This one is just for me. 1988 Toyota MR2 AW11 Mk1b I needed to find the perfect one. I have wanted this car since may– or a car LIKE it maybe since the first grade. I remember being in the first grade at Blue Mountain Elementary West (Well at that time, it was called Wayne Township Elementary, but anyway) and I remember standing by the window on the last day of school of first grade and I remember feeling that the summer was going to stretch out forever. It was full of all the possibilities and hopes and freedoms and wonder that a summer can only mean to a boy that age. And maybe in those memories, there was a snapshot of a car like this rolling by the window of the elementary school in 1989. It was a car that didn’t look like a drabby machine that just took you to Value City to buy pants for three hours. I mean, when you’re a little kid, what is a car but the box that takes you to school when you miss the bus. It’s a horrible chamber that takes you to church. It’s something that you don’t control. It’s something moaning and slow and out of your grasp completely. But when you’re little and you see a machine that doesn’t look like your parents’ car, that looks like a real-life version of a Matchbox car that you push around on the carpet and you realize that these fantastic fun machines are real? They exist? Oh, they burrow themselves deep within your brain. And here is one just like that. There are two Mk’s (“marks”) of the first MR2. There’s the Mk1a and the Mk1b. The Mk1b has a slight– has a few changes to the manual transmission that resists fifth gear pop-out. It also has the spoiler in the rear back– in the rear. It has I think the third, uhh, third brake light in the rear, as well. I am the second owner of this car. This car was bought brand new in Pennsylvania in 1988 and put in a garage! Heh, found one! In Pennsylvania! Is there rust? Yes. Yes. There is rust I’m not buying a bridge here. But it has 75 thousand miles on it so the car WAS driven. It’s it hasn’t sat, it hasn’t atrophied, but it WAS garaged. This is a mid-tier, optioned-out MR2. What it does have, it has the lower tier stereo, But it has the upper and trim– the upper trim appearance package. These wheels that are on it are NK82’s, I believe, and they were a factor– there were, uhhh a factory authorized dealer option. In other words, the car would get off the ship with the traditional triangle wheels, which would then be removed and replaced by Toyota-approved NK82’s. Nowadays, NK82’s I think are five lug, these are original which are four lug. I’m only missing one thing: one of the wheels is missing a center cap and it’s drive me nuts and you can’t find these center caps anymore. Anyways, I mean, I’d settle for just a blank one to just put in there because the original one– now NK uses the Infiniti symbol but anyway these ones just say NK on them. The interior is considered the ‘sport’ interior, which just means, I think, heavier carpets, although the driver’s seat– I’m not sure if it’s different from base to mid trim, the driver’s seat has adjustable bolstering. Like, the little side wings move in and out. I have ’em cranked all the way out… because ‘Merican. There are some we– there is some wear on the floor mats and also the gear shifter, this this weird pistol grip gear shift. It’s not the best gear shifter, but Toyota went for appearance over functionality. It is leather wrapped and the leather is pulling apart, but the steering wheel, which is also leather, is just fine. It has air conditioning and it also has cruise control. The previous owner had in period-correct cupholders, which I will NEVER put a drink in this car, but the cupholders sit where sort of little tray sits in the middle of the car. I’m probably not going to take them out because, well, I started putting things in them like my phone and sunglasses and stuff, because as far as interior storage, there isn’t much. You get a little trunk in the back and then you get some storage space also in the “frunk” in the front of the car. It looks terribly fast and a Mazda NA will kick the crap out of an MR2. The only way a first-generation MR2 could be faster than a MX-5 NA is that if the driver of the MR2 knew how to use a mid-engine car correctly. It’s only with the skill of the driver that an AW11 could beat an NA Miata. The NA, even though it’s a convertible, is much, much lighter than an AW11. AW11 is heavier than it looks. So if it’s not performance, why did I buy it? Well, it’s memory. It’s the memory of having something like this. I am not going to race this car. I am not going to hoon it. I am definitely not going to try to drift it. All I’m going to do is enjoy this untouched piece of 80’s nostalgia. I am going to make my own mixtapes like I used to and put them in the tape cassette player that works. I am gonna listen to vaporwave in here. I am going to cruise at night in the summertime with the windows down. I am going to keep it impeccably clean and I’m going to have something else to bring to a car show besides the Falcon all the time. This is not going to be a working car like the Falcon is going to be. It’s just something that can be appreciated as a survivor. How long will I have it? I don’t know. I definitely know that this is “Bring A Trailer”-type quality, so, if I ever part with it, that’s where it’s going. It’s definitely going on “Bring A Trailer”. But again, as I’m learning, and I’ve had this car for a bit, it’s not so nice on the highway. At 65 mph, this thing is turning about 4000 RPM. Which is fine, because your redline is 7500 RPM but that engine’s right behind you. And as fun as this car is… It’s drone-y in here. Yeah, there’s a firewall between you and that engine, but it’s right behind your ear and it’s just going: *VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR* But the steering is way more skittish than an MR2
[I think Mr. R means an NA.] It’s the way it dives in the corners. I don’t know. MAYBE if I could bring it to a track… Maybe, maybe, I don’t know, maybe, maybe… It’s just so clean I don’t want to do anything to it. I hardly drive it. Anyway. Thank you so much for indulging me and allowing me to enjoy this little piece of my childhood, if only for a short while. So if I bring this car out, well… Look for it at car shows. I’m sure you can dig it.