2017 MAZDA MX5 MIATA RF… The sleek little ride that embraces curves

Malibu is made up of one really long straight away and thousands of little curves.

So it makes sense that what you want in a new car will handle just that. Remember, driving is supposed to be enjoyable and not a chore. And this little car I’m about to introduce you to will carry four bags of groceries easy. So there.

SUVs are fine for the straights and can certainly go up and down canyons, but as far as having fun, it’s not an end game car.

But when Mazda sent me the new 2017 Miata MX-5 RF Edition the other day, I knew that the curves of Malibu stood no chance. It was a fun wrapped in a Japanese package.

Now you may know that my friend (and Malibuite) Derek Jenkins designed this car or the initial version of it, and at $35K, it’s a steal at having fun.

But as a summertime ride with an electric push button top, this car scoots PCH looking for fun and will give you a tan like you’ve never had before.

The RF Edition comes with Brembo Brakes, cool skirts and a host of additions, plus 155 horses under this bonnet making it as tight as a drum.

But the design really turns heads even in this metallic bright primer color. By the time this article comes out, I will have carved Malibu into thin slices of cool.

But you realize that driving in Malibu can be a blast when you have the right car, right? Well, let’s discuss this for a moment.

Some people might think that a Ferrari, Lambo or McLaren would be perfect, but high horsepower cars in the canyons are not necessarily the way to go. And you see what happens to them sometimes on PCH at warp drive speeds.

What you want is a car that fits our town like a glove. Small and agile — like a greyhound. You can park it anywhere and get smiles without an ego. It’s just a good feeling car without having to show off.

The RF gets 29 miles per gallon, which is pretty snappy for a two-seat roadster. And the only thing that would make it more perfect is to do an electric version, sans the six-speed.

Yeah, I know what you’re saying: “How can you get rid of the six-speed?” Well, you obviously haven’t lived in Malibu long enough to know what’s it’s like to be in a convertible, in traffic, in summer.

And fun is where it’s at, people! I’m grateful to Mazda for sending me this tiny ride. We’ll be featuring it on my show all this week, so be sure to wave.

For those looking for a car with spirit, comfort, cutting-edge tech and a super great design, I’d consider this little beast.

It’s fully modifiable for those who want more, but stock out of the Matchbox package, it’s sweet enough to plaster a smile on anyone’s face.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Spending the week in the 2017 HYUNDAI IONIQ ELECTRIC CAR…

Recently, Hyundai sent me the all-new 2017 Ioniq EV electric car — a 150-mile range EV that boasts a variety of electric lifestyle options, and looks pretty dang cool.

Now, the Ioniq is similar to the Prius and many other electric cars, and I could take the next 10 minutes of your time to explain why this one is better or worse than the rest.

Watch the Vlog here…

But seeing as how this is about automotive inspiration more than silly car reviews — that you can get in abundance — let’s talk a bit about why electric cars are so important in someone’s lifestyle here in the ’Bu.

I drive a lot of cars, as you may know. The car companies know that on my Vlog Show, I always put their best foot forward in a positive way, as I am grateful to them for entrusting me with that kind of focus.

And as you may also know by being a Malibuite, gratitude is riches, and complaints are poverty. So, to help expand your world, I will always give you the best and brightest of what the car companies have coming.

Now, this Ioniq has several features I appreciate, like a Bluetooth cellphone charger, 150 miles on a charge and some nifty push button gear shifty thingies. But what I really want to concentrate on is the fact of having an electric vehicle in your life.

Seriously, do you realize that EVs are now the norm, and you can buy one just about anywhere? Not a concept, but hit just about any dealership and, boom, you can plant your derrière in a full electric vehicle. The future is here, and we should all embrace it.

Are they perfect? No. But what car is?

Can they be better? Of course. All cars can, and so can everything else.

But for the week that I’m enjoying this car, it’s my job on this show — and here in Ride of the Week — to show you how having an EV can really be fun. And that, my friendly Malibuites, is about consciousness.

Being aware of “why” is what is important here. Knowing that you are not adding greenhouse gases to the marble is great for sure, but how does this affect your day to day personal life?

We generally don’t see the affect of our car spewing fumes, but the joy and awareness you feel in driving an EV helps to expand the joy of driving itself. You want to drive more and share your experiences.

The other day, I grabbed my wife, Kathie; my brother and my niece and I took them to the Malibu Creek Rock Pool. We talked all about the EV and really enjoyed the fact that we were clean-driving to a beautiful place. We swam, jumped off the rocks and floated near the damn — a spectacular day of fun and a perfect example of what you can do when you actually enjoy the drive.

I’m not saying you cannot do this via a normal car. For sure, you can, but driving an EV is almost like riding around in Autopia cars at Disneyland. You feel really good about driving, and it’s fun. That’s cool.

So, the next time you consider a car purchase, I don’t care which EV you choose, whether it is a Tesla, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf or this Ioniq. Just know that electric cars are here to enhance and expand our lives.

And with the bottom line being about feeling good, rest assured that no matter which one you get, you’re going to feel that way.

Charge up and head somewhere fun. Then, you’ll become a “smile millionaire.”

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

When life gives you CARS… you GO!

Yes, it’s a two-pronged thing this whole car life. Get in the car, go some place cool. But the notion is a lot deeper than that for sure.

What’s the bottom line of having fun? Well, living in Malibu affords me a lot of things, but getting to Malibu and staying here is the result of a certain kind of thinking — a frequency that has to be maintained in order to benefit from our playground here.

It’s not something you’re given, but something you become aware of and hopefully expand as a human being.

As we know, what you give out into the world is what comes back to you. The only challenge is the awareness of this universal fact.

Most people either don’t know it or simply don’t believe it. And this is what keeps them from prosperity. Stop always thinking about yourself and start thinking about others. That doesn’t mean sacrifice yourself for others, it just means get out of your head and start looking for ways to make people happy.

That will make you happy. And happiness is what it’s all about, baby. Let’s go a wee bit deeper here and understand why it’s important to get in your car and go have fun.

Feeling good is a much bigger idea and concept than just a smile on your face. If you’re feeling good, you’re blasting out good thoughts into the world. Those who complain a lot don’t realize that they are blasting negativity out and getting back the same thing.

A wise person realizes that feeling good is what it’s all about, but they also understand why.

And the math is simple. Ready? Think a good thought about something, and this makes you feel good. And that means you are sending out good thoughts about this thing. Then, the universe will give you more of that thing. Done. Get it?

So, when I decided to throw my bike in the back of the massive 2017 Nissan Titan XD that they sent me for the week and ride somewhere cool, I never realized I would end up at the Malibu Creek rock pool, swimming by myself for 40 minutes before anyone else showed up.

Then, it was time to jump off the rocks and scream like a baby. And that’s exactly what we did all day.

Feel good about your health…. Feel good about your money… Feel good about your relationships. Just feel good.

And that will be a result of thinking good thoughts about them. If you’ll do that in the day more than complaining, whining or huffing n’ puffing, then your life will turn around and you will suddenly be living the dream.

Boom. Done. Welcome to Malibu. Now get out there and have fun.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

Exploring the world — one cool car at a time…

The other day, I was asked why I love cars so much.

And it took a while for me to think about it.

I’m not a collector, although I’ve had many cars. I’m not professional racer, although I can keep up with many who are. I am a car designer and have worked for many companies over the years, but still, design wasn’t the true essence of love for me.

When I was a kid, just about every weekend my parents would put all five of us in a 1973 Chrysler Imperial Station Wagon. One of us was allowed to sit shotgun, while the rest (including my mom) sat in the back. Most times we knew where we were going, but other times it was a surprise.

We did this a lot and loved it — I mean really loved it. And on certain weekends and birthdays, one of the kids even got to pick his or her favorite place to go.

We’d feed the ducks at a pond, go to Westwood to see a movie and have dinner or head to a nursery to buy plants and play hide-and-seek among the begonias. We’d even hit Bob’s Big Boy in Torrance for the double.

Now, this was in the early ’70s and that station wagon took us everywhere.

Over time, I built up a love for the journey. It almost didn’t matter what kind of car, just that we were together as a family, and headed somewhere cool.

Over the years, when my son was growing up, we did something similar. We called them “hat trick trips,” and we would go three places in one day. My wife Kathie and I took him everywhere and he got the same experience I got.

Day camp, two-week camp, camping, cities and foods.

Today, my life is an explosion of the same ideals and excursions. I have a TV show called Fireball Malibu Vlog where we take viewers on journeys, just like I did when I was young.

Only now, each week (or sometimes daily thanks to El Segundo’s Automobile Driving Museum or The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard), I’ll drive a cool classic car or truck.

I may drive a brand new car from the 12 cars companies I have deals with or maybe a $350K Mercedes GWagon from Silverstar Mercedes in Thousand Oaks. I even drive friend’s hot rods, rat rods, customs, muscle cars and exotics.

We go to car shows, car museums, shops, custom builders, beaches, restaurants, theme parks, lakes, streams and more. You never know where we’ll be going next. And with millions of viewers, people seem to be enjoying the ride.

I never imagined that my love for cars would take me so many places. And after all this time, I can finally say my love of cars isn’t about owning them, fixing them up or even driving them.

It’s about life’s journey. If you’ll allow it, these vehicular contraptions will take you places to expand your mind, increase the love in your heart and rock your world.

I’m grateful to be living my dream and sharing it with those who want to watch. My copilots are you guys, and my job is to get us to a destination unknown.

But the beauty, sights and sounds along the way are just as important as the destination — sometimes more so.

Thank you for allowing me to take you all in my digital station wagon. I never knew I could fit so many people in this thing.

This dood has Green Hornet’s SINISTER BLACK BEAUTY…

Yes, another cool car has miraculously appeared on my radar once again. Although you’d never see this one in a dealership, the nostalgic memories of some of you from the ’60s will be well served.

For the last year, I’ve conversed with my friend Mark Truman about his current build that has lasted over 11 years. Why 11 years? Well, because this is not the kind of build that you rush. It requires TV research, and close inspection of details that pop up over time.

What is the car? Green Hornet’s Black Beauty. Or what was originally a 1966 Chrysler Imperial four-door Crown Hardtop. Whoosh!

As a retired telecom special services employee with GTE/Verizon for 35 years, Mark finally has the time to tinker, blinker and build what he loves. His brother, Nate, shares the same passion for movie cars, so Mark decided to build the Black Beauty at his home. But this build needed major research.

He found a Chrysler that was 20.3 feet long, 5480 pounds and with a 440w Edelbrock 4Barrel Motor that would be perfect. The body and interior were good, but would need to be heavily modified to match the TV series’ night cruiser Black Beauty.

“I bought it in 2004,” began Mark. “From a band and drove it home from Monterey, California. The Black Beauty conversion began in my driveway and has lasted for an astounding 11 years.”

But why was this the car for Mark? I’m glad you asked. 

“This is the type [of] car used in the 1966 series ‘The Green Hornet,’” he explained. “[The] original build was by Dean Jeffries in Hollywood, and there were two cars created for the show. Both have survived and are in private hands. So if I wanted one, I had to build it myself.”

Mark and I got together several times to shoot the car for my Vlog Show, but every time, the Beauty was stubborn and temperamental. But eventually, Mark got her into Malibu and we cruised from Point Mugu Rock and had a blast.

I couldn’t believe I was driving the Green Hornet’s car donning a Kato mask. Yes, I actually wore the mask, although my fighting skills weren’t really what they used to be, so I just smiled a lot instead. 

Mark’s favorite part was actually mine, too: the overall length and sinister look of the car. Anyone around would look at it and wonder if their safety was at risk. 

I say we build 100 of these and send them to drive in our enemies’ cities. Just their presence would calm things down. And if it didn’t, at least they would think they’re cool long enough to stop causing trouble. 

Mark uses the car primarily for shows that support youth and police activities, so although the car is black and sinister, it’s got a good heart just like Mark.

And finally, I asked Mark for his best short story with the car and he gave it to me as we wrapped driving. 

“I have a high school age grandson who really enjoys when I pick him up in the Beauty,” Mark said. “All his friends think he is really cool that his grandfather has ‘that cool car.’ When he was questioning why he was going to school, I reminded him that I wouldn’t be able to pick him up in front of his friends if he left.

I hope that helped his decision to stay. 

“But I also really like watching people spot the car as I pass them. At first, they look confused, then break out into ‘10-year-old’ grins when they recognize it. It’s just cool.”

And what about driving in Malibu? 

“Malibu is a unique subculture in SoCal,” he said. “It’s really amazing to drive along the beach and see a high-end car parked alongside the road with a surfboard strapped to it. It is just the same when folks come across my car stopped alongside the road and try to figure out what it is.”

And that was just what they did the whole time we drove for the show. I’d like to offer a big thanks to Mark and his passion for the Beauty. It’s people like him who make me do what I do, and his giving nature made our drive a solid memory.

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.

The 1969 PLYMOUTH FURY that nearly ended up in a heap…

In my world, Malibu is the absolute center of car culture. I go north and south for car shows each weekend and the same goes for museums. North is the Murphy and the Mullins and south is the Petersen and Automobile Driving Museum.

Recently, I happened to be at a show at the ADM when I spotted Scott Seidlin’s 1969 Plymouth Fury. A liquid black beauty that caught my eye on the street and wasn’t even in the show. When Seidlin came up to me, he began to fill in some of the blanks.

The Fury has a 318 engine, Torqueflite automatic tranny, power top, power disc brakes and steering, but completely stock.

Only 1500 Sport Fury convertibles were ever manufactured and were equipped with the base 318 engine but could be ordered with a 383 or 440. In my mind, I could seeing barreling down the highway with the 440, the rumble tailpipe music only overshadowed by the occasional Malibu wave crashing.

Seidlin, a retired lawyer, purchased the car two years ago after randomly catching it appearing on eBay from time to time. 

“Having no plans for a Sunday afternoon and no particular need or desire for an obscure unloved model, I drove to Oxnard to see it and learned that the Fury had been owned by a South Bay Mopar enthusiast who grew tired of the renewal process,” Seidlin said.

“He sold the car to this Oxnard seller needing considerable assembly, paint and finishing. As I saw the car, it had been repainted but needed a top, reworking of upholstery and panel realignment.”

According to Seidlin, this car is “yuuuge.” He’s 6-foot-8 and needs it! 

“Its relative size feels right, but only after I had the driver’s seat removed from its 3-[inch] pedestals and remounted to the floor and tracked back another 4 inches,” he said.

“My first car was a ’65 Plymouth with a 318 engine also.

Having owned a hundred cars over the years including Studebakers, Kaisers, Stockers and RestoMods, I returned to my roots.

I enjoy odd or unusual cars and this car is unique, as most collectors lean towards smaller Mopars such as Challenger and Cudas or Chargers and Satellites.”

Seidlin has owned two 1951 Studebaker coupes as well as the Fury. All are used for pleasure drives as his time is now his own. 

“They are all capable road cars and have been driven long distances with no difficulties,” he said.

But Seidlin’s best short story in the Fury was almost his last story. 

“Shortly after purchase, I drove up the coast with the top down to enjoy the day,” he told me. “Returning home to Playa del Rey, I exited PCH at Ocean Ave at the Pier in Santa Monica.

As I stopped and began to accelerate into my turn, my steering wheel turned once, then twice, then three times around and continued spinning!” 

It had detached itself from the steering box! 

“Had it separated just a few moments earlier, I would have been rudderless at 50mph on PCH,” Seidlin said. 

That must have been a scary moment for a car and his owner. 

But alive and well, Seidlin wraps it up by saying, “I figured that if this land yacht and I could survive that experience, we could share a few more on PCH.”

And yes, these cars will return many great stories as you coast the routes of SoCal in search of car shows — the best being the ones you can share with others, even if it means you risked you life to save one. And they say that flying is tough. 

Thanks for your time, Scottie! You rock and so does your ride!

Want to be featured in Ride of the Week? Send Fireball an email at askfireball@fireballtim.com.