You know, this is serious business, this car world we gearheads inhabit. Our discussions are momentous. The faults we find in ourselves and others can have lifelong repercussions. Don’t get us started on the Serious. Technical. Flaws. that still bother us in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. So it’s nice when a car company decides to have a little fun. Especially when that bit of humor actually helps to answer A. Very. Serious. Question. How to respond when someone asks “can I borrow your Miata?”
Now, to me, this is the absolute peak of Very. Serious. Questions. Yes, it’s because I am a gearhead, and even more so, it is because I am a Miata owner. Asking to borrow someone’s car is like asking to borrow their surfboard or their guitar or their spouse. It is a bad idea, nine times out of ten, and that tenth time better involve your house being on fire, the Mafia ransoming your cat, and Jason Momoa running off with your wife all in the same afternoon. If you ask to borrow my car, specifically my Miata, my response would involve a swift and righteous swing of that jeroboam of champagne up-side your fool head for even thinking about . . . just a second . . . got to cool down . . . go to my happy place . . . calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean . . . ah, there, that’s better.
What was I saying? Yes. Car companies with a sense of humor.
Mazda, the Hiroshima-based automotive concern that pretty much singlehandedly saved the lightweight sports car from oblivion in 1990, is the subject of a new, rather hysterical decision tree graphic to help you figure out if you should ever lend your Miata to someone. The whole thing was cooked up by RealMazdaParts.com, one of the largest online retailers of OEM Mazda replacement parts and accessories, and it’s hilariously tongue-in-cheek. The flow chart exists to help “Miata owners make an educated decision about whether or not to loan their car to a friend.” They correctly label the whole procedure as being “stress-inducing” and they got that right. But an educated decision? How educated do you have to be?
It turns out there are, well, let’s call them subtleties involved in sussing out the potential dangers of whom you’re loaning your Miata to. Bob Cockerham, Director of RealMazdaParts.com wisely says, “for instance, if your friend used to be a professional BMX racer, that’s probably not someone you want to hand the keys to.” No duh, Sherlock. Cockerham elaborates: “if that friend has a 4-a-day energy drink habit and owns the The Fast and the Furious box set, the decision tree indicates that you would be wise to decline.”
If a “friend” of mine owns that box set and consumes Red Bulls at a 4-a-day rate, I’d be reconsidering the entire friendship; unless that box set is owned ironically and they’re an IT professional. In which case that 4-a-day habit strikes me as being a little on the low side. Cutting to the chase, Cockerham sums the whole question up thusly: “According to our decision tree, there’s never a good reason to lend your Miata. To anyone. Ever.”
Please note this decision tree from RealMazdaParts.com only applies to Miatas. If you own a pickup, wagon, or van you are already (or will soon be) very used to handing the keys over to “friends” you didn’t even know you had.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias toward lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.