This is your sign to never throw away anything. Ever.

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David S.
Update by David S. Wallens to the Mazda Miata project car
Dec 23, 2022 | Mazda, Miata, Trailer Hitch, Mazda Miata, Garage Rescue Miata

What’s bound to happen if you let something go? That’s right, you’ll eventually need it.

That just happened to us, in fact, with our Garage Rescue Miata.

Let's back up a few decades.

A long, long time ago–specifically in 1994 and 1995–we ran a then-new Mazda Miata R as a magazine project car. We even took it to the SCCA Solo Nats, where our own J.G. Pasterjak trophied in it. Our car even had the factory stripes.

At the back of that Miata, we fit a trailer hitch receiver so we could haul tires to the event. This was long before today’s 200tw tires, so if you wanted to run anywhere near the pointy end of the field, you swapped to R-comps once on site.

With a car as small as the Miata, that meant using a tire trailer. You still see some tire trailers at events, but back in the day, all the cool kids arrived with one in tow.

Before that Miata went back to Mazda, we decommissioned it–which, as we remember, largely involved removing the trailer hitch.

It then sat behind J.G.’s garage.

A few years later–we’re talking very late ’90s–we wanted to carry some bikes with our Garage Rescue Miata. (This was long before the car was sent to the corner of the garage.) So we rescued that hitch and paired it with the appropriate bike rack.

We might have repainted the hitch, too, before fitting it, but don’t quote us. It was a few years ago.

That hitch sat attached to the back of this Miata for years–decades, even–until we pulled the car from the garage two years ago.

Shedding a few pounds from the tail end of the Miata would make us faster through the cones, right? So we unbolted the hitch during the summer of 2021.

Recently, we had an idea: Why not return the Miata to its 1990s trim for a Radwood showing? We still have both the rack and the BMX bike that it once transported. Plus, we now have our original white Kosei K1 wheels.

[How we’re prepping our Miata for Radwood]

The plan was coming together, right?

But where was that trailer hitch?

Well, we separated the two in J.G.’s shop. There was talk about it going to a forum member and then something, something, something.

Did J.G. still have the hitch?

Maybe? Or is this one for a Mustang?

Okay, let’s see if the holes line up.

Found hiding in plain sight in his shop: that same old Miata hitch. Soon it will celebrate 30 years of service in the GRM crew–along with the honor of being abandoned twice.

Thrown something away and regretted it?

Found something in the corner of the garage that totally saved the day?

Let’s hear it.

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View comments on the GRM forums
z31maniac MegaDork
12/23/22 11:09 a.m.

Don't tell me this! I love throwing stuff I haven't used in a long time.

rslifkin UberDork
12/23/22 11:20 a.m.

I always ask myself a couple of questions before throwing something out, giving it away or selling it. 

"How likely am I to need this again?"

"If I do need it again, how hard or expensive will it be to get another one?"

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/23/22 11:29 a.m.

We used to have a really killer surplus store not far away that I used to go to and just buy tons and tons of crap I didn't need then but might need someday. I recently made a keyboard shelf with a set of really high end slides that I got there for $5 each at least 6 years ago and have been tempted to throw out several times since then. It was highly, highly validating.


Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/23/22 11:34 a.m.

For me, it's less about actual stuff and more about the boxes stuff comes in.

Do I need to keep the box for the smart thermometer? I might if we get a new house.

Appleseed MegaDork
12/23/22 11:38 a.m.

Saving stuff has saved my ass more times than I can count.

docwyte PowerDork
12/23/22 11:48 a.m.

I just dislike clutter.  So unless it's a really hard to source part, I sell it/give it away.  On the corrado I probably should've kept the Schrick VGI manifold, as they're really hard to find now.  However I just don't think I'll own another car with the 12v VR6 again, so there wasn't a point hanging onto it...

VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/23/22 12:06 p.m.

And pretty soon you fall down that slippery slope and turn into this old guy...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/23/22 12:08 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

For me, it's less about actual stuff and more about the boxes stuff comes in.

Do I need to keep the box for the smart thermometer? I might if we get a new house.

Saving boxes is a whole 'nother story.

I mean, it's a really good box. 

bludroptop UltraDork
12/23/22 12:27 p.m.

I spent the last 50 years saving stuff.  I hope to spend the next 20 getting rid of it all and not leave a mess when I croak.



Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/23/22 12:35 p.m.

My sister texted a few days ago. She had used some scrapbook decorations she bought back in 2004, and was very happy that she found a use for them and that she still had them when she needed them. 

Then the dagger - "I'm almost like you Rob!"

Olemiss540 HalfDork
12/23/22 12:52 p.m.

Man I am tortured by 2 sides of this.

1. I will not need anything anything in my garage until the day after the garbage truck hauls it away.

2. I also hate clutter and cant think straight unless I have working space around my projects.


Cactus HalfDork
12/23/22 1:52 p.m.

Having just this year dealt with deceased hoarding grandparents, I've got a very fresh perspective on what merits retaining. I still have too much junk, but I have no remorse throwing stuff away anymore.


calteg SuperDork
12/23/22 1:56 p.m.

I've spent the last 2 months throwing away/gifting/selling stuff for way too cheap, just to clear out my garage and attic. Feelsgoodman

300zxfreak Reader
12/23/22 2:17 p.m.

In reply to Olemiss540 :

I'm with you, I just cannot function with crap sitting all around my work area, whatever that might be. Same with lists. Give me a list with a bazillion things to do and I'll just walk away. Give me the condensed version with five or less tasks, and I'll get them done post haste.........

pushrod36 Reader
12/23/22 2:23 p.m.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown convinced me it's ok to shed clutter from my life. I'm happier for it. 

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UberDork
12/23/22 3:08 p.m.
pushrod36 said:

Essentialism by Greg McKeown convinced me it's ok to shed clutter from my life. I'm happier for it. 

So... I need a shed to put my clutter in so there will be more room in the garage for the clutter relevant to current projects?

Got it.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/23/22 3:13 p.m.

This is dangerous justification for people like us.

You really don't want to know how much random Miata stuff I'm hanging on to just because I might need it - but I installed some of those parts on one of my Miatas just yesterday...

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
12/23/22 3:21 p.m.

Just walk through a flea market next summer and you'll realize how much of your youth you should've kept in a garage.  How much for those old toys?

I struggle with emotional attachment to old stuff - this summer I started purging as it's too much.  Left to Right:

1. My grandmother's box camera - she gave to me in 1975.

2. My first 35mm SLR - bought new in 1976.

3. My dad's 8mm movie camera.  I have the screen and projector that still works along with a box of all his movies and my grandpa's movies.  Want to see some lakes they musky fished at in Canada? 

This is only the beginning......I can't throw this away!


VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/23/22 3:34 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

Everybody needs a hobby collection (collection hobby?). I never expected to start collecting old bottles until I started finding them at a construction excavation.

j_tso Dork
12/23/22 3:46 p.m.
earlybroncoguy1 Reader
12/23/22 5:57 p.m.

Is there a prize for the longest you've held onto some part or piece of junk, but finally found a good use for it?

I had a BMX handlebar (from my teen days) hanging on my garage wall for over 40 years (and several garages). Who knew I was saving it all that time, just to turn it upside down and weld brackets to it, then bolt it to the front of my John Deere lawn tractor as a stylish and functional bumper?

Sorry for huge pic, it's the only one I could find. 

The lift come in handy for cleaning the underside of the mower deck. I don't know why, but that John Deere deck packs up big time with a dirt/grass mix above the blades that solidifies into almost concrete. Have to hammer and chisel it off - hence the pile of crap under the mower.   

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/23/22 6:22 p.m.

In reply to earlybroncoguy1 :

Rock on. What bars were they? (Please don't say Santa Ana GTs...)

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
12/23/22 6:22 p.m.

In reply to earlybroncoguy1 :

In 1970 my dad moved us into a new subdivision but the builder declared bankruptcy and left 50% of the lots unbuilt.  He cleaned out his office/model homes and filled a dumpster.  I decided to go dumpster diving and found this ceramic box and I took it home.  It's actually built very well.  

My Dad had an antique shelf around his basement bar and it hung out until I recovered it when closing down the house.  My wife and I used it this year to seal our Christmas cards.

Over 52 years now?


David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/23/22 6:24 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

Totally remember those. Can't remember the last time I saw one in person, though. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/23/22 6:28 p.m.

Here's one. Not a record in this crowd but something. 

Back in the day, you had to actually pick up the phone and call a store to buy a camera.

To improve the odds that you'd call, the camera shops often advertised a "kit" package for each camera.

"Free 25-piece accessory kit!" the ad would say. 

The reality is that you got like 20 pieces of lens tissue, a 12-exposure roll of film and some little stuff like that.

One of my cameras came with a kit that included a tripod.

A professional, full-size tripod?

No, dummy, this little pocket-sized model.

I recently came across it while going through some film camera stuff. Let's date it as second half of the '90s.

Works fine for holding a fill light. I also picked up a mount so it can hold my phone. 


Tom1200 UberDork
12/23/22 7:13 p.m.

My buddy has a large shop with shelves on every wall as well a ton of room in the rafters. As a fabricator the stuff comes in handy because his main business is one offs.

 As for the rest of us; the time you spend dealing with all the stuff is way more than just buying what you need.

As for the money; time is money and the money you saved usually doesn't offset the time you spent rummaging around.

I'm off for the next 9 days. One of those days will be spent purging the last of the stuff in my garage.

Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/23/22 9:34 p.m.

It's not old it's vintage. I went to a vintage shop the other day at it was like walking through my childhood. 

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/23/22 10:06 p.m.

Earlier this year there was a long thread about decluttering for the sake of your family and space.  Now we have this thread.  What do I do with my old car parts now?  

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/23/22 10:07 p.m.

I've literally sold (for pennies on the dollar) 4 BMW M42 engines over the years, plus related driveshafts, shifters, etc. (when I swapped the rally car to M50 and didn't need all the M42 spares).

I also sold a rust-free e30 shell for $500 a few years back.

Go figure my current project e30 (less than 2 years later), First I paid $700 for it (a total rustbucket) , then I decided to put an M42 in I had to go buy all that stuff again probably for twice what I sold it for (and am still looking for some parts). 

I literally had all the parts to build a nicer e30, for practically free, 2-3 years ago and sold all of it, thinking I wouldn't do another e30 project. Go figure. 


meanwhile, I still have boxes in my shed with random parts from cars I haven't owned for a decade.  :/


Appleseed MegaDork
12/24/22 1:49 a.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

When you build most of your things afterhours, and shops and stores are closed, no, no it isn't. Looking for a half hour trumps waiting more than half a day to do the same. wink

Appleseed MegaDork
12/24/22 1:50 a.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

Earlier this year there was a long thread about decluttering for the sake of your family and space.  Now we have this thread.  What do I do with my old car parts now?  

Do what you want. Only you get to decide.

rslifkin UberDork
12/24/22 8:32 a.m.
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) said:

Earlier this year there was a long thread about decluttering for the sake of your family and space.  Now we have this thread.  What do I do with my old car parts now?  

Pick the most potentially useful subset of stuff to keep and organize it perfectly so it's all identified and can be easily gone through when looking for something (or if someone else has to deal with it)? 

accordionfolder UltraDork
12/24/22 8:49 a.m.

In this thread: hoarders grasping at straws. ;)

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/24/22 9:06 a.m.

I still have parts in my horse barn for cars I at the time thought I wanted to own.  Now I don't remember what the car was. But I won't toss the stainless steel exhaust system from a now unknown car as I may need it for a future unknown car.  It would make nice wall art. It has all the 90s blueing and gold at the welds and a exhaust tips.  Kind of looks painted on.  LOL. 

Peabody MegaDork
12/24/22 9:50 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:
Colin Wood said:

For me, it's less about actual stuff and more about the boxes stuff comes in.

Do I need to keep the box for the smart thermometer? I might if we get a new house.

Saving boxes is a whole 'nother story.

I mean, it's a really good box. 

I've run a part time business for near 20 years, and don't know how many hundreds of packages I've shipped, but I've never paid for a box. The only packaging material I've ever paid for is tape. PW calls me a garbage picker, I tell her I was recycling long before it was cool.

Now bags, that's a whole 'nother story. A lot of the industrial supplies that come into the shop at work come in really heavy duty zip lock type bags. I bring them home and have them all organized by size.

The young guys think I'm nuts. But I'm the one with the sweet bag collection.

Appleseed MegaDork
12/24/22 10:33 a.m.
accordionfolder said:

In this thread: hoarders grasping at straws. ;)

We'll remember when you desperately need one of our parts. laugh

docwyte PowerDork
12/24/22 10:48 a.m.

I keep oddly shaped boxes because they're extremely useful when I need to ship something.  When I had the corrado, a car that's not supported well by VW any longer, I had racks of parts in my basement for it.  I felt very happy when I sold the car and almost all the parts.  I just don't have the hoarder mentality.

Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/24/22 1:15 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Growing up my dad was a Methodist pastor and later joined the Army as a Chaplain, we moved a lot.  My parents kept boxes for the fragile/ expensive stuff, the thought being it was designed to get the "thing" from the factory to the store so it should be able to get it to the new house.  I still do this, even though we have not moved in a long time. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/24/22 1:16 p.m.

What about boxes from phones, computers and other electronics? Keep or save? 

Appleseed MegaDork
12/24/22 2:57 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Do you think it will take a dump on you in the next year? Is it suspect? Keep it.

If its lasted longer, odds are you won't be able to return it anyway. Bin em.

slefain UltimaDork
12/24/22 5:12 p.m.

Today I used the 25+ year old convertible top bleeding hose assembly for my '69 Olds to fix my basement heater. I needed a 3/8" hose to route the condensate pump into a bucket because the existing condensate hose is a popsicle and shutting off the system. I have never used the bleeding hose assembly, it came with the car. I've toted it everywhere I lived in its own container. And today it proved useful.

My garage full of crap proves I'm already doomed.

earlybroncoguy1 Reader
12/24/22 8:34 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

Is that a stamp wetter?

VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/24/22 8:54 p.m.

In reply to earlybroncoguy1 :

yes it is. Mrs Heretic still uses hers from the 70s.

accordionfolder UltraDork
12/24/22 9:51 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

Lol, I'm just messing - everyone comes to me in my circle for Miata parts. My attic is a wonderful place! 


Datsun310Guy MegaDork
12/24/22 9:58 p.m.
earlybroncoguy1 said:

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

Is that a stamp wetter?

Yes or envelopes. 



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