British Motor Car Club of Fear – May 5, 2018

Dear CFMC Members

The CFMC is sponsoring the subject car show on May 5, 2018. If you are interested in entering your Miata MX-5, the registration fee prior to March 31st is $25.00. The fee is $30.00 after the 31st.

As host for this event, my goal is to have at least one representative from each generation (NA, NB, NC, and ND) including at least one PRHT and one RF. I have already received two and possibly three commitments. Ron Carmichael plans to enter his NC 2015 25th Anniversary Special Edition and Leon Rooks has offered to enter his NA 1994 M8. The Williamson’s might enter their NB 2001 British Racing Green Special Edition.

John is a co-commissioner of the BMCCF car show and will not be available to enter his car, but Trudy might. If not,I have offered to enter their car on their behalf ☺. Seriously, I have. At any rate, I have attached information and a registration form* for this event. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT IF YOU PLAN ON REGISTERING YOUR MX-5 MIATA THAT YOU ENTER IT UNDER CLASS Z. Also, if wish to enter your MX-5, please copy me on your request so that I have a list of members who are entering their MX-5.

More details will follow including background information from John Williamson on the BMCCF car show. There are also discussions on having a picnic at the show. To start with, the Pane’s have offered to set up their party tent. More to follow.

Tom Pane
CFMC Secretary and CFMC host for the BMCCF Car Show Event

*Note: registration form can also be downloaded off the BMCCF website at

Tech Column by Paul Reinmann

My top replacement, 3X and counting…
My rag top has now been replaced three times due to rips at the pull straps that help fold the top when putting it down. That means I now have the third new replacement top. I thought all was well when (Play the music from Jaws) I found this top now ripping again in the same place. I notified the shop and await their response.
One question to you is do you have a soft top and what is the condition of your pull straps? I have to wonder if these tend to rip part way and then stop. In this case no one would notice as the top would still fold nicely when going down regardless of the straps ripped partly. I am a stickler for expecting things to work as they should. I am not giving up on this! Your input will help me understand this.
To check the condition of your straps, open the top to about the balance point and look at each side. At the crease point there is the strap pulling the top to a fold. Look carefully to see the pull straps. See attached pictures to see how mine have ripped.

SKYACTIV-X New Engine Technology
Mazda is exploring a new technology in engine design. They call it SKYACTIV-X; a compression ignition engine they say is coming soon. When In MX5? No news on this yet.
Basically a compression ignition engine is how a diesel engine operates. No spark plugs, the energy of compression ignites the fuel. Instead of timing spark as in a gasoline engine, the combustion in a compression ignition engine is timed by the injection of the fuel.

See links for more detailed info. groupone#!mazda-skyactiv-x-engine

Secretary’s Column – December 2017

Clearing off my desk I find that there are a few items of importance that will require some action by the Club before the end of the year. There are elections coming in January at the Annual General Meeting and Holiday Party to be held on January 6th. The nominating committee has announced a slate of officers and chairs to be voted on at the upcoming January meeting. Members of the nominating committee are:

John Harris, Chair
David Moyer
Trudy Williamson

They have placed in nomination the following members for the positions indicated.

Ron Carmichael – President

Rick Judson – Vice President

Tom Pane – Secretary

Mary Sue Wahl – Treasurer

Paul Reinmann – Activities Chair

Trudy Williamson – Membership Chair

Ken Badoian – Ragtop Tales Chair (editor). This is a new position formerly under the Secretary.

Other nominations for the above positions may be submitted to the nominating committee on or before the Annual General Meeting.

Members attending the Annual General Meeting will also vote on changes to the Club By-laws. Those proposed changes are as shown in the November issue of the RTT under the minutes of the Quarterly General Meeting held in October.

“The President has proposed that term limits be examined for members of The Board. This would require a change in the By-Laws. Tom Pane recommend that term limits also apply to all Committee Chairs, i.e. Activities Committee Chair and Membership Chair. Ken’s proposal is to have two year terms with the option of an additional one or two year extension. The position of President and Secretary would not be voted on in the same year. This would also apply to the Vice President and Treasurer. “

An Executive Committee meeting to formalize the changes in the By-laws was first proposed for November, but now will be held at a time and date in December yet to be confirmed.

The other change in the By-laws concerns the new chair position for the RTT newsletter editor. Currently the RTT editor position falls under the duties and responsibilities of the Secretary.

Purple Feet Festival

Coffee Social – November 2017

A Coffee Social was held on November 4th at Bitty and Beau’s. Our newest members, Bill & Martha Fay joined the Club on the day of the event and Joel & Sarah Wiltgen and Bob & Suzanne Seiwell joined shortly after this event.

A few pictures follow from our November Coffee Social.


Mazda MX-5 Miata – A Story of its Origin

Mazda often reminds us that the MX-5 Miata is the world’s favorite two-seat roadster, with more than a million sales since 1989. While total Corvette production is higher—one million by 1992, over 1.6 million to date—coupes outnumber convertibles in ‘Vette’ land by a wide margin.

What Mazda is less vociferous to share is exactly how the Miata came to be. Why did the company add a second “zoom” to its lineup when the rotary-powered RX-7 already existed in coupe and convertible form? While it rarely happens in the car biz, the Miata is the brainchild of one person: Bob Hall, a fine-threaded car nut. The yarn that follows is our shrine to this creative soul.

Bob and his twin brother, Jim, were born in 1953 and grew up enjoying Southern California’s sun, sand, and surf (before the traffic become oppressive). Their father developed a passion for British sports cars during his service flying B-25 bombers. The MGs, Triumphs, and Austin-Healeys he owned over the years mesmerized the Hall boys, especially after their indulgent pop let them enjoy the feel of a responsive steering wheel at a premature age. While their peers tossed baseballs or pedaled bicycles, the Hall brothers polished their driving techniques in the Rose Bowl parking lots near their home.

After high school graduation, Bob enjoyed a six-week visit to Japan as an exchange student, resulting in the second twist in his psyche. Fascinated by Asian culture, he learned Japanese by listening to movie dialogue and by reading Japanese comic books with a dictionary in hand. On subsequent returns to the Land of the Rising Sun, Hall polished his second language and absorbed the nuances of Japanese culture. During a break from college studies, Hall convinced Motor Trend’s editor that he knew more about Japanese cars than anyone currently on staff and proved his point by submitting an unsolicited manuscript. The insights contained therein earned him a position at the magazine at age 20.

Visiting Japan while representing that publication, Hall enjoyed an audience with Kenichi Yamamoto, Mazda’s head of R&D, and their frank dialogue was the beginning of a long professional friendship. Shortly after Hall hopped from Motor Trend to AutoWeek in 1978, Yamamoto asked Hall what kind of cars Mazda should consider for the future. This was exactly the opening this animated enthusiast needed to bombard the Mazda product planner with his brainstorm.

“I shifted into overdrive,” Hall recalls. “While Mazda’s RX-7 [launched in 1978] is an A-plus sports car, the bugs-in-teeth, wind-in-hair classically British sportsters were expiring. My idea was to revive that category by recasting Mazda’s 323 rear-drive econobox as a two-seat roadster. Unfortunately, Yamamoto put on his poker face, so I had no idea what he thought of my idea. After a brief discussion, we moved on to other subjects.”

Mazda’s RX-7 was essentially a half-priced Porsche 924. What Hall had in mind was a more rudimentary two-seater to replace the British and Italian models fading from the U.S. market. While the notion of Mazda offering two sports cars wasn’t preposterous, that strategy was unlikely to be seriously considered in-house. Nor was it something your average auto journo might propose.

To fertilize the seed he’d planted, Hall espoused the need for more sports cars in AutoWeek and convinced a Car and Driver writer—me—to support his cause on the editorial front. After three years as AutoWeek’s West Coast editor, Hall joined Mazda’s California R&D organization as a product planner. In 1981, he was shocked when Yamamoto turned to him during a visit to say, “Hey Bob, what about your lightweight sports car? Why don’t you study that?”

Without hesitating, he did. An early ’82 position paper Hall submitted to Mazda’s planning department proposed recycling existing components—a four-cylinder engine, manual transmission, rear axle, possibly even an existing floor pan—to minimize cost. A year later, his idea became an off-line project not slated for production. While the Japanese favored either a front-engine/front-drive or mid-engine/rear-drive coupe, the U.S. team held firm on a front-engine/rear-drive roadster or nothing. This is when the obsessive Hall earned his Ikigai nickname, a Japanese word meaning the reason why one is put on earth.


The wheels that would result in the Miata began turning slowly but steadily. Designer Mark Jordan sketched the exterior as a junior Ferrari. The British consulting firm IAD built a running mule using the Mazda 323’s engine and an RX-7’s solid rear axle. Hall did his part by nudging his colleagues to stay on the case. Japanese designer Masao Yagi shifted the exterior in the Lotus Élan direction, from classic Italian to classic British. The project’s status advanced to the unapproved production model stage.

In late 1985, Yamamoto climbed the corporate ladder to become Mazda’s president. One of his first acts was recommending the lightweight sports car to his board of directors for production approval. His request was granted and Toshihiko Hirai became the chief engineer responsible for the Miata’s development. Hall had mixed emotions—excitement that his baby was final kicking, fear that Hirai might take the car in an unsavory direction.

Fortunately, the original inspiration survived the gestation process. The Miata name came from a German word meaning “reward.” Only a few components were recycled from existing models. The body was tidy and the chassis featured front and rear independent control arm suspensions, a first for Mazda. The 1.6-liter 16-valve four-cylinder engine produced 115 horsepower, enough to move this 2150-pound roadster with sufficient pep.

At the first hands-on driving opportunity in early 1989, journalists appreciated the special attention paid to cockpit ergonomics, the short-throw shifter, nicely tuned control efforts, and astute steering calibrations. The new Miata was light on its feet, toss-able, and easily controlled beyond the adhesion limit. In other words, it embodied every essential sports car characteristic and more. The top could be raised or lowered from the driver’s seat during a stop-light pause. The exterior gave a respectful nod to the Lotus Élan without wallowing in retro. The $14,000 base price—less than a four-cylinder Ford Mustang convertible—was irresistible. Car and Driver’s succinct assessment: delightful.

While the second- and third-generation cars lost some of the original verve, an aggressive diet and tidier dimensions for the fourth generation introduced three years ago brought this Mazda back on track. Current U.S. sales total a thousand or so Miata’s per month.

A dozen years at Mazda were enough for Hall. He departed the U.S. in 2000 to become an independent consultant in Australia before serving as Malaysian car maker Proton’s product development director for seven years. Significantly, Proton held controlling interest in Lotus until recently. Five years ago, Hall returned to Southern California and is currently the acting design director at the South Pasadena-based design facility of Geely, owner of Volvo and, in a full-circle coincidence, future majority stakeholder of Lotus. You can bet your bottom dollar he’s itching to get in on the Lotus planning as soon as the ink dries on that deal.

This article was submitted by John Williamson for the Ragtop Tales CFMC newsletter. The entire article (more pictures) can be found on

A CFMC “Out of this World” Event

CFMC Eclipse Event took place on August 21, 2017 at Hopsewee Plantation, South Carolina.

This was a first time occasion for most of us. We’ve seen lunar eclipses but few had experienced a solar eclipse. We had a great turnout with 15 members participating in eight cars (six were Miata’s).

We arrived at Hopsewee Plantation ahead of the first obscuration of the sun with time to get settled under the shade of a great live oak tree.

The skies were mostly clear with many views of the eclipse forming, up to two minutes before totality. We saw the gradual effects of the sun being shaded with less heat (solar) felt on us even though there was still sun shining. It got darker more rapidly at the last few minutes; crickets began chirping, it got noticeably cooler, then, oops, a cloud came in.

We all had our sun viewing glasses which were quite fashionable and allowed us to view the eclipse progressing.

Also several people had telescopes with special view screens. One guy was a real pro and provided us with the best technical info.

Everyone enjoyed the food provided by Hopsewee Plantation chefs. Rebecca and I sampled the low country platter and the chicken wings done many ways. It went down well with one of their local beers. They also provided a band and some of us were seen on the dance floor before the eclipse started.

We also brought eclipse cookies Rebecca made to provide our group with a special treat.

We had a great time and then departed for Conway for dinner. The traffic was a bit worse then what we saw traveling down and it took us three hours to reach the Crafty Rooster when it normally would have taken just one hour!

Our dinners included meals of buffalo chicken balls, quesadillas, and kick-in chili. Dave Moyer and I tried the chicken bog which I had never heard of. Dave, a self-proclaimed bog aficionado, says this was of the best he’d ever had. And I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

We all left for home, some individually and some in small groups. We had clear roadways all the way from this point and enjoyed top down driving all the way home.

Everyone enjoyed the day although the traffic at times was more than I hoped for. Next eclipse event we’ll plan a sleepover.

Attending were: the Panes, Wahl’s, Felice’s, Judson’s, Lee’s, Henion’s, Reinmann’s and Dave Moyer.