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Sunday Nov 03, 2002 

 A long, long time ago I was involved in some minor race cars and spend a bit of time at the track.   However, over the last 25 years I’ve been too busy to really build and enjoy  a car. I need to have a hobby that has nothing to do with work or the house, its time to build a car.
So we begin ... with my partners Glenn and Martin if they can find the time to help construct a ‘new’ car to go racing.

Now the question became what could we afford and still have a good time. So off to Lime Rock Connecticut to hawk out the different classes of cars.

At first we really liked the SRF cars, they are open cockpit cars that are built to specs that cause them all to be very much alike and are not very expensive .. Ok, they cost about $25,000 new and $18,000 used ... a bit much for a couple guys that are just looking to have some fun.  After all we don’t want this to become work .. this is a hobby.

After a second trip up to Lime Rock and talking to drivers of both the SRF and Spec Miata we decided that Spec Miata would be the way to go.

So .. off to bid on Miatas’ on Ebay ... now this is a kind of trip in itself .. people will bid on cars that they have never seen, looking at pictures .. that may or may not be current and believing what the people say about the cars. Pretty scary .. but I bid anyway.  I’m out bid on two cars, and a third auction is removed for some legal reasons. Now I’m  beginning to wonder. And all of a sudden there’s a Porsche 914 on EBay with a really good set of pictures (this should be a clue) and claiming to be just shipped from California and had no rust ...Ok ..I know all these things can’t really happen .. but it sounded good. I decided not to bid .. I called the guy .. gave him an amount and said I would be up there on Saturday to pick it up.

OFF TO GET THE PORSCHE I get a trailer and a tow vehicle from our friend Vince at the Print Center.  Again, Thanks Vince .. .So, bright and early on Saturday morning Glenn, Martin and I set out for a 3 hour drive to go get the ‘Porsche’.

OK, well it seems that this car did come from California, and it had little rust .. that’s because it had been welded back together (and not well) ...we counted at least 5 different cars had been donors for this patchwork of a car.  Now, if the work had been good than of course we still would have taken the car, but the people that had pieced it together only had a slight clue as to what it should really look like ... needless to say we passed, so 6 hours on the road and we came back with a empty trailer.

THE WIFE FACTOR
 All the time the above is occurring of course the wife(s) have had a few things to say about their opinions about going racing .. mostly cost and is it safe .. of course we say that it doesn’t cost much ... and of course its very safe. But here we are coming home with an empty trailer .. this could work against us. So all the way home, we are checking out every single car on the side of the road for sale .. NOTE: there is an amazing amount of Chrysler ‘K’ cars in the northeast in front yards for sale.

BACK TO EBAY
Ok, now Glenn and I are back on
Ebay looking for a MIATA.  Lots of them there and the bidding gets a bit out of hand at times. Than I spot one that is only 45 minutes away and it looks really good (also its not Red).
I start to bid, but my brain says this is the car ... for the first two days the bidding goes well and I’m pretty happy .. than a dealer bids against me .. this same dealer beat me on another car just two weeks before ... I don’t have the time or desire to keep messing around .. so I send a private E-mail to the seller ...
“How much to sell the car today, cash and I’ll pick it up today” ..
He gives me a price. While its not cheap its still below our budget for the ‘base’ car .. and we have no shipping fees.

OFF TO GET THE MIATA
Glenn gets off work early and meets me at our company and off we go to pick up the Miata. No trailer this time, this is a full road able car. The person we are buying the car from works at a Mazda dealer, in the parts department .. now this is too good to believe. The car is in the back on a trailer and it looks really good .. not just nice .. but really, really nice.   Damn, a car that actually is as described, we must be dreaming.
We talk to the seller he shows us the damaged areas and what was repaired, seems the nose was a bit crushed on the right front so everything is new.  Both fenders, the hood, front bumper cover and all the braces .. and of course its all painted and looks great.

Now I use to manage a body shop so I pretty much can tell what is a good repair and what is a patch job, this car was all done the correct way.  So we had our car.

AND THE REAL TRIP BEGINS ...

Patrick Fanning
Hemanracing.com

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