RE: Toyota MR2 GT-S | Spotted

RE: Toyota MR2 GT-S | Spotted

Sunday 2nd February

Toyota MR2 GT-S | Spotted

A JDM turbo model in immaculate condition. And wearing an optimistic price tag...



With one eye (or maybe both) on the American market, Toyota opted to launch its second-generation MR2 as a bigger, more comfortable, more practical two-seater for 1989. While this upset many purists - who’d justly fallen for the smaller, lighter and simpler first-gen car - for everyone else, the prospect of a practical, mid-engined and rear-drive Japanese sports car was hard to resist. In the SW20 generation MR2’s decade of production, 140,000 were sold worldwide – with the US accounting for most sales (as predicted) and the UK the second most. It was a stunning success.

Its reputation has faltered a bit since. Affordability and high sales volume tend to dent a model’s used values, leaving the MR2 vulnerable to purchase from those seeking a cheap project car. While some uprated SW20s have accentuated the underlying talents of Toyota’s sweet-handling two-seater, others were not so fortunate and have fallen foul of tasteless modifications. Those cars, perhaps unsurprisingly, either meet with an early end or get passed around for peanuts from one optimistic restorer to the next. They’re still about; just browse the classifieds.


Those to have escaped the hacksaw and eBay cone filters are also still around, though. And that’s a relief because the SW20 MR2 base had plenty to recommend it. Toyota tuned the chassis on UK roads, so there’s a decent ride to go along with that mid-engined balance, although not without the slight risk of snap oversteer in slippery conditions. Predictably that only made the car more respectable in the rights hands, as did the excellent seating position and tightly stacked gear ratios in manual five-speed variants. Factor in a generally reliable, affordable-to-maintain and relatively practical package (especially compared to the NA and NB MX-5s), and there's good reason not to let the MR2 slip from the radar completely.

That being said, the most compelling MR2 models never officially made it to Britain, supposedly because Toyota UK didn’t want to hinder sales of its already struggling Celica GT-Four. It took private imports to get examples of the turbocharged SW20 over, including the JDM-only GT-S, which featured Toyota’s innovative β€˜twin entry turbo’ tech to reduce low-rev lag. This car used a 245hp version of the 3S-GTE 2.0-litre four-cylinder, giving the 1,260kg 175hp per tonne car a 0-60mph time of 6.5 seconds. Some have, of course, been modified with bigger turbos to produce in excess of 300hp. But thanks to the good starting performance, plenty have remained original.


Today’s Spotted is completely unmolested, even retaining its original 15-inch wheels to back suggestion that it’s never passed through the hands of a tuner. The car is so clean that it has featured in Modern Classic magazine, having only recently been imported from Japan where it’s said to have suffered nothing in the way of rust or corrosion. Handily, it is already registered in the UK, although the seller does state that the standard state of the setup means it can easily be exported and homologated elsewhere. Given that 2020 marks the car’s 25th year, we suspect the seller is thinking of the US market – where it’s now legal for import. That probably helps to explain the Β£10k asking price, which ranks it top of the Mk2 MR2 pile on PH’s classifieds.


SPECIFICATION - TOYOTA MR2 (SW20)

Engine: 1,998cc 4-cyl, turbocharged
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 245@6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 224@4,000rpm
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 1995
Recorded mileage: 56,000 miles
Price new: N/A
Yours for: Β£9,995

See the original advert here

Author
Discussion

rossub

Original Poster:

2,914 posts

148 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Doesn’t seem like a silly price to me for something that mint with those miles.

jorders500

49 posts

47 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Agreed.


ate one too

2,278 posts

104 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Photographed on a white background would make it worth £19,995 ...... wink

J4CKO

31,686 posts

158 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Always thought these were the best looking MR2, and can still get something nice for not much money, saw this

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1998-TOYOTA-MR2-GT-REV-...

If you arent bothered about turbos that looks a decent example, not much that did the rounds on Gran Turismo is still fairly cheap, can go cheaper still but quite a few heaps out there.

evojam

323 posts

118 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Certain PH's staff writers seem to think anything over 2k is mega expensive and massively overpriced laugh Looks sweet and a good price IMO considering what nice unmolested MR2 turbos sell for at auction in Japan nowadays.

cerb4.5lee

16,470 posts

138 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
I've got very fond memories of these. It was the only car that beat me at the traffic light grand prix(where I lived at the time everyone was up for a little bit of fun back then!) when I had my 200sx(running 250bhp). The chap in his was running 260bhp and he left me for dead to start with and it was only once I was rolling that I caught him up. I've fancied one my self ever since.

s m

19,813 posts

161 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
evojam said:
Certain PH's staff writers seem to think anything over 2k is mega expensive and massively overpriced laugh Looks sweet and a good price IMO considering what nice unmolested MR2 turbos sell for at auction in Japan nowadays.
Haha - I’ve noticed that too!
Price seems great to me when you look at the condition and potential - old German/Italian stuff can be many multiples more but they get very hung up re Jap stuff and Fords/Vauxhall’s
These can be very quick with a little work

Edited by s m on Sunday 2nd February 10:24

Screechmr2

263 posts

62 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Got the 0-60 wrong, they weren't that slow, it's 5.3 secs, the original 220bhp models were 5.7 secs.

I had 2 mr2 turbos, fantastic cars, miss them both. One was the 220bhp rev1 with a few mods and the other was heavily modified rev3.

monzaxjr

549 posts

104 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
s m said:
Haha - I’ve noticed that too!
Price seems great to me when you look at the condition and potential - old German/Italian stuff can be many multiples more but they get very hung up re Jap stuff and Fords/Vauxhall’s
These can be very quick with a little work

Edited by s m on Sunday 2nd February 10:24
Yip. For something that is immaculate, standard and low mileage the price seems very reasonable compared to other cars out there.

SuperSonicSloth

37 posts

30 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Always loved these. A decade ago I was the first UK owner of this completely stock fresh import rev 1. Not many of these with the original tiny wheels on now! Even at the time she was 20 years old, but looked good for it. For me, black is the colour for the mk2.



Later on, in an attempt to relive my MR2 glory days, I bought a tarted up rev 2 "fixxer upper" on ditchfinders and badly setup coilovers. A pretty lethal combination as it turned out (duh). The thing tried to kill me before I could sort it out.

J867 XCF is apparently still out there somewhere. I'd probably buy it back given the chance, lovely thing.

Edited by SuperSonicSloth on Sunday 2nd February 11:49

Jamie-rhpkn

66 posts

59 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Brilliant cars, I've had two nas and on my second turbo now. Unfortunately they just don't seem to have gotten the love they deserve.

Main reasons I can think of are:

- 'playful' handling of the original rev 1's
- many examples abused asthetically and badly modified
- chav image, see above
- rejection by the original MK1 crowd who didn't like the added weight and looks
- frankly dull engine sound

Personally I love the look of the standard rev 3+ cars, great handling, rare, comfy, practical (for a 2-seater) and with the turbo, fast enough for road driving.

At £10k the price seems quite fair if it's a genuine car.




Schmed

1,853 posts

30 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Out of the three incarnations definitely the best looking one.

Krikkit

19,528 posts

139 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
PH said:
Factor in a generally reliable and affordable-to-maintain package (especially compared to the NA and NB MX-5s) and there's good reason not to let the MR2 slip
Sorry, how are MX5s hard or expensive to maintain? I'd put them in for the most metronomically reliable driver's cars you can buy.

Obviously rust is a problem, but that's true of just about everything from Japan in the 90s.

fullleather

167 posts

79 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Had the exact car back in 2002 on a 94 plate, the usual yellow fogs, side lights, red-flare thing in the passenger foot well. speed limiter set at the 112mph mark. It was reliable all the way to 100,000 miles on the original clutch even. sold on ebay for £8000 to a German buyer who flew over here to collect it.
Coming from a regular AW11 into this 3SGTE was nothing short of a great thing indeed. I'll never forget the surge in third gear as the sales chap demonstrated how you had to floor it in order to get the boost.....imho it never looked better than in pure white.

klunk0

8 posts

41 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Happy (if mixed) memories.

Had a UK car (non-turbo) - 1993 T-bar rev3 reg L584CNE

I looked it up a while back but long gone sadly - crashed or rusted out I guess.

My eccentric choice of spec - Turquoise Pearl (it's lovely Toyota should use it more but that seems to be a minority view in that they canned it), manual, black leather. Not that many like it

Memories:

Fun to drive generally but scary when the popup headlights lifted the front at high speed on a wet motorway and the steering went light.
And hopeless in the snow on regular tires. Small and wide tires, good mid-engine weight balance and zero grip. Fishtail agogo trying to pull away or failing to climb a tiny car park slope.
Incendiary black leather if you left the T-Bar unshielded on a summer's day
Alertness required to stop people jacking it up innappropriately
The odd plumbing and coolant fluid change protocols
T-bar a smidge blustery vs better sorted convertibles. Still a lovely thing to have right until you need to close it "now" in a Scottish downpour. Perhaps it is a gateway drug to caterham or morgan ownership.

Still would

CDP

6,252 posts

212 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
This or a tatty old Escort?

No contest.

LaurasOtherHalf

18,170 posts

154 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
The best looking MR2? Can't hold a candle to the mk3 in the handling stakes though.

CDP

6,252 posts

212 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
LaurasOtherHalf said:
The best looking MR2? Can't hold a candle to the mk3 in the handling stakes though.
My old MK2 couldn't hold a candle to my MG TF in the handling stakes but has a quite different appeal. It's a more grown up car and feels significantly more expensive, which is probably because it was...



PhantomPH

3,439 posts

183 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
ate one too said:
Photographed on a white background would make it worth £19,995 ...... wink
I got that reference. winkbiggrin

TameRacingDriver

13,686 posts

230 months

Sunday 2nd February
quotequote all
Had a Mk2 Turbo Rev2 and an MR2 Roadster (2003). The latter was definitely a better handling car, and what I imagine to be a poor mans Elise (not Boxster, despite similarities in looks, its more of a GT), but the Mk2 had a real exotic feel to it, even though mine was a bit of a nail. It felt visceral, lots of feel, but at the same time could do a long distance in comfort and it really looked the part. I didn’t have long with it but will never forget it.