Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Morning Reading Fun

Angelinos love their cars, and more literate Angelinos (the few, the proud) are turning to Dan Neil's weekly auto review in the LA times. A past Pulitzer-prize winner, Neil combines the best of over-the-top sports rhetoric with a few witty Chandlerisms in most of his columns.

Today's piece on the new Mazda Miata MX-5 was particularly enoyable. For those of you who don't regularly get a chance to read amusing columns with the morning coffee, here are some choice excerpts:

MAZDA Miata, how do I love thee? Let me count the days.

Um, two
From its fiercely flatulent dual-exhaust note and buzzy metabolism to its stunt-kite agility, the MX-5 is all about sensory involvement.

Which is great, absolutely brilliant, two days a week, when the MX-5 can find the empty onramps and lightly patrolled canyon roads to practice its unique brand of necromancy. Weekdays, though, this car is a rolling root canal.
It doesn't help that the car's final-drive ratio is 4.10:1 and that peak torque (140 pound-feet) resides at 5,000 rpm. Put it all together and you have a car that is screaming bloody jihad at 25 mph if you don't shift into second gear.

The MX-5 is the sort of car for which two-car garages were made.

The central console, shaped like one end of a snowboard, holds the fuss-free climate and audio panels. Most notable is the band of shiny black plastic — "piano black" only if your piano is made by Mattel — which, unless I'm mistaken, is the same material that appears in the Ford Fusion (Mazda is a corporate holding of the Ford Motor Co.).

But the car lives for cornering forces. Once it finds its posture, the MX-5 clings to a white line like Kate Moss.
It's not easy to sap the joy out of a car like this — this artful dodger, this blithe spirit — but somehow, Los Angeles manages.

Stuff like this makes waking up fun.

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