1988 Toyota MR2 mk1 T-Bar 1.6L from North America


My first car, a dream


When I had started out, It ran.

The dash is cracked up towards the vent and by the gauges.

The paint job was completely sun-fried, the clear coat was coming off and it was faded.

The tires were also near bald.

I had found out the oil hadn't been changed for 16,000 miles.

After the oil was changed, It ran for another two months (until August 2003). The clutch and the slave cylinder were shot.

Two months later (October 3003), the last of the gaskets were blown in the engine. This started a fire.

General Comments:

Let's start with improvements. I first of all had the clutch and the slave cylinder replaced.

After the fire, it sat for about a month and then I took it to the shop, and had the gaskets replaced and a new exhaust system put in... boy did she purr.

I replaced the tires with Dunlop sports.

I also graced her with a new dark cherry red paint job.

Her handling is like a go-kart, but careful on the turns. At a 90ยบ, anything over about 40 will drift the back end.

Gas mileage is awesome, I get about 29mpg in town and 39mpg highway.

It shifts very quickly, which allows me to downshift quicker and rev it higher.

It gives a boost at about 5000 rpm's and away you go.

It also has a high red-line limit starting at 7500 rpm's.

It's a little slow on the takeoffs, but can pull through in the long run.

I believe it is the county competition, no matter the car, despite the age.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2004

1988 Toyota MR2 NA 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


A high performance bargain


An intake valve is stuck open, so it's not been running for a few months.

I was driving down a Dual Carriageway at 50mph and someone carved me up. I decided to drive up the kerb and use the central reservation to slow me down. In the way of repairs, I had to change the steering rack and the front right suspension components (just in case). There was also some superficial damage caused by the central reservation.

Other than this, reliability has been good.

General Comments:

The car drives like a dream.

Handling is good and precise.

The only downside to the MR2 is the gay/hairdresser image, although if people can't accept me for who I am then why should I worry?

I am saving my pennies for the new MR2 Roadster. I decided not to buy a 2nd generation MR2 (turbo) as I don't feel comfortable with that much power.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd January, 2004

1988 Toyota MR2 T - Bar 1.6 from UK and Ireland


A well designed, well engineered little sports car


The exhaust rusted quite seriously.

The rear wheel-arches are starting to bubble with rust.

The headlamp adjuster for the near side lamp threaded, which required the headlamp unit to be taken apart and rebuilt.

Both hydraulic clutch cylinders leaked.

General Comments:

My car was an original, one owner, well pampered example, and had been owned by one woman for fourteen years when I bought it. She had kept every bill and receipt, and even the original shipping document (in Japanese) and windscreen tag from the transport ship were in the folder accompanying the car.

The T-Vis (Toyota Variable Induction System) 1.6 16 valve engine puts many modern units to shame, with its willingness to rev, and the fantastic stepped power delivery which comes into its own above 5000rpm. At around 120bhp it outperforms many modern 1.6 16 valve enfines, including my previous car, a 1999 Bravo with 'only' 100bhp.

Its also economical for such a quick car, returning 30+ mpg on a regular basis - this drops to around 27 on town trips, and rises to 38 on a long motorway run.

Parts, admittedly, are expensive for a fifteen year old car, but not extortionate. Compared to the modern Fiats I have owned, it is actually very reasonable. Tyres are also cheap, as, while they were high spec in '88, the same size is standard on most average family hatches these days.

This car's raison d'etre though is its handling. The balance afforded by having the engine in the middle of the car, and skipping that modern essential power steering, makes the car feel alive and a joy to take around any roundabout or bend.

It does have to be piloted with care in the wet, however, as I soon discovered when the back tried to overtake the front on a roundabout, not long after I bought the car. Once bitten, you soon learn to treat the car with the respect it deserves, and even enjoy pushing the tail to its (and your) limit.

Forget modern hermetically sealed containers, and get a slice of pure 80s fun. Take the roof out, stick some Duran Duran on the (weak unless you spend a fortune on cutting up the interior) stereo, and make like a hairdresser. Especially if, like me, you get a white one to match your socks.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th August, 2003

26th Sep 2004, 04:26

As an update to this review, now that I have owned the car for two years and have taken the odometer up to 132000 miles, I can add that the performance still amazes - especially on super-unleaded - and that after a new clutch and exhaust it has run almost entirely blamelessly.

The rear arches are going to require attention soon, but I've seen many worse at this age.

Yes it's noisy, yes it can be a handful in the wet, but on the right road, with the roof off it's a complete joy to drive. Few can believe that a 16 year old car can keep ahead of many modern machines, and can easily keep up with a brand new MR2 on the motorway.