The Toyota MR2 is one of my personal favorite cars. The first two iterations of it were great! It started off strong with classic 80’s wedge styling on a budget. The engine, although anemic, could come with an optional supercharger for “fuel economy.” The jewel of the MR2 family however was the W20. It has been dubbed the “Poor man’s Ferrari” by some and it kind of was. The styling of these cars doesn’t seem to date itself. Even more so than ever these cars are attainable. Mid-engined, rear drive and with exotic looks akin to the Ferrari F355. You should go find yourself one on Craigslist somewhere for your daily beater like Cole did here:
When did you get your beater?
It all began with a DRZ 400 which I traded for a Ninja 250r which then turned into the MR-2. It was in August and I had no use for the Ninja and was just searching the interweb. Not really looking for anything in particular just someone that would do a straight trade. The owner was willing but there was a catch. The MR-2 was not running and the rear end and cross member was off the car. So the deal was for me to put everything back together and tow it out. The good thing about it was that he had all the parts organized. The bad was that I had to do everything in 3 hours and in 100 degree weather in his garage.
What do you like about your beater?
It’s a Toyota! I have been a Nissan guy all my life but this thing is weird and quirky. You don’t see much of these cars around anymore. The best part of the car is that is RWD and turbocharged with the engine built by Yamaha. This beater is all around fun.
What do you dislike about your beater?
I hate that it is 25 years old. That means everything is old on it that will break or is broken. Appearance on the thing is not bad but needs a little love in the paint department. The previous owner did not tell me what kind of service was done to it so i have to guess what needs to be done to the little guy. The pin has been pulled now I’m waiting on whats going to go next.
What is the funniest thing that has happened in it? So I am driving to the gym doing the speed limit with the t-tops off and windows down jamming the 90’s hip hop and rap station on Spotify just enjoying life. I get to the stop light and the guy next to me looks down from his SUV and starts staring. He then asks if I have my pinks? I look up at him and just laugh. told him I don’t do that anymore. I’m thinking to my self why would ask that? My car is ugly all the clear coat is chipping away and it’ doesn’t look a ricer car at all. It kinda hit me as soon as I move in my seat that I was in a race bucket seat with a 5 pt harness and a cage. He laughs and we both go back to our own business.
Have you been on any roadtrips?
No road trips yet. I don’t think my car is ready for a stress test yet. I am not trusting the reliability of the MR-2 just yet.
Has it ever broken down on you someplace unpleasant/sketchy?
The day I thought I had everything dialed in with the timing and all the boost leaks I decided to drive it to work. Even though my commute to work is 12 miles there is basically just desert in between. No houses or buildings just sand and fields. So everything is running fine power is good and then a little rubbing sound comes from the engine. The rubbing gets louder then I lose all power. Timing belt snapped 7 miles away from work. I had to call my co-worker to get the flat bed and pick me up. I was all alone in the desert waiting for a trailer to bring me to work.
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