1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

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1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Forced To Take a Breath

June 28, 2010

miata gearshifter.jpg

When I had our 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata for the weekend I was already well aware of the fact that 2nd gear needs to be babied. Correction, I forgot at first and then was promptly reminded when I was leaving our garage Friday evening. From then on, I tried oh-so hard to baby it. But still, there were times when the car was not ready to be upshifted and it would emit that nails-on-a-chalkboard grinding noise. Argh!

And for the rest of the weekend, every time I went to upshift to 2nd gear I found myself gritting my teeth in anticipation. So frustrating! Especially considering that usually I love blasting off the line from a stop. But, nooo, had to take my time with this one. That meant I couldn't be faster than the typical sleepy Angeleno driver.

Merging onto the freeway, I usually exploit my fellow drivers' slow reaction times to squirt past them, but couldn't do that here. And ended up being stuck in the wolfpack most of the time. Only cutting and thrusting through small openings and holding 1st gear longer than usual.

Project Miata guy, editor Jay Kavanagh, said that "even though this gearbox can be repaired (bad 2nd gear synchro), we have another one waiting in the wings." Thank gawd, because there's nothing more annoying than driving a car that needs to be driven briskly but...can't.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 177,717 miles

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