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scooterfrog
scooterfrog New Reader
5/14/10 9:41 a.m.

ok I always wanted a miata. I know the answer is always miata. but I can only have one car and must share with wife. other car is a minivan.

don't tell me to teach her to drive stick. shes too small to push the clutch and stay in the seatin in most cars. on my old Cherokee she had to practically stand up to do it.

how bad is is the automatic. can anything be done to them to make them ok.

other than being automatic is there any other downside ( always came with a smaller engine....) any good ( better) years.
any years to avoid. I would buy the best bodied old one I could buy with the expectation to replace lots of stuff. na / nb.
I know about crank walk and I know there are lots of places to get really detailed info but I wanted some kind of reasonable opinion. from people who will drive anything if its fun.

scooterfrog
scooterfrog New Reader
5/14/10 9:45 a.m.

In reply to scooterfrog:

also who old is too old for a Daily driver. I just realized that a NA is 20 years old.

Keith
Keith SuperDork
5/14/10 9:49 a.m.

"Crank walk" isn't really a concern with Miatas. The crank nose failure, that's a different matter.

The only auto that came with a different engine was the 1.6. It was slightly lower compression and had different cams. If you go with a 1.8, it's the same engine. The autos also never had the Torsen LSD. Other than that, it's just like choosing a stick.

My old girlfriend was 4'9" and could drive my Miata

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
5/14/10 9:58 a.m.

Have her sit in a Miata and see if her foot actually will reach the pedal. Coming from a family of sub-5 footers, who all drove clutches just fine, I find your statement about her being unable to stay in the seat when pressing the pedal quite odd. That just sounds like an improperly positioned seat, for no clutch pedal pushes lower than the gas pedal.

Anyway, there is nothing "wrong" about getting an automatic Miata if that's what it takes. Bit harder to find, but far from being genuinely rare.

P71
P71 SuperDork
5/14/10 10:00 a.m.

Have her sit in one. They are the easiest stick-shift cars to drive. It's a hydraulic clutch with a light pedal and the seat can be pushed up into the steering wheel.

Wowak
Wowak SuperDork
5/14/10 10:26 a.m.

Yeah, don't rule it out until she's tried it. Auto Miatas are BoOOOOOOOOOOOoooring.

wcelliot
wcelliot Reader
5/14/10 10:29 a.m.

My wife is 5' 0" and called ME a "Sally" when I bought an automatic car. Nothing but manuals for her... even for a nasty 3hr/day commute in heavy traffic (where I'll be the first to admit I'd prefer a slushbox...).

Bill

alfadriver
alfadriver Dork
5/14/10 10:50 a.m.
Wowak wrote: Yeah, don't rule it out until she's tried it. Auto Miatas are BoOOOOOOOOOOOoooring.

Yea, it just ruins the fact that I don't shift the car for 40 min of my 45 min drive.

Top down, good handling, light weight, good looks- you just loose one aspect of shifting.

If it was a choice between no Miata and an Auto- Miata, I'd have to say the auto wins everytime.

And some friends of mine got a 1991 Alfa Spider with an Auto, as he was having some leg problems, but still wanted to own an Alfa Spider. Seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

Eric

JFX001
JFX001 Dork
5/14/10 11:03 a.m.

I considered this for the daughter...but her uber-cool ork dork cello case will not fit in one...

Woody
Woody SuperDork
5/14/10 11:08 a.m.
Keith wrote: My old girlfriend was 4'9" and could drive my Miata

Photos, or it didn't happen.

car39
car39 Reader
5/14/10 11:08 a.m.

Worst fight I have with my wife in 27 years was trying to teach her the clutch thing. Good Luck!

Wowak
Wowak SuperDork
5/14/10 11:49 a.m.
alfadriver wrote:
Wowak wrote: Yeah, don't rule it out until she's tried it. Auto Miatas are BoOOOOOOOOOOOoooring.
Yea, it just ruins the fact that I don't shift the car for 40 min of my 45 min drive. Top down, good handling, light weight, good looks- you just loose one aspect of shifting.

One of the three Miatae in my stable at one point was a 91 slushbox. It was an absolutely terrible car and the transmission sucked 80% of the magic out of driving it.

Wowak
Wowak SuperDork
5/14/10 11:49 a.m.
JFX001 wrote: I considered this for the daughter...but her uber-cool ork dork cello case will not fit in one...

Not with the top up, anyway...

psteav
psteav Reader
5/14/10 12:41 p.m.

In reply to Wowak:

I could see how a 1.6 auto would not be much fun. IIRC, they were rated at 100 bhp from the factory...which means you're putting all of about 80 to the wheels. Meh.

My parents have a '94 with a 1.8/auto, and despite the fact that I really didn't want to like it....it's not bad. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool manual transmission fan, but as automatics go, it doesn't suck. The butt dyno says it would probably keep up with my stock 1.6/manual car, at least around town. It shifts crisply, downshifts when it should and holds gears nicely. If you have to have an automatic, it's not a bad one to have.

integraguy
integraguy HalfDork
5/14/10 12:54 p.m.

For the folks who don't believe you can or can not reach a clutch pedal....something to think about is the steering wheel reach. For some folks, to get the steering wheel to seat relation "right" it can mean moving the seat further back than it would for a taller driver. This is critical for women. When I was in high school (40 years ago) I was nearly the same height as my sister, yet when I tried to drive her car I always had to move the seat back AND recline the back to get far enough away from the wheel. We were both tall, but her arms weren't "built" like mine.

Vigo
Vigo Reader
5/14/10 1:48 p.m.
Top down, good handling, light weight, good looks- you just loose one aspect of shifting.

You also lose what little acceleration the car had to begin with. Ive driven a 1.6/auto and found it to be a travesty.

Put it this way.. Ive also driven an auto rx8, and that's LESS of a travesty. Wow.

miwifri
miwifri New Reader
5/14/10 1:57 p.m.

NO TO THE AUTOMATIC IN A MIATA! ANYBODY can learn to drive a standard. Your wife will learn just like my wife and daughter learned and the fun factor will go way up for her too.

Using an automatic transmission in a Miata is like trying to have sex through a shower curtain.

alfadriver
alfadriver Dork
5/14/10 1:59 p.m.
Vigo wrote:
Top down, good handling, light weight, good looks- you just loose one aspect of shifting.
You also lose what little acceleration the car had to begin with. Ive driven a 1.6/auto and found it to be a travesty. Put it this way.. Ive also driven an auto rx8, and that's LESS of a travesty. Wow.

So you take a reasonably quick car, and make it slightly less quick. One that's still more than capable of not only keeping up in traffic, but can still take on ramps quicker than most cars, late brake, apex, etc etc etc.

Big deal. We are not talking baby seal killing. We are talking an auto Miata vs. something like and auto sedan or coupe of any type.

Again, auto miata is better than no miata any day of the week, more so for the average driver. There's more to a car's appeal than the transmission.

Still, the OP asked which auto to get, and it's pretty clear that the 1.6 would be the lowest on the list. My personal preference would be an NB, but I do like my '99 better than the '95 that preceded it. YMMV.

Eric

neon4891
neon4891 SuperDork
5/14/10 2:03 p.m.

Dont turbos work better with autos, as in you don't let off the gas when you shift?

My constructive $.02

foxtrapper
foxtrapper SuperDork
5/14/10 2:23 p.m.
integraguy wrote: For the folks who don't believe you can or can not reach a clutch pedal....something to think about is the steering wheel reach. For some folks, to get the steering wheel to seat relation "right" it can mean moving the seat further back than it would for a taller driver. This is critical for women. When I was in high school (40 years ago) I was nearly the same height as my sister, yet when I tried to drive her car I always had to move the seat back AND recline the back to get far enough away from the wheel. We were both tall, but her arms weren't "built" like mine.

Again, the clutch pedal is no lower than the gas pedal. What you're talking about is general to pedals, not simply the clutch pedal. The claim about not being able to press the clutch pedal down, while certainly being able to press the gas pedal down, is not real. Unless the gal has unequal legs.

Coming from a family of short and well endowed women, I'm well used to dealing with seating problems for them. Not once has any of them driven with the seats scooted further back than a tall driver places it. In fact the older ones use the "steering wheel stabilizers" to their advantage.

Xceler8x
Xceler8x Dork
5/14/10 2:56 p.m.
foxtrapper wrote: In fact the older ones use the "steering wheel stabilizers" to their advantage.

Would this be refer'ed to as Bumpsteer?

Capt Slow
Capt Slow HalfDork
5/14/10 3:00 p.m.
neon4891 wrote: Dont turbos work better with autos, as in you don't let off the gas when you shift? My constructive $.02

no not really. The problem with turbo's and autos is you compound the lag.

ie. you step on the gas wait and hour or two for the transmission to realize you want to go fast and drop a gear...

then you get to wait another hour for your turbo to spin up before you get all your boost...

of course by then that straightaway has totally disappeared while you were waiting for your tranny and turbo to pull their heads out of their butts...

turboswede
turboswede SuperDork
5/14/10 4:16 p.m.

Capt?

You're wrong. I say this because you're driving the car wrong. That or you've been driving turbocharged cars with turbo's that are way too damned big for the motors.

Put your foot into it and at the sametime, downshift the auto manually. Boost should be nearly instantaneous. Remove foot when pass or hill is cleared.

If you're road racing or autocrossing, learn to left foot brake to build the boost up shortly before corner exit and by loading the torque converter, you can slingshot out of the corner fairly well (or generate a pretty good amount of smoke, heh).

thedude
thedude Reader
5/14/10 4:24 p.m.
Keith
Keith SuperDork
5/14/10 4:26 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: Again, auto miata is better than no miata any day of the week, more so for the average driver. There's more to a car's appeal than the transmission.

Agreed. We have a number of customers with automatic Miatas for various reasons.

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