Toyota MR2 - The M is for Maverick
More than a quarter of a century ago, 33 years for those counting, Toyota would join the world stage, pitting a $14,778, 112-115hp (on a good day) Toyota against exotic vehicles at more than quadruple the price. We're looking at you, Ferrari. And while the first generation, "AW11" may not have been designed to compete with Ferrari, it did hold it's own very well against the likes of the Honda CRX and Pontiac Fiero in a lightweight, 2-seater class of cars that is all but obsolete. A 145hp, supercharged option would be later offered to cure the whining for more power, with you guessed it - more [supercharger] whining.
This is the story of Chuck. The year is 1995 and at 33 years of age, Chuck has finally gained the courage, and money, to trade in his family's hand-me-down 77' Ford Lanadu for something a little more...enthusiastic. A two-year old, 93' model MR2 "SW20".The ancestor of a car his friend owned a poster of when they were young. The dealer even knocked off an extra $300 from the retail price to help him out of his four-door misery.
But why the MR2? What would draw someone to a life of impracticality?
The engine is at the "wrong" end and the trunk, if you can call it that, is placed directly behind it. There are only two doors. Only two seats. And, this one's a stick shift. Chuck finishes signing the paperwork and bids the salesman a noble goodbye, bucking his new car along the lot. Sensible onlookers smirk at Chuck, some shaking their heads at his perceived naivety.
Not that he cares, leaving behind the city with all of it's worries and disappearing into a land of winding roads. And it is here that something happens. The myriad of mis-shifts and grinding becomes a symphony of throttle and heartbeat. Something he had been longing for amongst the mundaneness of his day-to-day commute. A distraction from the beckoning of time. Able to outrun it, even if for a moment. This was Chuck's chance to embrace his inner Maverick...
But that was a decade old daydream. It's now 2005 and Chuck considers himself a family-oriented adult. Joyriding is a thing of the past, replaced with responsibility and carefully measured ambition. That fateful day is nothing more than a distant memory, sold off with the MR2 all those years ago.
Chuck's son rushes down the stairs, having recently received a driver's license and in search of a used car. Grumpily, he's dragged down to the used car lot. Unsure of his son's decision, Chuck is blindly guided by the salesman to a specific vehicle.
"Not the most practical thing to look at, but it is a Toyota after all." says the salesman.
"M-R-2. Like the one in your pictures", his son says. "Whats it stand for?"
"I'm not sure, but I think the 'M' is for "motor", since it's in the back," the salesman interjects, pointing out behind him.
Chuck laughs, hand on his son's shoulder, guiding him toward the car. He knows what it stands for. All those years ago, Chuck learned the 'M' - stands for "Maverick".