Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe MR2 has one thing in its demerit, and that’s its lack of a third pedal. Let’s see if its price more than makes up for that omission.

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Personal expression is great, until that is, you need somebody else to go along with it. That seemed to be part of the problem with yesterday’s 2004 Mercedes CL55 AMG, as it exhibited not just some questionable stripes, but also aggressive window tinting, some dubious wheels, and a hashtag on its bumper. All that individualism, along with the model’s reputation for mechanical malarky, ended up in its price generating a 60% Crack Pipe loss. #toughluck

Have you ever heard the term “butterface?” It’s used by certain types to describe a woman who is conventionally attractive in every aspect… but-her-face. It’s rude, denigrating, and misogynistic, and is frowned upon in these parts, as it should be.

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I only mention this sexist insult because it demonstrates an example of something that, while otherwise attractive and desirable, suffers a single, possibly fatal flaw. Another illustration might be that famous Amityville house—nice Long Island estate, conveniently located, finished basement, oh and it’s possessed by demons that might make you kill your whole family. Or worse, listen to Nickelback. Oh, so damn close!

Today’s 1989 Toyota MR2 represents the brand’s one-time dalliance into mainstream mid-engine sports cars. Leveraging a practice first made popular by Fiat’s X1/9, in which a FWD drivetrain is moved mid-ships for a whole different driving experience. The MR2 showed that Toyota did once really know how to have fun.

The MR2 featured styling that cheekily paid homage to the Ferrari Mondial coupé. That was perhaps not the Italian marque’s best effort, but still having a Toyota that looked like ANY Ferrari was another example of the latter company’s sense of a good time.

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The original MR2’s bonafides just Kept coming too, what with handling that was developed with input from Lotus engineer Roger Becker and a DOHC 4A-GE four cylinder engine to the tune of 112-bhp. That may not sound like much but you have to remember that the car tipped the scales at a hair over a ton, making it a bantamweight contender.

That’s all wonderful stuff right? So what could possibly quell any ardor over this tidy red over grey cloth edition? Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense, it’s the automatic transmission.

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Yes, most cars sold in America for the past half century have been automatics, but that doesn’t mean that sports cars—especially ones striving to drag their makers out of the miserable hole of dowdiness and despair the way the MR2 attempted—should be saddled with one. Well, let’s keep going and see how the rest of the car fares.

At first glance, pretty well. This MR2 sports just under 60K on the clock, and it appears to be in pretty good shape for its 28 years of service. The paint seems reasonably shiny, the pin-striping remains intact, and the factory wheels are still working it. There’s no evidence of rust or damage repair either.

Signs of its age can be found in the black trim which is wearing in places, and in the interior where a tear in the driver’s seat bolster appears to have been repaired. The rest of the interior looks to have held up well, just as you would expect of an ‘80s Toyota interior. There’s A/C and a retro-licious stereo in there too.

The ad says this is a two-owner car with a clean title and sporting brand new tires. It says the car “drives fantastic!!” and is stock other than the aforementioned tires. A moonroof up top is a nod to open-air motoring, and the car looks just as funky today as it did when new.

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Ah yes, but it’s an automatic, that sucker of fun out of life—the transmission of Sunday School teachers, Ralph Nader, and every car in the Applebee’s parking lots of the world. Could that possibly be overlooked?

Well, perhaps the better question is: could that be overlooked for $1,800? That’s the price for this low mileage and maybe lower than desired engagement MR2. What do you say, is that a deal despite that one single flaw? Or, does its transmission automatically make this MR a clean miss?

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You decide!

Des Moines IA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

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H/T to dylanmk2 for the hookup!

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