SOTW: Mk1 Toyota MR2


Toyota might be a company that started life building sewing machines, and that today tends to focus its enormous corporate might on selling automotive white goods in the millions, but it is not, as some occasionally accuse it of being, a corporation bereft of soul.

Today's SOTW is proof of Toyota's passion. The MR2's origins actually go back to 1976, when Toyota decided that it wanted to build a small sports car that was both enjoyable to drive and fairly economical, but the car didn't actually appear until the Tokyo motor show in 1983, before going on sale in the UK in 1985.


During that time, the little Toyota became mid-engined, acquired its rather kitsch 'Midship Runabout 2-seater moniker, and got a zingy twin-cam 1.6-litre engine with 122bhp and 105lb ft. It also visited Lotus (in whom Toyota had a major shareholding at the time) to receive a fettling from one Roger Becker - who has just finished his illustrious career at Lotus with the special-edition RGB Elise - and even spent some development time with former F1 driver Dan Gurney behind the wheel.

The result was a fun, light coupe. As a result, the first-generation model has always had a bit of a cult following, although the attentions of rot and the tendency for the cars to be backed into objects at high speed has made them quite rare these days.


Cheap unmolested ones still exist, though, as PHer Ian Bond (Only1ian) - the proud owner of three Mk1 MR2s - has proved. He's spotted this one and sent it through to Shed, having been inspired by the forthcoming FT-86 coupe, as a reminder of how good some Toyotas have been in the past.

"If you dont use it," says Ian, "I'd love to know what you could have possibly found that's more fun, topical and cheap!" Quite right Ian - it looks clean, it's got an MOT but no rust, and for Shed's notional £1k budget you should have some spare change for a bit of repair work, should you need it.

Perhaps a telling insight into just how much the Mister-Two gets under your skin is this comment of the vendor's: "I already have a MK1 MR2 and spent a small fortune on it and have been told in no uncertain terms - not again."

This one's even red, so you can pretend it's a baby Ferrari (except one that's reliable and cheap to run).

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Advert is reproduced below:


1989 TOYOTA MR2 MK1 RED (1989)
77,000 miles £800

I have for sale a red 1989 Mk1 MR2 T - Bar

I have this car checked out by my friendly mechanic who carried out the MOT and there is nothing wrong with.

The rear wheel arches have been repaired and are therefore rust free. Body wise it is in very good condition.

Underneath is in excellent condition.

Interior is also in very good condition.

T - Bar does not leak

Bad points


Paintwork is a little bit patchy when close up

Rear window spoiler is missing

I already have a MK1 MR2 and spent a small fortune on it and have been told in no uncertain terms - not again

Please feel free to ask any questions





   
   
   


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Comments (183) Join the discussion on the forum

  • dinkel 10 Aug 2010

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_PkswoXMx0

    Phew . . . decent soundbyte.

  • OlberJ 06 Aug 2010

    Nimbus said:
    it really comes down to whether you want something thats drivable day to day, or a beast wink
    That's where the V6 comes in. Best of both worlds.

  • Nimbus 06 Aug 2010

    sunsurfer said:
    Nimbus said:
    while I am at it, some photo pimpage of my current Mk1..




    Very nice Nimbus. Mine is also a dark blue T-bar with white wheels although not a supercharger.

    Talking of which - can you tell us about the supercharger and how it is different from the normal aspirated?
    So while I'm in SOTW mode...

    I've had 2 other NA mk1s, before this SC one, and each time I've had a break of about ~18 months before coming back to them. So in this case, my car in between the NA and SC was a lovely Porsche 911/993 Carrera.
    That, and also getting into bikes, and a Daytona 675 has somewhat swayed my view of what a car perfoms like, 9lets face it, theya re all slow compared to a 600+ cc bike), but..

    My main impressions of driving the SC over an NA is the mid range. It just has so much torque.. The car is a fair bit heavier, what with the aircon and all.. but that just seems to make it feel a bit more 'planted'. So in day to day traffic it feels pretty much like an NA, until you really put your foot down, at which point it just pulls and pulls, in any gear, and more or less from 3k revs up...

    The whine from the supercharger is pretty cool too, tho it is a bit thirsty.. I'm seeing ~25mpg if I drive carefully ! So with that small tank, petrol stops are frequent..

    Insurance is a bit pricey over the NA too, as most places dont seem to want to give sensible quotes as its an import frown
    I'm paying about £300 for it, compared to less than £200 for the 306 gti-6 I just bought.

    Other than that, its just a mk1 mr2 with more poke..

    Realistically, with the state of most mr2s on the road now, if I was looking for a replacement, I think rather than look for a decent SC, a better option would be to find a decent NA, and then get an engine transplant, either the turbo, or maybe the 20v, but there are so many options, that it really comes down to whether you want something thats drivable day to day, or a beast wink

  • OlberJ 03 Aug 2010

    Wadeski said:
    OlberJ said:
    Its not really one step better, Paul gave up on the project before it ran on the road :/
    Eh? I think he'd like to know about that laugh

    It's in full swing at the minute. That's an Audi 4.2 V8 there, 350bhp version.


    You'll be talking about the old V8 convertible he started? Yeah that got binned due to rust.

  • Wadeski 03 Aug 2010

    OlberJ said:
    Its not really one step better, Paul gave up on the project before it ran on the road :/

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