One of my favorite things about my Nissan Z31 is that the design is quintessentially 1980s — I often say it looks like an 8-bit animated alligator. But man, when parked next to a sleek new car like a current-gen Mazda Miata, the Z really starts looking more archaic than charming.

  • Cars: 2020 Mazda Miata, 1984 Nissan 300ZX
  • Location: Malibu, CA
  • Photog: Me
  • Camera: iPhone XR

Well, maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh on my modest machine. It did look particularly ashy at this photo shoot; I hadn’t washed the car in weeks and it was carrying a few pounds of LA grime. You know, the layer of black soot that lands on everything out here? My wife likes to remind me that I’m breathing that, which bums me out. That’s the price to pay for living in paradise, I guess. Well, that, plus the actual price of high rent costs. And earthquakes, and fires, yeah maybe we are a little crazy to live here.

All that said, you can’t beat the car scene or the driving roads. And I’m happy to report that I was able to keep up with Mike Spinelli at the wheel of this Miata here while I chased him up and down this canyon road with a camera mounted on my hood.