The search started in earnest several weeks ago. Hunting around for the weekly hypothetical SOTW threw up some interesting ideas. Should we stick with our success in the hot hatch genre, or were big barges the way forward now that fuel prices have taken a small tumble? There was so much to look at, and barely a single afternoon passed without a link to a new ‘potential’ Shed Special finding its way between our inboxes.
Fortunately there are literally hundreds of ropey looking MR2s around ranging from a few hundred pounds to over a grand, but with the British summer time notoriously short and the sun already beating down we needed a car with only a few minor problems so as not to miss any potential fair weather convertible buyers.
After a search for all sub £1k MR2s within a 40 mile radius flung up only half a dozen results our confidence dipped a little, but as luck would have it the penultimate result looked promising. The ad read along the lines of MR2 GT T-Bar, 75k miles, excellent condition, £800. It was looking good, and best of all it was only 8 miles away. The pictures didn’t give much away. The pictures were slightly dark, and the white paint job made identifying any knocks a lot harder. One thing we did know was that the interior looked like it had done 175,000 miles, so I put the call in to the seller with a degree of scepticism.
Breaking with PH tradition of buying cars in the dark, on a wet night in the wrong part of town, RacingPete and I went to see the white T-Bar on a clear and bright evening. Pete had even done his homework too, after interrogating learned PH users on the pitfalls of the MkII MR2.
I’ll freely admit, our first impressions were terrible. Not only were the ‘slight dings’ and ‘small rust’ patches a lot more numerous than I had imagined, the paintwork was also a flat as a Yorkshireman’s hat. Nevermind a life in London, this car looked like it had lived in the Sahara, enduring years of sand blasting.
A quick spin, and both RacingPete and I emerged quietly chuffed at our find, but what was this…? Two more buyers were sauntering down the street. We’d been Estate Agented. Pete and I had to think fast.
Not wanting to show our hand too early, we opted for a quick retreat to the local pub. Over an orange juice we pondered our dilemma. Losing the car to our newly arrived rivals would have been no great loss, but we were sure that this was mechanically and electrically strong and to walk away because of some matt paint and a few dents would have been stupid. We stuck it out, weighing up the pros and cons, the cost of two new tyres to replace the worn offside front and the remoulded back. We even considered time and effort it would take Mr Will to tart up the body, and then 20 minutes later we got the call. The buyers had left. Were they plants, sent to hype up the interest in the car? We’ll never know.
The reply came back, ‘five fifty’. Having a wallet bursting at the seams with crisp twenties, we’d already decided we’d go no higher than £540. Pete and I glanced at each other, we shrugged, looked a little disinterested and turned back to the seller. Maybe our faces spoke for us, but he crumbled. “Ahh, what the hell £500,” he said.
What a result. Our derisory offer had won the day, and we were now the proud owners of a heavily weathered MR2.
Unfortunately not everyone back at the office felt the same way when it arrived the next morning. They too were alarmed at state of the body. The torn seat bolster looked ten times worse in the harsh morning rays, and no one believed anything could be done with that paint. But slowly, as one by one people returned from a short trip the little T-Bar began to win them over.
The big question, however, is will it win someone else over, or will PH be stuck with this through the summer and into the winter. Only time will tell, but I have a feeling this won’t be around for long.