PH FLEET: TOYOTA MR2
The MR2 reveals some nasty surprises lurking beneath its shiny exterior
The first indication of this came when I took it to the garage I regularly use (Morley Auto Services, on the site of the former Gatwick TVR) to have the cambelt and clutch done. There was much banter about the way these rust, and I asked – half-jokingly – that if they lifted it up on the ramp and found it to be full of holes underneath, they abort the job. I left in high spirits in one of the courtesy cars. However, my heart sank when, 10 minutes down the road, the phone rang. It was indeed Morleys, and I knew that a phone call this early on in the day meant either they couldn’t find the locking wheelnut key, or there was something very, very wrong.
Essentially, it appears that at some point in the car’s past, some kind soul has repaired both rear sills by stuffing them full of newspaper and filling the gaps with fibreglass. How it got through several MoTs in this state makes the mind boggle but unfortunately it’s muggins here who’s been left in the lurch.
‘Don’t say we didn’t warn you,’ will come the cry, and yes, point taken. I knew these things rusted – but I wasn’t expecting to have a hound on my hands quite this soon. Having checked it over pretty thoroughly I was pretty sure it was (mostly) straight. My mistake, if you'll pardon the expression, was not reaching under the skirts to poke the hidden parts of the sill, and being content with a visual inspection. Lesson learned. And how.
But I do really, really enjoy driving it, even with all its quirks. Its uninhibited retro appeal and the airiness that comes from the glass roof, off or on, are touches I love, and that’s before we mention the fantastic little engine. I’d stand to lose a fair chunk of cash, if I were to sell it now, too.
Car: 1989 Toyota MR2
Run by: Scrof
Bought: Dec 2012
Purchase price: £1,500
Last month at a glance: It's rotten to the core - time to walk away.
Banned from buying an MX-5 Alex finds an MR2 with PH previous