Mileage: 103,681 Miles
Engine: 4A-GE 1.6-Liter Inline 4-Clyinder Engine
Transmission: 5-Speed Manual Transmission
Exterior color: Super Red Exterior (3E5)
Interior: Blue Cloth Interior
Eibach 8210.140 Pro-Kit Performance Springs
SV3 Power Exhaust
15-Inch Konig Helium Racing Monoblock Ultralight Wheels
Falken Ziex ZE950 Tires
Fresh Timing Belt
Distributor and Cap
Valve Cover Gasket
Oil and Filter Change
R134 Air Conditioning Retrofit
Original Wheels, Exhaust, and Springs Included
Exceptionally Clean Outlier Example
The Toyota MR2 was the best of iteration of the 1980’s small economical mid-engined small sports car craze. It easily outperformed contemporaries like the Pontiac Fiero and was significantly more reliable. Toyota carefully developed the MR2 through several concept cars. It received considerable design influence from Lotus engineer Roger Becker, most notably on suspension input. This combined with the 4A-GE engine—a block that Toyota copied and evolved from the legendary Cosworth BDA twin-cam racing motor—gives the AW11 MR2 considerable pedigree. The final concept was fine tuned extensively by Formula One driver Dan Gurney before being released in 1985. In 1987 a mid-life cycle update further refined the platform with stronger engine and gearbox internals, revised rear suspension, an updated front spoiler and bumper, side skirts, and the introduction of T-tops. Until recently the AW11 MR2 has been an underappreciated piece of Toyota greatness. The population of worthy examples was decimated by entry level buyers, misguided tuners, and normal examples that literally had the wheels driven off of them because the AW11 MR2 was that good! Pristine, near-stock examples such as this one are extremely rare. The time to get one is now, as the great 1980’s Japanese cars are experiencing significant appreciation.
We love AW11 MR2s at Glen Shelly Auto Brokers. I have built, raced, and sorted several AW11s over the years and currently own a 1986 MR2 racecar. The Glen Shelly shop vehicle is the MR2’s front-wheel drive sibling, an AE86 Corolla FX16. I once raced an MR2 grafted to an FX16 resulting in a twin-engine, four wheel drive ‘MRolla.” The 1987 MR2 we are offering for sale is from our personal collection and a known car within the Colorado MR2 community. It first surfaced after a friend bought it from a woman who was selling it after her son got bad grades. She had purchased the car and kept it in the garage for her son, on the stipulation that he could have it when he was old enough if he got good grades. Luckily, he failed and he never got his hands on it—undoubtedly saving the car. My friend, another MR2 fanatic, purchased it and added Eibach springs, Koni shocks, Konig Helium wheels, and an S3V exhaust (all original parts are included with the car, it can be put exactly back to stock). He also did a complete service bringing it up to date mechanically. This included the timing belt, water pump, valve cover gasket, distributor cap and rotor, coolant flush, and a fresh oil change. He also retrofitted the air conditioning to R134. I bought it earlier this year with my brother. The only reason I’m selling it is because he got an Acura NSX and I have too many other cars to keep it, although I lay in bed at night scheming on a way to keep it. The reason why is that this is the cleanest AW11 MR2 I’ve seen in a decade. It is nearly prefect inside and out. The Carfax shows it has always been a Colorado car, and based on its appearance, clearly a second vehicle. An incredibly clean AW11 MR2 is probably rarer than the NSX my brother bought. This example must be seen in person to be appreciated.
We would like to find a new owner who will enjoy and appreciate this MR2 as we have. Clean, well cared for AW11’s are extremely hard to find. It’s ownership pedigree and condition set this example apart from the mean population available on the market. It is priced accordingly and deserves an owner who will continue to care for it as it has been.
One look and the MR2 is clearly an ‘80’s oddity. The fact that Toyota was willing to take a chance on such an outlandish design is admirable compared to the risk-adverse conservative Toyota of today. It’s a testament to a younger and smaller Toyota that was hungry for success, not the complacent giant it has become. The MR2’s eccentricities clearly show how boring and numb modern cars have become. The slant nose, boxy design language, and tactical shut lines remind me of a real size transformer—especially in red with black T-tops. When I’m alone with it at night in the hanger, I keep a peripheral eye on it just in case. Get behind the wheel and this is clearly a driver’s car. Bolstered seats, a (post-face lift) 3-spoke steering wheel, and a deeply recessed instrument cluster make it feel like a cockpit. The most important gauge in that instrument cluster—the tachometer—shows a red line of nearly 8,000 rpm. Let the 4A-GE engine warm up and it screams to that redline in a glorious mechanical symphony that is intoxicating. In the bends the MR2 is nimble, communicative, and light—in the words of Colin Chapman there is no substitute for lightness.
I strive to critically and thoroughly describe all of our cars, good and bad. The Super Red paint presents fantastically with no major glaring defects. There are glaring dings, dents, or chips and zero failed clear coat. The leading edge of the hood has a few minor chips, but nothing like what most Colorado cars have. The only notable exterior defect is some paint fading on the lower front splitter and a crack at the center joint where both pieces meet. I will have this refinished by a high-end body shop I work with for an additional $600. Studying the exterior condition it is clear that this MR2 as been a fair weather driver, being spared harsh winter conditions. There is zero rust and all body panels are original with all VIN tags in place. All trim and black-work is intact. The Toyota and MR2 decals are in excellent condition, as is the clear rear window cover. The windshield and window glass is in excellent shape, as are the T-Tops; the original T-Top storage bags are included. The pop-up headlights work on command, as do all other lights and indicators. The Konig Helium wheels are perfect; they are wrapped in Falken Ziex rubber with 75% tread remaining. The original AW11 “Triangle” wheels are included in the sale and are also in good shape.
The interior is in excellent condition, one of the best AW11 interiors I’ve ever seen. All of the common AW11 interior maladies are not present. There are no odors and it has never been smoked in. The carpet is free of rips or tears and has no stains. It is protected by carpeted floor mats. The dashboard has no cracks, waves, or fading. The steering wheel has been wrapped with a removable leather covering that looks OEM and adds nice thickness. The instrument cluster functions correctly, all gauges work. The speedometer doesn’t read until 15 mph, a common issue. The shifter boot has been replaced with a matching leather boot, and an extra one with red stitching is included. The cloth seats are excellent condition. The bolster foam is firm and not compressed. The seat cloth has no excessive wear or failed stitching. The door armrests are not compressed, nor is the center console. All interior functions work as they should; the heat blows warm and the air condition blows cold. The stock stereo has been replaced with a very nice Sony Aftermarket unit that sounds great.
The mechanical condition is consistent with its cosmetics. When you buy any used car, you purchase the previous owner’s stewardship. This MR2 meets that pedigree in spades. As mentioned in the summary in 2015 at 99,417 miles it received a full service including a new timing belt, water pump, valve cover gasket, distributor cap and rotor, and a fresh oil and filter change. All work was performed by BigHorn Automotive Service and receipts are included with the sale. The “blue top” 4A-GE engine fires on command, idles smoothly, and pulls strong to its nearly 8000 RPM redline. 1987 model year 4A-GE engines had stronger internals due to 7-rib construction and larger 42 mm connecting rods. The gearbox also received stronger internals. It shifts smoothly in all gears, with zero syncro grinding (a common issue). The clutch take up is spot on too. The Koni shocks combined with Eibach springs make cornering a joy. 1987 model year AW11’s had no rear sway bar, which reduces snap oversteer. This is nice for low grip situations, but it can also be properly rotated by modulating throttle. The exhaust note is fantastic, there are no exhaust leaks and it does not drone at highway speeds. This is a turn-key MR2 that needs nothing mechanically.