I originally purchased this car from an eccentric man in the woods of Maryland who kept an MR-2 and Renault graveyard. I know, Renaults – I can’t even name one, but this guy loved them. He also loved his MR-2s. This one was in decent shape, the body appeared relatively rust free and it drove fairly well. The speedometer didn’t work, but I purchased it from him for $1,500. I mean, it looked really cool and was cheap – why not?
I kept the car as a companion to my constantly in the shop Mazda RX-8. This was a delightful commuter that proved you don’t need big horsepower for big fun. The little 1.6 revved freely and the gears changed smoothly. It routinely delivered 30+ mpg in combined driving and had storage in both the front and the rear for all the things a man in his early 20s might need to carry.
On a plus side, it was incredibly small and a breeze to parallel park. Even without power steering, the lack of any weight on the front wheels meant that effort was never excessive – with the bonus of exceptional feedback and steering feel. I really loved how the car handled – it would pivot around itself.
Of course, a teenage car had problems, just like any other teenagers do. I had to replace the brakes just to pass inspection. On top of that, it was a little rustier than it appeared on the surface. I started to experience some pretty severe cooling problems that I couldn’t track down – I wasn’t sure if it was the water pump, a fan switch, the radiator itself – all I know is that I wound up selling it to my friends (who kept their own little MR-2 graveyard) and now it sits, half gutted – having donated its organs in death, so that others may live.