Ferrari's are wickedly expensive and are known to be finickier than Goldilocks, while Toyotas are typically bland but reliable. The seller of today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Modena-bodied MR2 Spyder may have found the best of both worlds, but will you find its price out of this world?
When one thinks of Ferrari what usually comes first to mind is a V12 engine. That format of a dozen cylinders, divided into two equal banks and topped by either a single or double camshafts, was for 27 years the only thing allowed to power the Italian company's road cars. Since then both flat editions of the twelve - considered by Ferrari to be 180-degree Vees - and V8 engines have also carried the Prancing Horse, but there has never been a four cylinder Ferrari built exclusively for the road. Sure, there were the Lampredi-designed fours Ferrari campaigned in the ‘50s - in Formula 2 and at Le Mans and Sebring - but those were eventually dropped in favor of the V6 Dino and V12 Colombos, closing the door on the company's dalliance with quartets.
Today's Ferrai-bodied 2000 Toyota MR2 Spyder seeks redress for that drought of four cylinder Ferrari, melding fine Italian lines with Japanese durability for a car that might just be two-thirds the axis of envy.
You might consider this blasphemy, or perhaps the automotive equivalent of a warm O'Douls, but for someone wanting a taste of the exotic while still keeping their bank account from being sucked dry, perhaps it isn't so bad. Plus the MR2 Spyder has some cred on its own. Powered by a 138-bhp edition of the DOHC, all-aluminum 1ZZ-FE, the 5-speed car was good for zero to sixty times in the six and half to seven-second arena. Sure, that's not in the same league as the real 360 Modena's 400-ponies and sub-five second capability but the Toyota also probably won't require a $10,000 service every fifteen thousand miles. Also in its favor, the Spyder has been praised for its excellent handling which some say compares to that of the Lotus Elise.
On the down side the interior is so small on the MR2 Spyder that it's easily mistaken for a budget airline less the peanuts. This one has custom upholstery in red and black to spruce things up along with lawyer-baiting Ferrari horses embossed on the headrests. Getting in there requires a remote control and a good battery as the seller notes the door handles have been shaved.
Other things of note on the body include that fact that while covered in fiberglass panels that approximate the 360 Modena, the MR2 is significantly smaller than the real deal giving the car a bit of a Vern Troyer appearance. Additionally, the hard tonneau with its bat ears looks a little mickey mouse.
Aside from that and the oddly too-small air intakes at the front, its hard to tell the difference between this homage and a real Modena. . . at night, from a distance, after a few shooters.
Still, it is unique and perhaps someone will consider the bodywork to be - while not so much Modenarrific at least better looking than the kind of we-didn't-put-much-thought-into-it body of the stock MR2. The question is, would that be worth $22,500?
That's the conundrum today, is this faux Ferrari worth the seller's asking, which is waaay above the price of a stock 2000 Toyota? What do you think, is this MR-too sexy for its shirt at that price? Or, is this a Spyder whose price won't catch many flies?
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