I can virtually guarantee that the last thing someone thinks of when you mention a “mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car” is a car built by Toyota. Unless you happen to be an owner of said mid-engine, rear wheel drive sports car. Don’t get me wrong, Toyota is a great company, but it just never hung it’s hat on that market segment.
While it is claimed that the name MR 2 stands for “Mid-engine, Rear-wheel-drive, 2-seater”, I like to think that despite it’s diminutive good looks, it’s still a car secure enough in its manhood that it demands you respect it. In fact, just call it “Mister 2”.
Whenever I see one out and about, which is not often, I think to myself, “Oh yes, right. A Mister 2” because I keep forgetting about Toyota’s sporty little intention. Which is a strange response on my part now that I think about it, as I am an owner of both a Toyota and a mid-engined rear-wheel-drive sports car (not a Toyota), and like a small dog sniffing out other small dogs, you’d think we’d have our pack-mates at top of mind. But alas…
Don’t get me wrong though I’m no exhaust-pipe sniffer, despite what it may seem like when you read my posts. But at least in my own mind it seems like I would think of the tiny tot of Toyota (with rear-wheel-drive no less) more often, or that it would at least be more on my radar. Like Honda’s S2000. That’s at the top of mind at least when it comes to Japanese sports cars.
But then again the Honda has quite the revvy little engine with a 9000 rpm redline that makes it as unforgettable as seeing an atomic blast, or a dockside lobster roll in Maine, or last month’s centerfold for that matter. Wait, what was her name again…? Just get me another lobster roll.
That’s not to take anything away from Mister 2, despite being slower to 60 than the S2000 by a full second at 6.8 seconds it still was known for it’s excellent and smooth handling. It’s the kind of car that is just a decent all-around guy and isn’t terribly persnickety or demanding of expensive maintenance. Much like the front-engine, rear-drive Toyota 86 which followed it, it was a good handler. It’s just that it begged for a little extra oomph.
On the other hand, it’s ideally suited for those who really enjoy prodding their cars to get the most out of them without landing themselves in the bottom bunk of a very austere hotel room with thick metal bars replacing one wall, and a burly, flatulent gentleman named Diesel as a roommate. Mister 2 can keep you out of that sort of trouble. So that’s worth a lot right there.
What’s difficult for me to believe is that the car was sold from 1984-2007 over 3 generations. That’s a lot of years for any vehicle to be manufactured, and yet the low production numbers means that there aren’t too many good examples on the market at any given time. However, you’ll be happy to know that one particularly good and particularly yellow example of the Mister 2 – yes I’m going to keep calling it that – is not only available, but I’m hand delivering it right to you.
This low milage (46,000) runabout hails from Missoula, MT and has an asking price of $8,900. The seller states that there are no dents are scratches, that the tires are in good condition and that despite what it says in the sidebar, it has a 5-speed manual transmission. The 1.8 liter inline-4 should be good for about 138 bhp and 126 lb-ft of torque, and weighs in at approximately 2,195 pounds.
Despite being in what one would consider a wintry sort of state, the car is said to have never been driven in snow or during the winter. This Mister 2 is claimed to be in like new condition and get 30 mpg. All for what amounts to pocket change (not much more than 10% of the cost) when you compare it to say…a well-optioned new Boxster. There’s a lot of fun to be had in this bitty buggy, especially for under 10 big ones. Particularly so given Toyota’s reputation for reliability; it’s got a LOT of life left. Can I hear an amen?
Contact the seller of this yeller feller, a 2002 Toyota MR 2 by clicking HERE to take you to the original listing on Craigslist.
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