Folks, we live in dark, dark times when cars are outfitted with perfectly triangular windows that stay in place. These are fixed windows whose vent-iness is ripe for the taking, and automakers are blowing it! This, as I’ve stated previously, is a huge missed opportunity, but that just means the aftermarket will have to swoop in for the fix. Check out this sweet vent window design for NA and NB Miatas.
This was sent to me by a reader named Austin, who needs more vent windows in his life. “This last fall I bought a 1996 NA Miata (because Miata is always the answer or whatever) that doesn’t have any AC,” he told me over email. “It isn’t a huge problem, but I can’t believe that it doesn’t have window vents.”
To mend Mazda’s egregious oversight, Austin says he’s been checking out junkyards in an effort to get Jeep Cherokee window mechanisms to work on his Miata. But then he found out about someone who is apparently “trying to make [the world] a better place,” a company called Carbon Miata. Check out the Mazda Miata NB and NA vent windows they’ve designed:
It’s worth mentioning that I don’t know much about the company that developed these, but I do know that the Shanghai-based operation’s founder, Marc, is very active—and actually a sponsor—on mx-5miata.net. The company even posted a full build-thread about designing these quarter windows, and asked for input from members of the Miata community, so that’s pretty cool.
The heart of the design is a steel set screw-type mechanism, which acts to clamp a rod. That rod, connected to the bottom front corner of the window, plunges in and out based on how much the user wants the window open, and then the set screw is tightened down to hold that position. When closed, the rod bends at its joint and the handle end is held against the polycarbonate window frame via a small magnet.
Based on what I see here, it looks like that mechanism locks the window shut, as does a small white rotating lock on the very top of the window, whose swinging end is held to the window via a magnet (when closed) or via the window frame (when open).
Here’s the vent window in action:
It is worth noting that a typical vent window on an old car actually rotates the other direction—the rear of the window actually swings out, and can rotate more than 90 degrees to funnel in that sweet, sweet air.
CarbonMiata said in that mx5miata.net build thread that the company had plans to offer a design that swings the way a typical vent window does; in addition, the brand said it planned to offer a glass vent window with an aluminum frame.
Still, even if it’s polycarbonate, and even if it swings the “wrong way,” it’s still a vent window, and according to one of few reviews I could find of this aftermarket vent window, it still works fine, with forum member GreaseMonkey2000 writing:
So how effective is it? Well even at city speeds(30mph) it moves a noticeable amount of air with the top down, windows down and the vent window all the way open. At highway speeds(60+mph) it is that much more noticeable, in fact most would probably not want it all the way open at highway speeds.
Vent windows are just cool, and even if I don’t know much about this CarbonMiata person, I’ve got to applaud the effort of designing at least some sort of vent window to fill the needs of the masses. Because the automakers just aren’t doing it anymore.
h/t to Austin! (Not Andrew as I incorrectly wrote initially).