The second generation of the Toyota MR2 had a rough old time of it in the motoring press. Accused of being both less agile than its boxy predecessor and more likely to punish the incautious with an unwanted pirouette, the Mk2 MR2 was, if not quite vilified, then at least given a mild shoeing.
And yet I've always harboured a distinct longing for the curvy 90s iteration of the Mister Two, and time hasn't dulled my desire. At its launch, many likened its looks to the Ferrari 348 - ironically another car much maligned for its handling. Seen through the prism of the passing years, that comparison seems rather quaint. I mean, could a car look any more Japanese? And the curvy mid-engined coupe definitely has a whiff of exotica about it even now.
Go for a slightly later version and you won't get the unruly handling, either. Toyota brought out a 'Revision 2' in 1992 with revised suspension geometry. Find yourself a Rev 3 and you get a few subtle styling tweaks and a dollop of extra power, too, with 180hp in the later versions as opposed to the 155hp in the earlier cars.
This is almost certainly a 'Revision 2' so, although you don't get the extra poke, there is the reassurance of more stable handling.
There are issues with today's SOTW, mind. The geek in me isn't strong enough to say for sure whether or not this is a UK car (especially without a satisfactory shot of the rear of the car) - though it seems likely - while the advert is painfully short on detail. Especially for a car that has purportedly travelled a pretty whopping 185,000 miles.
But it's got tax and ticket, the vendor says it's just been serviced and has a new set of brake pads. For £895, there's not really much more you can ask of your mid-engined coupe, is there?
.....this will most likely spark a great debate over the MX-5, MR2, MGF comparison..but at this price point i don't think it matter, just enjoy some cheap motoring with adequate poke, whats not to like.
Enough warning signs to set bells ringing even at less than £900. At least there appears to be no trace of "Barry" ownership, looks straight to my inexpert eye? BUT...
Never really like the shape of the mk2, love the mk1 and "quite like" the mk3 but the mk2 was always a bit "blobby" for my taste and quite anonymous on the road (of course time has changed that and they now stand out more among the massed blandmobiles on our roads)
Was always a Celica man back when these were current (room for the kids) but always liked the looks of the mk2 MR2 and it seemed to have just about enough go as standard. I reckon it's a good shed as a second car for a bit of cheap fun but it would be worth looking around because I bet you get a few of these to choose from at this price.
To anyone thinking of buying one: - the stock exhaust is really heavy, get an aftermarket stainless steel one (it'll sound better as well!). You'll notice the lack of weight straight away. - front tyres are 195/55/15 and are cheap (£30 per corner for T1Rs), rears are 225/50/15 and are not (£80 per corner for T1Rs) - there's no LSD, so it can be prone to spinning the inside wheel on track, on the road you won't notice it - they aren't as twitchy as people make out, you can still control a slide (if it should happen ) - with the stock seat, there's not much head room if you're 6 foot+. Especially with a helmet on. - don't skimp on tyres, mine had Nexus on the rear and they were appalling (though fun), especially in the wet. - try to get a rev 3+
Well, the 185k miles shouldn't be a problem I'd think, the 3S-GE engines are pretty solid!
I picked up years ago a Mk1 (had a MkII prior to that) for £800 with 211,000 miles, then proceeded to take it to every circuit in the UK and generally rag the arse out of it ALL THE TIME (I was early 20's so it was allowed) - the worst thing that happened was a spark plug blew at Brands, got a lift to the local car store, picked up a new set of plugs, fitted them (engine was still warm!) and was back out for the rest of the day, cloest thing it ever had to a break down - in stark contrast to the S1 Exige I upgraded to.
Sadly, the dreaded tin worm finished that car off, the engine however just never showed even the slightest sign of giving up. Brilliant stuff! Bring back the days of teh Toyota motto being "We will make the best cars"