You already know what Jonny thinks about convertibles. Remember VeilSides lowered, turbocharged, ICEd-out yellow MR2 Spyder (June 02)? Even that car took considerable time, horsepower, and messaging to convince Jonny that convertibles possess an innate coolness. Lets face itJonnys bitter about convertibles. For one, hes got that crazy hairdo that gets completely ruined by the slightest rush of wind. You know how your girlfriend hollers when you try to drive around on a nice day with the windows even slightly rolled down because its going to mess up her hair? Well, Jonnys worse. Much worse. That and those stick legs he can barely stuff into the MR2 conspired to make him completely miserable and bitter about the whole convertible genre.
Me? Well, I must admit that Ive not always been a convertible fan. When you remove the roof from a vehicle, you degrade its structural integrity. Think 80s-vintage Chrysler LeBaron convertible and Toyotas own Solara convertible, both of which wobble like Pamela Anderson doing the 100-yard dash. But this MR2 Spyder has an extremely rigid floorpan and structural bracing, resulting in a convertible that even a driving enthusiast can love.
OK, now that you know well-engineered convertibles really can be cool to drive aggressively, do you think Toyotas MR2 Spyder in stock form is crazy, sexy, or cool enough to warrant a purchase? Would you be seen in it? Is it a guys car? A chick car? And, most importantly, can it contain Jonnys hair without making him an irritable mess? In search of answers to all these questions and more, I headed to Hermosa Beach, California, on Cinco de Mayo with my friend Jean, a stock yellow MR2 Spyder, and my camera to see what the irrepressibly cool denizens of the small beach community had to say.
After promising them unlimited baked potatoes and free cable TV, we managed to coerce four hip and youthful people to come out and answer this question: Does Jean make this MR2 Spyder look sexier or does the MR2 make Jean look sexier? Guy #1, Aaron, plenty buzzed from his Cinco de Mayo Cokes without ice, was only too happy to heap praise upon Jean: Dude, its definitely Jean. I mean, the car is cool and allhow many horses does it have?but she totally makes it look better. She completes that package. Oh, and does she have a boyfriend? Are you her boyfriend?
Girl #1, Ji-Hae, thought that both car and girl complemented each other: Its definitely the whole package. Sexy girl, sexy carthey go hand-in-hand. I think they both add to each others sex appeal.
Guy #2, 62 Tim, who swore up and down he couldnt fit in such a tiny car until he gave it a try, was convinced that Jean was the sexier element in the equation. He was particularly impressed with the cars mid-engine layout for optimum handling but thought it might be a hassle trying to store bags or groceries in the miniscule front trunk or the equally-tiny storage compartments behind both seats.
Girl #2, Galli, felt the MR2 Spider was a complete chick car And a young chick car, at that. Come on, can you really see an old lady driving this thing? Shed look ridiculous. You almost need someone of Jeans age and look for this car.
And what did Jean, our model, think of the MR2 Spyder? Well, its definitely cutebut I dont think I could get a car like this. I mean, Ive got nails and all and those latches for the roof just wouldnt be happening. And whats with the lack of vanity mirrors on the sun visors? Hello!?
Finally, before they returned to the milkshake binge that is Cinco de Mayo in Hermosa Beach, we asked our poll participants what they thought of me and the MR2 Spyder. They all looked down and shifted their weight uncomfortably from one foot to the other. The first to speak was Aaron: Well, like Galli said, isnt this kind of a, um, chicks car?
Alrighty then, the jurys out: its a womans car. But I get the last laugh for getting a two-week-long free ride in a car thats a hell of a lot of fun to drive, at a mere asking price of $24,220.
Finally, if a 0-60 time in the low 7s isnt swift enough for you, check into Power Enterprises turbo kit (through IPN industrieswww.ipnindustries.com) to boost things up in the power department. Hey Toyota, just one request: next time you loan me a car, could you hook me up with something really tough, perhaps a black Tundra 4X4 with a TRD package? Seems as though Ive got myself a bit of an image problem to contend with.