Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe MR2 will soon need some transmission work. Could that demerit still have you shifting the bucks needed to buy it?

Let’s all think back to the first Jurassic Park movie. You know, the good one, before all the unnecessary sequels tainted the story for us. In that movie (SPOILER ALERT) Jeff Goldbloom’s character makes the now iconic reaction to the recreation of dinosaurs; “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

That sentiment runs deep through both the movie and the Michael Chrichton novel that is its source. It also came into play in the comments for yesterday’s 2005 SRT-10 Jeep Wrangler. That V10-equiped LJ was considered to be neither fish nor fowl—nor any of their dino predecessors—owing to the mods it now carries. Nice as it may have been, at $52,000, it was also hella pricy, and it fell in a 66-percent Crack Pipe loss to start our year.

Last week we had a an eggy Toyota Previa from back in the day up for consideration. As I noted at the time that minivan came from an era when Toyota made cars that were actually interesting to people outside of hypermilers and those who like anonymity when on the road. Back then, in the late Eighties/early Nineties Toyota didn’t just offer the most interesting minivan in America. No, their menu also included not just one but two out and out sports car entrees: the Supra and the MR2. Both of those were RWD, and the MR2, perhaps most amazingly, carried its motor mid-ships.

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Today those Supras are becoming more and more dear, while the admittedly more interesting MR2 sits as one of the current market’s most under-appreciated investments.

Here we have just such an opportunity for appreciation—both financial, and visceral. These cars, while somewhat twitchy, were pretty fun little rides.

This 1987 Toyota MR2 comes with the standard naturally aspirated 4A-GE DOHC four behind the seats. That 112-horsepower 1.6-litre was shared with the Celica and certain Corollas. It even came in the Geo Prizm GSi. Remember those?

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That ubiquity means that most parts are still readily available. Backing that up here is a five speed manual, but more on that in a minute.

The bodywork on this MR2 looks a little rough. The windshield is cracked, and there are scuffs on the bumpers. Both are negatives that you could live with, but why should you? The paint also underwhelms as it is as dull as 3 A.M. C-SPAN. At least it looks complete. There’s a sunroof up top and a set of Borbet alloys underneath. Those latter look somehow… I don’t know, wrong on this car. The factory wheels were wild three-spoke dealios that shared the car’s angular attitude if not its avert love affair with the Ferrari Mondial’s looks. Overall, I’d give the exterior a 6 out of 10.

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The interior looks to be in much better condition with seats that are rip and tear-free and a dash that’s free of any marring. There’s what’s described as an “Italvolanti Formel” steering wheel here—what is it with this car and non-factory wheels?—and a light coat of what looks to be hair everywhere. Yeah, eew. That knocks the interior down to an 8. If the interior shot had included the dude in the wife beater I would have knocked an additional three points off.

Mechanically, the 2-owner car is said to come with “extensive records” and most all the expected maintenance. One piece of maintenance that is looming on the horizon involves that transmission. Remember, I said we’d get back to that. The ad says that the clutch is on its last legs and that the five-speed is in need of new synchros. That means yanking the box and either cracking it open or visiting your friendly neighborhood engine/gearbox emporium for a new cog crate. Don’t have a friendly neighborhood engine/gearbox emporium? Well, there are other options too. Still, figure on dropping some change on repairing/replacing the gearbox and clutch. Because of that, I’m giving the car a 5 out of 10 for its wonky spinny bits.

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There’s 230,000 miles on the clock so it’s not all that untoward for the gearbox to have given up the ghost. The car comes with a clean title and, maybe, some future appreciation once it’s sorted out. The price is $2,500, and you’ll now need to decide if that’s a deal for the car considering all that it needs to have done.

What’s your take on this tidy but needy MR2 and that $2,500 asking? Does that make this a MR you wouldn’t mind meeting? Or, does that price make this Toyota an investment in trouble?

You decide!

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Portland,OR Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

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