What happened...as I understand it...was that the car in question was being operated in SEVERE cold up in Canada. Like -30 degrees. The weather was so cold that the relays for the ignition and other systems would not function. So the car would crank and crank and crank, the engine would flood, and it wouldn't start. This scene played out a few times, and eventually damaged the engine's cylinders to the point that it lost compression and needed to be replaced.
Mitsubishi replaced the motor and also replaced the relays with ones more suited to the cold. I am not sure if the owner was using a block heater or not, but it might have prevented the problem. Further, I believe that block heaters became standard equipment on Canadian Mirages shortly thereafter?
Not sure why that CVT needed to be replaced. It may have just been 'a bad one'?
Anyhow, you shouldn't have too much trouble with a manual car in Missouri!