At $3,700, Could This 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder Be Your Rough Rider?

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

Toyota MR2 Spider prices are all over the map, but you don’t usually have a pin drop on one that’s as rough as today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe candidate. Could its low price make it worth investing in a little polish?

Based solely on the joyous comments on yesterday’s 1992 Mercedes Benz 300TE you’d think we had just all eaten Robin’s Minstrels (obscure Monty Python reference for us nerds) rather than having just voted an 83-percent Nice Price win for the car’s $4,000 asking.


That Benz proved to be yet another story of the one that got away, as the ad was pulled the same day we put it under our metaphorical microscope. These things do happen.

You know what else happens? Cars get old, that’s what. And if they are not maintained with some level of regularity and attention, they show that age like a nudist displays his shortcomings.


This 2001 Toyota MR2 Spyder seems to be just such a car. It’s not that it’s all that bad, or has been used in any sort of Two Girls, One Car videos, but it’s still likely rougher than you might like it to be. The price however, somewhat reflects that appearance.


I think it’s safe to say that, to date, the MR2 Spyder is the last really interesting car to wear Toyota’s weird-ass sorta T, but really just some circles badge. Fans of the once-a-Scion, now-a-Toyota 86 might disagree, but they can fight me in the comments downstairs if they really care. To be honest, nobody ever does.

The 86 is also much more a Subaru than Toyota, while the mid-engine MR2 is Mr. Toyoda’s progeny through and through. It’s also the last in the line of the company’s over the shoulder engined cars, and the only one of the three generations to go fully topless.


Under that droppable top lives a 138 horsepower 1ZZ-FED four. That 1794-cc DOHC sidewinder also puts out 125 ft-lb of torque, but you’ve got to really wind it to get close to those numbers. A five speed stick compliments the mill.


Pop open the mail slot masquerading as an engine access panel on this MR2 and you’ll be confronted by a 1ZZ that’s one dirty bird. Everything in there could stand a good going over, maybe two. It does seem to have a fresh battery so there’s that in its favor. The car rocks 119,000 miles and those show not just under the skirts but in the clouded headlamps and the wrinkly seat covers as well.


The rest of the body seems passable, and the top is claimed to be new. That is a big plus as it’s a bit of a costly replacement.

On the down side, the seller classifies the car’s mechanical condition as just ‘good.’ What does that mean? This is a Toyota so any mechanical malady can’t be that bad, right? We can hope.


The interior looks fine other than that creepy-looking seat cover on the passenger’s throne. Whatever story is behind that, I don’t think I want to know. The sun visor ahead of that seat also looks a little wonky so maybe there’s some more sorting to be done in here as well.

The ad is shy on description but does mention the car’s excellent fuel economy. That indicates that it is a runner. It also appears to have a clear title and a price to match it’s somewhat shabby chic appearance.


That asking is $3,700 and, I’m going to be honest with you here, you could easily spend that much on a nice 2001 Corolla. This is a far more interesting if less capacious older Toyota, and while it’s not exactly showroom ready, there don’t seem to be any major red flags here.


What do you think, is this Spyder worth that $3,700 asking? Or, is that a price that makes this MR a miss?

You decide!


Reno, NV Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send a me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.