We were just going through our favorite classifieds at the moment (Gumtree for those playing at home) looking for a suitable candidate for our next foray into Bargain Bangers when this lovely example of 80’s Japanese motoring drove right in front of us – a first gen MR2 AW11. And if we somehow make
millions any money from this page, the price is low enough to have us very interested – just $1500 for this piece of mid engined glory! Normally MR2 AW11’s range from 3-13,000 depending on condition and work invested. At first inspection it doesn’t look too shabby for something now 29 years old. (We love those rims!) So why so cheap for a former Japanese Car of the year (in 1985)? Well there would be a fair bit of work involved to get this Mr2 Aw11 back to it’s original showroom glory (or less restoration) work to turn it into something destined for the track. Luckily the classified points out the good and the bad: This car was actually sold new by Cabe Toyota in Long Beach, California USA! It was shipped to Australia when it was less than a year old and professionally converted to RHD. It must have been one of the first MR2’s in Australia as it arrived well before Toyota started selling them here. It has been fully registered in NSW and VIC in the past so re-registration is no problem.
It was factory ordered with Air Con, Cruise Control and Sunroof. The A/C and Cruise have been removed but I still have all the parts for the Cruise.
It’s a 4AGE N/A with TVIS and five speed manual. I am uncertain if the engine is original. It has about 177,000 miles on the odometer. The speedometer is marked in both miles and km.
It drives well with only a tiny bit of smoke when you push it hard. The gearbox shifts nicely and the clutch is good.
I don’t know if the exhaust is factory but has a nice throaty note but is not loud enough to attract unwanted attention.
The TPS is faulty so I have disconnected it. It runs fine without it, although sometimes it idles at 1500rpm. I have a replacement TPS to fit. It leaks oil in a few places.
It pulls to the left a little under braking and there is a slight clonk in the left front, so it probably needs a bush or ball joint.
Both factory sway bars have been removed but come with the car including the hard to find drop links. They were removed when I purchased the car and I’ve never bothered refitting them. It handles great as is.
Everything electrical works and it has a half decent stereo with speakers in the front doors.
Tyres are good – 195/50R15 front which I replaced less than 2000km ago. 205/50R15 rear with maybe 50% tread.
The paint is faded red with small dents, scratches and chips. There is a decent sized dent in the RR corner. Some rust evident in the bottom of the right front guard.
Boot lock and passenger door lock do not open with the key. They open fine from inside so they might be simple fixes.
The fuel fuller door cable is partial seized.
The seats are very good and the dash is not cracked. The floor carpet and headlining are missing. It still has the factory floor mats supplied when new although they are very worn now.
Comes with a couple of boxes of spares and a set of 16″ rims and tyres with one damaged rim if wanted. Also a clear perspex spoiler that goes above the rear window.
The battery died so I’m currently using the one from another of my cars. When it sells I’ll fit a new battery before the buyer collects it.
This car would be ideal for a cheap track car project or for someone who wants to restore a rare model MR2. Or simply spend a couple of weekends working on it and use it daily. Despite shabby paint it still turns heads. So yes, a lot of work involved it seems. But if you’re handy with the spanners and have a little cash to burn, it could be a ripper little project car, especially for a fun little (not too fast) track specialist. Now if only we had a couple of grand and a race track to spare…