Jinba Ittai, or “Horse and rider as one” is the design philosophy behind the latest version of the Mazda MX5 sports car, and it has particular significance for me as I have rheumatoid arthritis. It is seven years since I felt at one with anything as this disease has reduced me from running 4 miles a day, to barely being able to walk. I had reached the point of total desperation despite all the efforts of a dedicated medical team, I was finding it increasingly difficult to drive and was effectively housebound. Then, one Friday night, our Mazda dealer advertised an MX5 with the new automatic 6 speed paddle shift transmission in our local paper. Could I even get into it? Should I really be getting a mobility scooter? Was this the silliest idea I had ever had?
The next day was warm and sunny and the MX5 sat outside the showroom with the roof down; I was instantly smitten. I could get in and out easily and it was so painless to drive. I needed independent advice so I sent a photo (above) of the car to my son in London with the simple question,”Should I buy this car?” The reply arrived instantly, “Of course you should!” Two weeks later we drove it home.
Before I bought the MX5 I rarely went out, I was gradually becoming more and more housebound because of the problems of driving with a manual gearbox. This little car is an absolute delight, I actually feel physically better for driving it. It has heated seats and a powerful climate control system and I can drive 20 miles with the roof down in freezing temperatures and be as warm as toast. The 6 speed automatic transmission is very responsive and the car is blisteringly fast, with tremendous handling. Jeremy Clarkson, in his road test of the MX5, gave it 5 out of 5 stars, but he said he only gave it 5 stars because he couldn’t give it 14!
I now love driving and try to get out every day and enjoy the beautiful countryside of the North Yorkshire Moors where I live, and with the roof down of course. I am still ill, rheumatoid arthritis has no cure, but my quality of life has improved immeasurably and now I spend much time with a silly grin on my face!
So this is a blog about the MX5, places to go and things to do with the roof down in North Yorkshire and how the world appears to an old man in a fast car, I hope you enjoy it.