My first real job out of college, I spent my hard earned paycheck on a 1991 Black and Tan Miata.

This was my chance to finally learn how to wrench on a car on my own. I spent every month picking apart the brains of those in the local Orlando club learning how to do suspension, brakes, rollbars installation. Then it got to this point before I had enough of the leaks and started to do a motor rebuild.

But I was way over my head, it sat in the garage with it’s valve cover off for months. Then sprung a light of hope. My friends local shop would swap the 1.6 to a newer 1.8 motor for a good price once he found a donor engine.

I waited more months, moved homes, and took the non running miata “Skip” with me.

Finally after almost a year, the day arrived. It was time to drop it off and put in a fresh heart. A week later I got it back, with more displacement, and even A/C to beat the Florida heat!

I loved it driving it around in the February sunshine! This particular morning two weeks after it was looking perfect.

Then that afternoon driving home I’m stopped waiting to turn into my driveway when a freshly licensed teenager hits me at 50+mph.

The insurance company comes and offers me $400 Skip. I had to have it sitting in my garage in that state for 10 months going back and forth with Allstate, hiring my own appraiser to raise the value. I’ve had this car for years and love every minute driving it but now it’s almost had more time in the garage than on the road.

I bought and sold a few more cars in the mean time but I didn’t have space in the garage to work on them as Skip needed to stay in there, protected from the elements in case another adjuster wanted to take another look at it.

I was crushed every day having to walk past it, and I was starting to wonder if this new hobby of working on cars was worth it.

Being Florida, I even took it to a few miata meets down the street in it’s shortened state.

Then finally, the insurance budged and offered me a reasonable amount for my car. I rushed over to a buddies house, picked up his NB, and started swapping over everything in my garage putting my newly learned wrenching skills to the test once again.

The transplant was a success and soon an even better NB was parked in the garage space that Skip occupied for the longest time with some of my favorite bits of character taken directly from it.

Don’t let the downfall be the end of the story. Survive and let it rise again from the ashes.