALC) and began to look for
a Lancia Zagato. The ones we could afford were in very bad shape
and the owners of those that we liked were reluctant to sell and
demanded more money than the cars were worth. Nevertheless, we
attended the Annual West Coast meeting of the ALC at the Feather
River Inn in Blairsden (on HWY 70 and Hwy 89 junction) in May 1999
rather sheepishly in our 1991 Honda Prelude. We swore we would
get a Lancia by the next Annual Re-union of the ALC. But Lancia cars
in good condition were illusive, their import having ceased in 1982.
That is when we began to look at other car clubs to join. During our
previous posting in Syria (1986-94) we had owned a fully-loaded
white Mazda 929 Supersports coupe. This particular 929 Mazda
model is not sold in the U.S. and hence we thought about joining
the RX-7 club and began a search for a good 5-speed white RX-7
convertible and finally found a 1991 one in Santa Rosa. But the
dealer stuck stubbornly to his asking price of $9238 exactly! Our fair
offer of $8000 was turned down. By chance, the same day, we
happened to stop at the Mazda dealer in Santa Rosa who had a
low-mileage (48,000) limited edition 1991 Miata (BRG with tan
leather) on sale for $8500. We test-drove the car and then went for
lunch in downtown Santa Rosa at an Italian restaurant "Portofino"
that was recommended by the dealer after being informed of our
Italian connection. The Chianti wine was excellent and the gourmet
food delicious (we highly recommend this restaurant to all
food-friendly SAMOANS). Over lunch of "cotoletto di Milanese" and
"spaghetti al vongole", Parvin and I discussed about switching our
search from a RX-7 to a Miata. However, by the time we went back
to the Mazda dealer just 2 hours later to negotiate on the Miata, the
car had already been sold to a little lady at the full asking price!
Disappointed, we returned to Davis via Hwy 37. While surfing the
web for a Miata we bumped into the SAMOA website. I told Parvin
that "these SAMOANS seem to be having a load of fun and have
something or the other going every week-end"! (in contrast to the
ALC which meets only ONCE a year). We joined SAMOA without
further ado even though we did not possess a Miata! We re-doubled
efforts to look for a good white Miata.
We saw an ad for a low-mileage white 1994 Package "C" Miata in
The Bee. We soon discovered on Miata.Net that the 1994 not only
had a bigger engine (1.8) but a bigger fuel tank and front disk
|brakes. Also, I was in daily email contact with Aaron Smith, who was advising us on the Miata purchase. One sentence which Aaron said was "in 1994 Mazda finally got everything right on the Miata".
That did it! We had to have this yet unseen car! The owners turned out to be a nice couple who ran a business in downtown Chico. They even offered to bring down the car to Woodland for us to
look at (Mmmmm - this meant that they were desperate to sell!). So on 9 February we met at 8 pm in the K-Mart parking lot in Woodland, and against my own axiom of "never inspect a car you are
going to buy in the dark" we trusted the Chico couple, and bought the car on the spot. Documents and cash soon changed hands at the nearby McDonalds. The sellers departed for Chico in their truck.
Parvin took the wheel of the Honda Prelude and drove back to Davis on Hwy 113, with me following at a safe distance behind in our new toy. After covering a mile or so I began to wonder why she
was doing only 45 MPH??? When we reached home I queried her and she replied "I wanted to make sure you could keep up"!!!! I very patiently explained to her that the Miata was the faster car!
We christened the Miata "HiHoney" because Parvin and I greet each other that way sometimes and the car does have a honey-like color, what with a slightly creamy white exterior (not found in other
years) and a tan leather interior (which smells good). By this time we were quite taken with the car and began to scrub and clean the Miata. We ordered a car cover and door sills from Moss Motors, and
promptly registered to take part in the very next SAMOA event; the go-kart outing in Stockton. The rest of the story you already know.
By the way, the ALC is meeting in Rogue River, Oregon for this year's Annual West Coast reunion. But we are not going. We would not like to turn up for the second year in a row in a non-Italian car!
Adi & Parvin
"HiHoney" 1994 White Miata