1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 20th Century Relics

August 30, 2011

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: 20th Century Relics

Remember these? Of course you do. Someone probably stole one from you at one time. This is what radios used to look like before manufacturers pretty much abandoned the DIN standard and began tying as many vital vehicle systems as possible into a once-simple electronics bus. Marvel at them while you can. They won't be around much longer.

Fortunately our Miata is from a simpler time, when congressional leaders impeached presidents for moral dalliances and Y2K programmers prepared to immobilize civilization at the stroke of one special midnight. Actually, our Miata's Sony is a fairly advanced aftermarket unit, offering Bluetooth hands-free phone and streaming audio, and an Aux In jack. It's even set up for HD Radio. It may be the smartest piece of gear in the car.

Too lazy to re-read the manual section about pairing, and missing a 1/8-inch mini cable, I grabbed a CD on the way out the door. No forgetting a sync cable, no USB thumb drive to accidentally drop down the e-brake cavity. No remembering if I'd imported some tracks to my phone, my iPod, neither or both. Just some round polycarbonate with 70 minutes worth of uncompressed audio. Simple. Like the Miata.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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