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98 BMW M Roadster (II)
98 BMW M Roadster (I)
98 Infinity I30t
88 Toyota MR2-S
86 Toyota MR2
81 Toyota Celica
79 Datsun, (II)
79 Datsun,(I)
The Beginnings

July 29, 2006

1996, My First 2 Seater Car: 1986 Toyota MR2

A friend of mine, who was helping me with my transportation needs immediately following my accident, took me to visit a used car dealer who was kind of buy-here pay-here. All based upon his prior experience with this dealer. There, I saw a little white sports car with only 2 seats: A 1986 Toyota MR2. It was a car with a low profile and its engine located in the middle, right behind the cockpit. It had a small trunk at the front and a smaller one at the back, tinted glass moon roof, a naturally aspirated 1.6 liter inline 4 engine with a 5 speed manual transmission. I took it for a test drive and I liked it. It had some things that needed attention like the exhaust pipe and tires, but it seemed good to me. I checked it with a friend who worked at an auto repair shop and decided to get it. I only needed to work out the details of the financing.

I called a very close friend of the family, who had served me in the past as a co-signer on other loans, and explained the situation to him. Without hesitation he made an appointment with the dealer, and soon enough, I found myself a proud owner of a 2 seater. My first ever.

All of this happened in early 1996. When I thought about the car I had just bought, it downed on me the irony of the case: Back in 1990 I saw for the first time the Honda CRX, a cute little 2 seater with curved shapes. I fell in love with that car since then, and had it in mind when the time would come to replace the Celica. At the time I thought that the MR2's design was too linear (compared with the CRX). My friend however, liked the MR2 better. The case was that, when the time to replace the Celica came unexpectedly; instead of what was desirable, I had to get what was available from the sources that would make it easy for me to acquire it. And there I was, buying an MR2.

Since the cockpit was relatively small, the air conditioning was more than enough to keep me cool even on the summer, despite the considerable amount of glass area. So, I did not applied tinted film to the windows. I wanted to be seen in that car. To understand this desire, you need to know that cars, even used ones are not that affordable in my country. The problem is that imports are priced in US dollars while wages are priced in local currency; and because the exchange rate is high (the dollar being expensive), having a car is almost a luxury. A 2 seater is not a "practical" car. If it is one's only car, then it is convenient only if you are single. Now, the typical single guy is starting out in life and most likely can't afford such type of cars; and the guys who could afford it are for the most part married ones. Now, no wife on her right mind would let her husband have such chick-magnet set of wheels. Therefore, 2 seaters are a hot commodity. It would be the equivalent of having a very expensive exotic car here in the US.

The acceleration of this car was much better than that of the Celica, and its lower profile helped it to achieve a better cornering also. I was now enjoying even more my trips back and forth between Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula. I no longer feared an encounter with buses and large trucks. I was more patient when it came to pass them. I lowered my travel time to about 2 hours and a half. Of course that gaining some minutes was not a matter of saving time. NO! It was not worth the added risk and mental energy. It was all about the adrenaline rush, the exhilaration of high speed, the thrill of acceleration, you know, that nice pressure on your back that you feel as soon as you depress the pedal.

I also had some fun in the city. Tegucigalpa's topography is full of hills and most of its streets are curvy; a combination that makes for a very fun driving experience, provided that you have the appropriate car; one that has good acceleration and handling, just like mine.

As I stated in my previous story, it was my intention to restore the Celica to its former glory and keep it as a second car. May be I could re-sell it, if I found someone willing to pay my price. Now, you don't keep a 15 year old car just sitting in the garage. You have to take it for a ride every once in a while if you want to keep it operable. So, I did continue driving it from time to time. However, the only advantage it had over the MR2 was its customized stereo. I drove the Celica only the minimum required in order to keeping it in good shape, or, when the MR2 was in the maintenance shop. In 1996 I had my office (which I shared with other 2 colleagues) outside my home and that gave me a daily opportunity to enjoy my new ride.

The dark clouds started covering the story of this car around my birthday. I traveled to San Pedro Sula to celebrate it with my parents. When I was near my destination, a rock, picked up by some truck, hit my windshield and made a large crack on it. It was fortunate that I did not have money for the repairs because a few weeks later, the police came to my office and told me they had to take the car away. They did not give any details other than tell me the car was involved in a lawsuit, and the name of the judge who was handling the case. I went to the courthouse to inquiry and found myself immersed in a case between the dealer who sold me the car and a person who lent money to them.

To shorten a long, long tale, I will say that both parties were crooks and were trying to outmaneuver each other. Unfortunately for me, the lender had accomplices in the government and there was nothing I could do. They "legally" robbed my car (I put the word legally inside quotes because they used fraudulent papers to substantiate their claim). I could not even retort to stop the payments on the car because of two things: First, the dealer had sold the obligation to a local bank, thereby recovering all their money; and second, there was my co-signer; a friend who always was there for me, signing anything I asked him to sign for me. It was understood that such signature was a mere formality. He never expected to make good on his legally-binding promise to pay upon my default and it was my duty to honor that gentlemen's pact. Although I was devastated, I decided to continue honoring the payments.

I was back to the old Celica for a while. A short while…

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