If you are looking for something a little sexier (okay, a lot sexier) in look and feel than a standard Miata, but you love the Miata handling, powertrain and the cost to maintain a Miata on the race track -- then the Miata Catfish just might be your ticket. After a business trip to Denver, Colorado, I took a brief detour to the Colorado Mountain community of Palisade, CO, where I was met at the airport by a understated and extraordinarily gracious Mr. Bill Cardell, owner and operator of Fly'in Miata. Of course, he picked me up in a Miata. But not a normal one. This one had a racing number on the side of the door. After a brisk drive to Palisade, Colorado, and a tour of his operation, which is very impressive and filled with techs passionate about all-things-Miata, we got down to the reason I was there. A test drive of the much talked about Miata Catfish. The Catfish is built on the Miata skeleton. but from there, customization and your imagination (and your wallet) can take you as far as you want to go with this car package. And even though it was a bit wet (okay, it was really raining) on the day I test drove a car with no hard top and no windshield wipers (it is designed as a dedicated track car), I can honestly say that I felt like I got an extremely good feel for the car. And even with the weather elements literally accessing every aspect of the driver's space, I never felt uncomfortable or unsafe. Not once. Just the opposite, actually. This car loves to hug the road, irrespective of conditions outside. Very similar in cornering driving style actually to my beloved Lotus Evora, this car drives 'like a slot car' around corners. And so, as you can imagine, it performed extremely well making its way through the winding two lane highways of the Colorado mountains. Conclusion: If you are looking for a Miata+ experience, or you simply want to step out and you want to be different, the Catfish just may be for you. Just make sure you take your umbrella to the track with you. On second thought, after stepping into the Catfish and strapping into your four-point racing harness, you won't even notice a little rain. You might even think it's cool. I did. To see all the photos from my tour and trip to the Fly'in Miata facility in Colorado, check out the Flickr gallery here. If you are interested in learning more about the Miata Catfish, I would encourage you to contact Bill and his professional team at Fly'in Miata. The Fly'in Miata team even gives back, every time someone purchases one of their high end performance packages. The company makes a matching contribution to help feed families in need, in Africa. Now, these are my kind of people. "Doing well, and doing good too." Here is a link to their website. John Hope Bryant
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