Yipes, Stripes! - 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long-Term Road Test

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Yipes, Stripes!

January 31, 2011

Momo steering wheel with stripe 

Well, I've been off the track and spinning in the grass before myself, windlassing the steering wheel left and right with the windshield wipers going (as inevitably happens as your desperate hands brush the control stalk) while desperately trying to get the car straightened out. That's when you find yourself kind of wondering which way the front tires are actually pointed.

Which is why racers -- especially rally guys and off-road racers -- like to have a stripe on the rim of the steering wheel. Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh knows this, and in fact he races a Miata himself in the 24 Hours of LeMons. So he has a good reason for picking out a Momo steering wheel for this car that has the racer's stripe on the rim.

And yet as short and responsive as the MX-5 is, most steering corrections are a matter of just a few inches of input. It's not the kind of car that really gets very far out of shape in a corner.

So when I saw the racer's stripe on this steering wheel, it made me wonder just how bad things would have to be in a Miata that you'd be wondering which way the front tires were pointing. Probably things would have to be really, really bad.

Of course, maybe Kavanagh just drives the Mazda a lot harder than I do. (Note to self: Don't ride with Kavanagh, especially in the Miata.)

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 124,711 miles

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