It was a frigid 62-degree morning in San Diego, and I found myself on the cusp of being late for a 7am meeting. Normally I’d pray before trying to turn the key, but my MR2 had been unusually well behaved lately, and I left my holy water/glycol mix upstairs. True to its newfound form, it started promptly, and was soon zipping (ok, puttering) down the road to the office, all 112 of Toyota’s finest horsepower present and correct.
The AW11 MR2 had long been a bucket list car of mine, and after returning to San Diego from a disastrous stint with a NASCAR team, I searched high and low for a suitable example. I wanted a car close to daily-driver status, but with enough foibles to be cheap and keep me busy on weekends when I wasn’t racing. It took several weeks and four or five dead ends before I found my car, a cocaine-white 1987 model with 300,000 miles, 30 degrees of free play in the steering, and a distinctive three-cylinder warble. The seller had priced it optimistically, but he consumed an entire six-pack while I was inspecting the car, so I forked over 60% of the asking price and bolted before he changed his mind and/or found his shotgun.