2y ago


“Is that a Fiero?” – An idiot, probably dead now

Every MR2 owner knows the drill. Stay calm. Assault is a felony in the US.

But we’d be lying if we said we didn’t revere the silly questions at least a little – partly because it confuses people, but mostly because it confuses them enough to ask about it.

The uniqueness factor is probably what started this mess.

Armed with the knowledge that my younger brother was about to inherit “Big Bertha”, the 1992 Honda Prelude whose engine I had been kicking in the proverbial nuts for about a year, I began looking for a new used car.

I spotted it online. Manual. T-tops. It was red – as in, it was red, at some point in time. Back in the day, someone at Toyota decided the red ones didn’t need clear coats. I decided it didn’t matter (though 9 years later, it’s starting to matter).

I was 17 when I convinced my dad to buy the same one I found online. My manipulation skills are lame, and my dad is smart. I still don’t get it.

A mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car was just what I needed at a time when many of my sentences began with “if ______ wasn’t illegal, I’d totally _______”, and an equal number ended with “…your mom”.

But thanks to an encounter with a semi truck that occurred a few months prior while driving Big Bertha, I was cautious beyond my years, and survived the tricky handling MR2s are known for. [Big Bertha lived, much to my brother’s dismay.]

The accomplishment of not dying must have boosted my ego, because after one year of ownership, I decided the next logical step was to double the horsepower. This would mean paying a shop to do a motor swap, effectively rendering my base model MR2 into an MR2 Turbo. I couldn’t afford it on my own, so once again I found myself asking my dad for assistance. If you’re young and poor and want to go fast, memorize these words:

“My car has xxx,xxx miles on it, so it would be wise to refresh the motor. I could have my current engine rebuilt, but it would be more economical to install a slightly-used factory engine. I want to be responsible and get a summer job so I can pay for it, but I still wouldn’t be able to afford it without your help.”

Try to avoid using words like "turbo", "faster", or anything else that might compromise your mission.

Nine years later, that engine is still running strong. It’s been a blast to own and drive, but like all things, the faults started to wear on me as both myself and the car continued to age.

The little imperfections and annoyances nearly led me to buy another vehicle a couple months ago. Don’t worry – I was never going to sell “the deuce”. But I wanted a second car that could be a true daily driver: something less rough, less noisy, less leaky (t-tops are eventful whether on or off). I had my mind set on finding a low mileage C6 Corvette. It checked off every box: reliable, fast, and comfortable.

It took a couple months of searching Corvette classifieds before I realized it actually didn’t check off every box. There was a big one it left empty that only a handful of cars can satisfy. The Corvette lacked the uniqueness factor. I saw four Vettes in the grocery store parking lot today. MR2s? Not one. In fact, it’s been at least a year since my last sighting – which is funny, because if you ask anyone within a 3-mile radius of my residence if they’ve seen an MR2 recently, most will respond the same way: “What’s an MR2?”

The rest will say, “Yeah, there’s a loud one I see driving around.”

I decided to reallocate what would have been Corvette payments towards further improving the MR2. I’m glad I did. Just a few days ago I was getting an alignment done at a local shop. After the mechanic came back from testing it out on the road, he said something to the effect of “This thing is awesome”.

Just wait till it’s red again.

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