Let's begin with work that has been done and other events that have occurred since I acquired my MkII Mr2.
Firstly, I lost my gas cap. Cost $18.50 to replace. It was the first and hopefully is the last time I will lose a gas cap. I had happily used up most of the tank when upon refilling one day discovered it missing and had to temporarily use scrunched up paper towels.
Secondly, the car was nearing 100,000ks so I had the cam belt changed. This was quite a process. I took it to the Whangarei dealership and they used up most of the day, even working after hours to get it done. Apparently even a mirror has to be used in the process in order to see in the confined engine bay space! Anyway, I understand they were having some problems, but was happy to finally get the car back. After about half an hours drive I was very concerned. The car was very underpowered, jerky, and slightly noisy. It was the cam belt, and the timing was out. Took it back, and they fixed it good without charging extra.
Grill spotlight stopped working, took three visits to dealership to finally get it going. By the way, the bulb in the spotlight is high quality German material. cost = $10.00.
Clutch lever squeaks when used. Not a problem, but has been checked and remedied only to return.
Alternator belt replaced and started squealing shortly after replacement, but was tensioned again by dealer. Started squealing just recently, but my dad and I tensioned it ourselves and it's fine.
Cost $642.15 for the cam belt, coolant change, alternator belt, power steering belt, spotlight fix, and general check over. Not too bad really considering the troubles caused by the cam belt and spotlight.
Exhaust bracket gave out on my single exhaust (had been changed to a single exhaust for some reason). Easily fixed.
It would be good to mention that I live on about 7ks of gravel road. Yes GRAVEL. Mr2's do not like dust being mid engine. My Mr2 had the air intake system modified to a pod filter (HKS) which sucked up significant amounts of dust kicked up by the front wheals. I tried temporarily inserting foam pads in the air vents to stem some of the dust flow. I'm not sure it worked. Driving on the gravel nearly bought me to tears (well, not quite that bad, but you get the idea). Anyway the 'free flow' foam pod filter (mushroom type) was letting some dust through which I suspect was the cause of my next problem. The idling valve. The Mr2 would idle so low at times it would conk out. Very annoying and frustrating. Eventually the problem was analyzed and fixed not without me worrying. The air inlet system had to be removed to get at the valve which was then freed up. Cost = $84.00. Have since acquired a paper-type, cylindrical pod filter.
Power steering failed. I can tell you having no power steering in the Ford Telestar is very different to none in the Mr2. It is very hard to steer! Anyway, got the terminals cleaned (probably that infernal dust again) and it currently works at about 90% efficiency, can have a hint of stiffness occasionally when parking.
Cost from Albany Toyota to discover and fix and complete other basic tests = $81.55.
Oh, and the targa tops leak a little behind the right driver and left passenger shoulders, and also can be quite noisy when removed. With the windows up the noise decreases about 40%. Nevertheless I enjoy targa tops very much, the feeling of freeness is great.
The red paint has faded a little on the driver's side, but generally the paint is extremely good when compared with other red Mr2's. Note that pre-1992 Mr2's had issues with the red paint, fading, spottiness, etc.
Have changed oil with my father's help. This is fairly easy.
Replaced rear tyres, and managed to squeeze 225 wide tires on the aftermarket alloys. My GT doesn't have a limited slip diff so taking off around corners can lead to the inside tyre spinning if you're not careful - increases needless ware and tear.
From the above you may think that the dealers were abit dodgy. Let me tell you that the Whangarei people are very professional and fair. In my experiences them, I am generally impressed. From what I've seen, Toyota dealers have good, professional staff.
I purchased this Mr2 GT from a guy in Christchurch. I live in near Whangarei so the process involved a flight and a long road trip back up North.
Having researched Mr2's for a good couple of months beforehand, saving money for much longer, and pretty much devouring all MkII information I could get my hands on, I was absolutely hyped about finally going get myself a Toyota Mr2 of my very own. Essentially, this car was my dream car that had filled my imaginations for quite awhile. In the mean time I was patiently driving a sturdy, reliable 1985 Ford Telestar.
If you know much about Mr2s, I'm sure you're familiar with the whole "MkII Mr2's are very liable to have the back whip out in the wet" comments. I have never had this happen to me, and being a turbo it is more likely to happen when putting the power down. Watch it when braking or letting up on the gas while ripping around a corner though because I have read that this may cause the rear to come loose.
The handling is absolutely marvellous. After a few years of the Ford I was nearly agape at how well this car corners in wet and dry. On one occasion I involuntarily managed over-steer. A very unusual, foreign and somewhat unnerving feeling. However, give me abit of over-steer rather than under-steer any day. The Ford under-steered relatively easily. If were to go back to that environment I'm sure it would drive me nuts.
Power is breathtaking at first, then gradually becomes the norm. I find the twin-entry single ceramic turbo system very smooth. Often you hear people talking about cars giving a "kick in the back" when the turbo gets going. I don't find this with the Mr2 at all. The turbo responds very sensitively with throttle movements, and a faint hiss can be heard when it gets spinning. The turbo Mr2 is the only way to go as far as I'm concerned. Overtaking is pretty much a breeze, and high speeds (180+ without limiter) within easy grasp.
The seats are very nice. The leather in mine has stood up to time with moderate wear showing only on the drivers right side support. The lumber is abit overkill and also a bit high for my liking. All in all the seats keep you snug while careering around those tight bends.
Luggage room has never really been a problem for me and is quite adequate. I'm single though; so a couple may have issues. My father and I managed to survive without any trouble on the few days it took us traveling back north.
The ride is firm and reassuring. Suspension is not overly hard. Wind noise is pretty good with the Mr2 having a low wind coefficient of.31.
My Mr2 has a front spoiler. This was installed when I purchased the car. I did not take this into account when I purchased the car, but think the looks are improved. I feel that the standard front of a 1990 Mr2 (Revision 1 air dam) can tend to have a slightly 'chinless' look from some angles. The spoiler really has an effect on this. I'm not saying the standard Mr2 doesn't look good, because it is a beautiful car. However, a front spoiler seems to enhance things a little.
This is a great car. Any issues that relate to two seater cars I label "delightful inconveniences" when my friends comment on the lack of seats, boot room etc. These are things that you are just eager to 'put up with' if it means owning an Mr2.
Another attractive aspect I find about MkII Mr2's is the size of the car. It's smallish and maneuverable with excellent visibility. Also the engine is a 4-cylinder allowing economic fuel consumption if needed. At one stage I got 36 miles to the gallon on the way back from Christchurch! This is mostly travelling at 100km/hr, but also through towns including overtaking etc. Great stuff.
This is a good quality vehicle and if anything happened to my current Mr2, I would definitely look at purchasing another one. A great car.