Emma – the 4-wheel Motorcycle

February 2016, I added a hardtop to Emma’s equipment. After looking for a while (and having a discouraging experience with a flaky seller on a OEM ‘BRG’ hardtop), I found one in a color that compliments her colors. Have a look!

October 2015, we headed down to Monterey for the fantastic annual ‘Miata’s at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca’ event! Check it out here: https://foothillryder.com/emma-the-4-wheel-motorcycle/miatas-at-mrls-2015/

August 2015, Emma and I headed out again, to Baker City, Oregon for Jim and Penny Devlin’s ‘Dooley Mountain Ride’. Read more about it here: https://foothillryder.com/road-trip-to-baker-city-oregon-august-2015/

June 2015, Emma and I headed out on an 8-day, 2400 mile road trip to the Southwest. Read more about it here: EMMA’S ROADSTER ROAD TRIP 1015

May 2015 – Emma joins up with the SabMag gang!

As you may have seen elsewhere on this site, Doreen and I have been hosting an event called the ‘SabMag West Spring Fling’ for our internet motorcycle friends for quite a few years (since 1999). This year, we changed things up a bit, called the event the ‘Gold Country Gathering’, and Emma got her first taste of the event.

Enjoy the highlights!

GCG15-High Resolution from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.


I’ve been migrating to Peppermint Six (Linux), and learning the tools native to the OS so I can wean myself off of Windows. The best video editing tool is KdenLive, and I’ve been working on this ‘Emma Project’. Here it is!

The Emma Project – phase 1 from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.

First ‘complex’ project in KDenlive under the Peppermint Six OS. An accounting of our first six months with ‘Emma’, our 2001 Miata SE/BRG.


February 16, 2015

So, the wife and I knew we wanted a Miata, even that we wanted an NB; but we’d gone out and seen/driven several of them over the past few weeks and been less than impressed. Either they were cosmetically ‘challenged’ (not dents and major damage, just not clean enough) or they didn’t drive well. So we’ve kept our feelers out, and even had our local ‘guy’ watching the auctions for us. Then, last night I saw a dealer ad that popped up. A bit higher mileage than the ones we’d looked at; but we had an errand to run that was only a few miles away from the dealer, so we decided to pop over for a look.

OMG. I really wanted green with a tan roof and interior, and this baby literally jumped into my arms. The dealer is a ‘Miata guy’, owns two himself (and proudly showed me his rather large ‘portfolio’ of mods and upgrades), and he told me that he’d driven this one for two weeks before putting it on the lot – and if it had stayed there one week he would have bought it himself.

Emma is a 2001 ‘Special Edition BRG’, complete with the fantastic interior bits, the fancy Bose audio, the strut brace, the chrome wheels (in perfect condition). #339 of 3000 built (only available one year). Like I said, OMG.

Here she is, just after we arrived at home after a fantastic 65-mile ‘run through the canyons’:


Ain’t she purty?

Because she’s an ‘SE’ model, the interior is dressed up beautifully with the ‘Nardi Torino’ steering wheel, gear shift knob, and handbrake handle, plus the wood trim on the dash.


‘Special Edition’ interior is NICE

She’s in remarkably good shape for a 14-year old car with nearly 160,000 miles!


Fantastic form!

Even the engine bay is nearly spotless. She’s been babied.


Everything under here is bone stock. She’s been a ‘kept woman’

And the top, like the rest of her, is in superb condition (no doubt replaced)


Love the look, even with the top up.

Just to be sure, I took her down to my favorite mechanic for a thorough checkup which she passed with only a couple of expected recommendations.


A little checkup, just to make sure she keeps me happily on the road!

Next up will be fitting the GoPro video gear!

Okay, this first video test didn’t work out all that well. I attempted to use two ‘suction cup’ mounts, both on the inside of the windshield. The in-car shot wasn’t too bad (although I didn’t care for the view); but the forward-looking shot was too bouncy, and the audio was really bad because the camera housing was bouncing against the glass – so I muted all of the audio and added some music.

Emma Miata’s First Test Video from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.


There’s a fun game on the Miata.net forum called “Where Is That Miata?”, in which players post pictures of buildings/landmarks, etc. and other players try to identify the photo. So, in this case, someone posted a photo of a very old and historic hotel – which I recognized. I posted my (correct) answer, and since I’m only 10 Miata minutes away, I drove down and took this photo of Emma.


Since it’s fun roads all the way there, I also shot some video.

Emma Goes to Volcano from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.

Top reconditioned:


Renovo works well!

Then I went after the few scratches and gave her a coat of Meguiar’s Gold:

Emma0305 006s Emma0305 001s Emma0305 002s Emma0305 005s

3/19/2015 – Emma is being driven regularly, and we’re in a ‘find the niggly bugs and fix them’ mode. I want her to be 100% for a few road trips I have planned. One of the components in the car that was ‘original’ (and a potential source of failure) was the catalytic convertor. At nearly 160,000 miles, it was one of those ‘probably should replace’ things. At the same time, there were two very small leaks at two switches on the transmission. There were never any ‘drops’ under her; but there was the smell of something hot/burning when returning from a drive. So…

In order to replace the cat and – at the same time – gain a little more ‘tone’ for the lady, I did some research and purchased a Roadster Sport 3 ‘cat-back’ system and a new Roadster Sport muffler. Here are a few pics from Emma’s session with Uncle Don.

EmmaRS3 003s

The RS3 and RS Muffler installed. Frame braces were left off for this ‘photo op’.



The old (original equipment) muffler.

EmmaRS3 002s

Roadster Sport bits on the bottom, replacing OE bits on top.

We were out and about a couple days ago.

EmmaDrive0315 002s EmmaDrive0315 001s

and another set…

We truly live in 'Miata Heaven'!

We truly live in ‘Miata Heaven’!


and a video to go with the last two…

Out and About – Irishtown and Clinton from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.

And today she got what we hope is the ‘final’ maintenance service, getting a new timing belt, idler, seals, water pump (which was leaking) and coolant hoses (which were original). While the hood was up she also got a nice new K&N ‘Typhoon’ intake to compliment the Roadster Sport exhaust system.

Emma Intake

The K&N intake adds a bit of ‘flair’ to the engine bay, a bit of ‘tone’ to her sound, and a few horses to her output.

I tried a couple of different ‘clamp’ mounts in an attempt to capture a forward-looking cockpit view on video. They really didn’t work well, as the clamps didn’t keep the camera steady enough. So I posted on the Miata.net forum, and got an answer I should have thought of myself (but didn’t). Here’s a quick clip.

Quick test – Suction cup on rear deck for cockpit view from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.

The audio isn’t sorted (too much wind noise); but then I had the camera in the ‘skeleton’ housing instead of the standard housing. I have an adapter on the way that will allow me to mount two cameras ‘back-to-back’ and capture both front and rear views.

On April 12th, Doe and I took Emma out to meet up with the folks from the Sacramento Area Miata Owners Association (SAMOA). They would be on their annual “Into the Crater” run, coming up from Sacramento headed for Volcano, which is close to us. We would join up with the group about halfway on their journey, over in Plymouth. While we were over there I grabbed a couple of shots of Emma parked out in front of what will be a new ‘Boutique Hotel’ our friends Mark and Tracy are building, called ‘Rest’.

Emma at Rest

This will be a new ‘Boutique Hotel’ called ‘Rest’

and I shot some video while Doe caught a few more stills on the drive with SAMOA.

Emma Joins the Club! from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.

After many trial runs and much consternation, I may finally have arrived at a decent process for capturing the wonderful sound Emma makes with her ‘tone’ mods! Using the cheapest possible microphone – a $1.99 condenser-type with an integral windsock and clip (a ‘lavalier’ mic) – with the mic wrapped in a medium-sized microfiber towel, stuffed into the ‘deck bag’ behind the seats, I captured the audio you hear in this video clip:

Emma’s Got TONE! from FoothillRyder on Vimeo.



Stay tuned!

  1. nwick (on Miata.net) Norm

    Top down, Windows down.

  2. Very cool!! It looks every bit as good as my 08 GT. I noticed the chrome fuel filler door. Did you get that or did it come on the car when you bought it? Moss Miata sells them. I though about one but am no sure if they are made really cheap or not. What do you think of yours?


    • Thanks Jerry. The chrome fuel filler door was on the car when I got it (five days ago), and I’ve only filled it once. It seems to be made pretty well, although it did seem to take some ‘fiddling’ with the release to get it to pop up. This may easily have been me getting used to the release, since it was the first time and all. 😉

  3. BFG G-Force Sport tires?

  1. Pingback: 4 wheels can be fun too! | foothillryder

  2. Pingback: New member from Pioneer, CA - ClubRoadster.net

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