Now that March Madness is over, for me spring can begin. At least where I live, the conclusion of those three exciting weekends of college basketball always spells the end of the cold winter and the beginning of warmer weather. But even as I was glued to the television watching a buzzer beater or an overtime game, spring was springing.
Quietly while I was indoors, plant growth was coming to life slowly pushing green shoots upward from the soil even as reminders of winter—dead leaves—were still lurking along the borders of our porch. Spring means flowers blooming, trees budding, and grass returning from the brown to lush green. But spring also means…
…glorious top-down weather.
Unless you own a convertible, you cannot appreciate this additional benefit of warmer weather. But for those that do, you know exactly what I mean. The thrill of getting to drive and experience spring not just through your windshield, but everywhere you look with an unencumbered 360 degree view of nature waking from its hibernation all around you.
And this year, I had an extra treat—access to two convertibles.
Over the winter, my youngest son returned my 1994 white Miata in order to borrow another one of my cars, a hardtop, because he said it was too cold and no fun to drive a convertible in the winter (which I agree with and which is why I have my “summer car” and my “winter car”). Suddenly, I again had a varietal choice for my daily drive—red or white?
But beyond just a color choice, these two cars have different characteristics, not the least of which is their age difference.
For a 22 year-old car with nearly 150,000 miles, it is still a blast to drive. Sure it has its squeaks and rattles, not uncommon for a car into its third decade, and sounds that normally would drive me crazy. But the original Miata (known as M1 to Miata aficionados) has the most wonderful exhaust note that just has not been replicated in any of the subsequent models. (The first time my youngest son drove it; he asked me if I had put a performance exhaust system on it; no I replied, it’s stock.) So whenever the squeaks get on my nerves, all I have to do is punch the accelerator a little and the still peppy engine gives me an exhilarating boost of speed as it transmits that wonderful, satisfying sound through the muffler.
And for days or weeks when the weather is not going to be so accommodating for top-down driving (i.e., cold or rainy), then my 2002 red M2 becomes my daily driver. Even with nearly 100,000 miles on it, it still has tight suspension and few rattles or squeaks. And with ABS brakes and a heated, rear glass window; it is more suitable for cold, rainy weather. And at the end of the workday, if the weather has improved, then I can drop the top for a fun drive home.
But if where you are reading this, winter hasn’t ended yet and you are still awaiting the day when you can put the top down on your convertible (the day I took these springtime pictures, my brother who lives in the northeast, actually sent me a video of snow falling out his back window), I can but offer you these few images of spring in the south. Hopefully this will tide you over until the day you too can get out and do some long overdue glorious top-down driving.