I very nearly didn't get it. I found it while I was looking up cars after I returned home heartbroken from the XJ6. I immediately jumped on it because I've always loved MR2s. They were the first cars that I remember thinking of as sports cars.
And then I noticed it was in Turlock. I had no idea where Turlock was, but I was sure that it was far away. I sent off for pictures (which I tacked onto the bottom of the post) and figured that it would be too much trouble to get.
My fiancee got on the computer and I asked her to email me the links for the 300ZX and a few other unsuitable cars. I left out the MR2. She asked me why and I told her that it was probably going to be a pain to get.
Thankfully, she didn't listen to me and sent along:
http://maps.google.com/ - where tf is turlock?
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/car/175884642.html - 87 toyota mr2
After I drove the 300ZX, we made arrangements to pop down the next day and drive the MR2. Luck beyond luck! The guy who was selling it had the whole day off of work, so any time was good for him.
I was thinking about it on the way in to work. My other car, a '91 Aerostar, is usually called "the shuttle". It looks not unlike one of the shuttles from Star Trek. As I was thinking about that, I realized that naval tradition (and DS9) required that I call my next car "the runabout". I didn't know this at the time, but when I got to work and wikipedia'd the MR2 in preparation for the drive, I found out that MR2 stands for "Midship engine, Runabout, 2-seater". Huh!
We drove down there and caught it at around 7:30 or so. Luckily, it's summer and sunset wasn't for another hour. It was being sold by an Indian kid and some of his relatives (or so I assume).
The car was excellent. Beyond my wildest dreams. The engine roared to life with a tap of the accelerator. The sound was phenomenal. At low speed, the handling showed that if it had power steering, it didn't help very much. It was a little tough and a little shaky. At high speed (>20mph), the handling was a dream. The weight is miniscule -- when they say two-seater, they mean it. Not even the pretense of a backseat!
I think the best way to describe it is that it's like babies. Some babies are just dead weight when you pick them up. Others somehow help you pick them up. Irrespective of mass, some of them just seem lighter as a result. Maybe it's in how they hold themselves. Who knows? It's there though.
I didn't even notice it was a T-top until afterwards. Apparently, my fiancee was playing with it while I was driving. I was absolutely absorbed. The only thing I remember about it was my fiancee giggling and joking about the Top Gear bio of Jeremy Clarkson and saying "He likes driving around corners very fast, yelling 'POWER!!!!' at the top of his lungs" with reference to me.
Driving the MR2 is like that. What sold me was pulling it into a U-turn. The car helped me through the turn. It was an absolute pleasure to drive. I can't imagine a way in which a car could be better. Sure, it could crank out more horsepower, brake better, or any one of a number of things, but those are small details. In all the big ways, this car is positively ideal.
I got out of the car, opened the engine compartment, and the only thing wrong was the smell of coolant, but that's because the filler cap was off to the side. It wasn't leaking coolant, no oil burning off or anything. It was perfect. I didn't hesitate to say that I wanted it and I'd be down on Saturday for it. We talked money and I didn't bother trying to haggle with him. The price is far less than what I'm willing to pay for the privilege of driving that car.
I said to my fiancee as we drove away in the rental car that you're as cool as you want to be in that car. It's not that you're able to achieve a certain level of coolness. It's that you command the definition of coolness when you drive that car. You define however cool you want to be while driving that car.
And somehow, insuring this dream of a car is less expensive than insuring my van. I shoulda done this ages ago!
I love it. I still have a smile on my face about 18 hours after driving this car. I love my fiancee and I just might remember this the next time she's being stubborn. Nah -- probably not. ; )
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