Archive for July, 2011

1987 Toyota MR-2

Posted: July 11, 2011 in My Cars

I originally purchased this car from an eccentric man in the woods of Maryland who kept an MR-2 and Renault graveyard.  I know, Renaults – I can’t even name one, but this guy loved them.  He also loved his MR-2s.  This one was in decent shape, the body appeared relatively rust free and it drove fairly well.  The speedometer didn’t work, but I purchased it from him for $1,500.  I mean, it looked really cool and was cheap – why not?

I kept the car as a companion to my constantly in the shop Mazda RX-8.  This was a delightful commuter that proved you don’t need big horsepower for big fun.  The little 1.6 revved freely and the gears changed smoothly.  It routinely delivered 30+ mpg in combined driving and had storage in both the front and the rear for all the things a man in his early 20s might need to carry.

On a plus side, it was incredibly small and a breeze to parallel park.  Even without power steering, the lack of any weight on the front wheels meant that effort was never excessive – with the bonus of exceptional feedback and steering feel.  I really loved how the car handled – it would pivot around itself.

Of course, a teenage car had problems, just like any other teenagers do.  I had to replace the brakes just to pass inspection.  On top of that, it was a little rustier than it appeared on the surface.  I started to experience some pretty severe cooling problems that I couldn’t track down – I wasn’t sure if it was the water pump, a fan switch, the radiator itself – all I know is that I wound up selling it to my friends (who kept their own little MR-2 graveyard) and now it sits, half gutted – having donated its organs in death, so that others may live.