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


P.H. O'meter

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Comments (181) Join the discussion on the forum

  • loudlashadjuster 30 Jul 2010

    Love these, and seriously considered one about 3 or 4 years B.K. (before kids) but was put off by the fact that almost all of them that I looked at were suffering badly round the rear arches.

    This looks a good 'un though, the right colour (not white), the right wheels and everything smile

  • HereBeMonsters 30 Jul 2010

    I very nearly bought one about 5 years ago, but again, rust issues, and leaky sunroof put me off. I will own one at some point though - certainly one on my "must own" list...

  • RallyRider 30 Jul 2010

    My brother-in-law had one of these in blue (G400 TYO?) and when my sister drove it to college my mates were very jealous. Great little cars.

  • sidaorb 30 Jul 2010

    Great little car, was the closest I found to my old X19 for sheer 'go-kart' fun. Very tempted but I know what O/H will say frown

  • meltie 30 Jul 2010

    What an excellent deal! I had one of these last year - just be doubly sure it's not got the rot under the repairs somehow. Mine 'went' incredibly quickly when the rust took hold.

    Lovely motor though smile

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