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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, The saga continues: 1988 Toyota MR2 Supercharged

Two weeks after my 86 MR2 was taken from me, another friend, who lives in San Pedro Sula, called me and asked me to go there and see a car he said would interest me. The last thing I had in my mind was buying another car, especially from a dealer; so I told my friend that I didn't want to go and that that was it. He understood my feelings and did not insist. A few days latter I was headed for the northern city on a business trip. I had to deliver some drawings and its respective invoice. Whenever I went to San Pedro Sula, I always called my friend to meet him and go out for dinner and catch up on one another. He talked me into visit the dealer he had mentioned to me before, insisting that I did not have to buy anything, that we were going just to see the car and may be take it for a test. I did it only to get him off my back. I was still crushed by the feeling of being a victim of a scam that cost me dearly.

We entered the lot and parked our car. Then, my friend took me to the car he was talking about: A red Toyota MR2. This one had a T-top roof. My friend told me it was 2 year newer, that it was in better condition than the one I had; and then, he mentioned something I had never heard of before: it had a supercharger. After a brief inspection, I agreed with him that it was indeed in a much better condition. I had a vague idea that a supercharger was something that helped the performance but that was about it. The dealer let me take it for a spin in the company of my friend. That was possible only because they were friends. Anyway, we decided to take it to the highway so I could experience the performance. My friend's idea was for me to feel the difference between this car and the one I lost. When we reached the city's outskirts I did just that. I stopped the car and then accelerated…

I was another person when we were back at the dealer. The moment I depressed the accelerator pedal and actually FELT what a supercharged was all about, I fell in love with the car. However, decided to NOT being defrauded twice, I asked the dealer to give me a copy of the car's papers and then, asked my friend's fiancé, who is a lawyer to investigate the car for any red flags. Also, I did not want payments. I wanted to have the title ASAP, just to be sure. I was expecting a sizable payment in hard currency from my contract with Shell CCA and I was planning to use it to pay cash for the car. The total price was about US$6,000.00 I made a good faith deposit in local currency and one month later I had paid in full for it. Two weeks after my shocking experience, I was the proud owner of a 1988 MR2 Supercharged inline 4, good for 145 HP, 5-speed manual transmission and a redline of 7500 rpm.

At the time, I was working like a slave, probably 80 to 100 hours a week. I had so much business that I had my brother working for me, also long hours and I had to hire temporary help. That's how I managed to invest in my business, keep the payments on my current liabilities on time, have a decent personal expenditures account, make the monthly payments on the scam, save for retirement and, pay in cash for the new hot rodder. I felt on top of the world.

The supercharged engine was a whole new experience for me. Now I had the ultimate in acceleration (at the time and budget). Driving uphill was a breeze. In the short time I had the car before moving to California I had lots of fun of all sorts. To go to the office I could take 2 routes, one "boring" and one very exciting. The second alternative had 2 traffic lights I always enjoyed when I ended at the front of it (as a matter of fact that route had more lights, but it was the last two that I am writing about). I had to make a left and both had left arrows indicators. The first stop was a flat intersection and while I enjoyed the cornering, my main satisfaction was to watch the oncoming traffic turning their heads towards me while I waited for my green light. The car certainly was a magnet. I almost always had the T-top glass panel's covers removed. I told you before: People had to see me in the car. The second stop was the start of a step uphill in the direction I was going to turn. There, I enjoyed the tremendous acceleration that the supercharger imparted to the car. One day I had this experience I will never forget: The left turn consists of a single lane. Normally, the left arrow will go green first and then the through light will go green. This light was setup the other way around. From time to time, some impatient drivers, seeing that no cars are coming from the opposite side of the intersection will turn left the same way you do on an intersection without a left arrow. While I was waiting for the arrow, I noticed a BMW slowly preparing to run without wait. However, the arrow turned green before he could run it. I started my run very slowly, daring him to pass me, and when he was side by side… ZOOM! I took the uphill like the roadrunner, looking the BMW become smaller and smaller in my rearview mirror. It was something I will never forget.

The other experience I will never forget took place during one of my trips to San Pedro Sula. I was coming home when, in one of the few long straight stretches, I noticed (what I thought was) a Honda Accord, getting ready to pass me. I decided to beat him and teach him a lesson, so I accelerated. Surprisingly for me, he kept on coming, and then I thought that it was a special edition Accord. I already told you how our roads are 2 lanes and filled with buses and large trucks. In this occasion this played to my advantage, at least for a while. Nevertheless, we reached a clean stretch and to my surprise, the car passed me while I was doing 105 mph. It was only then when I realized my mistake: I had challenged an Acura Integra V6. The only advantage my supercharged I-4 had over the Integra was 0-60 acceleration; therefore, on an open highway I was doomed. Because of the heavy traffic, I was able to catch up with him and when we reached the curvy uphill part of the road, we started a game of follow the leader, taking turns on the roles of leader and follower. At last, I was able to gain a sizeable advantage over him when we encounter a caravan of about 7 to 8 trucks loosely grouped in three batches with short spaces in between; just what I needed to maneuver. However, realizing that it was only a matter of time until the Acura catch up with me again, and knowing that the last segment would be downhill, I decided to exit the road into the land subdivision in which I had bought a lot and let him believe that I just speeded my way out of sight; but unfortunately he caught me before I could reach the exit, and doing a risky maneuver (passing a bus with oncoming traffic very near), he took the lead and I decided to call it quits. Normally I made the trip on a full tank and at the end I still had between 2 or 3 gallons left. This time I barely made it to the first gas station at the entrance of the city.

Among other experiences worthy of remembrance, there was  the time when my mom's sister came to visit her in San Pedro Sula. She came with her husband and her two daughters. Both of them were anxious to ride with me but I could only take one at a time. I spared them no thrills. Hey, I like to show off like everybody else.

Sometimes my mom would ride with me and I then, I would show her the meaning of the term "spirited driving". At other times (seldom), I would take it easy and let her enjoy a smooth cruise. She had the opportunity to make some trips between San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa or vice versa with me. Once a month she would go to Tegucigalpa to buy household products that were cheaper. Also, she had an excuse to visit me and my brother who was living with me at the time.

When I moved to California I sold it to the friend who took me to the dealer where I got the first MR2. He paid me almost the same I paid. That's another peculiarity about my country. Due to high inflation and currency depreciation, cars do not lose value the way they do here. This was the last 2 seater I owned for a long while; but not because I wanted. However, that will be the subject of another chapter…

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