Digestible Collectible: 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo
Based on pageviews, you guys didn’t particularly love Wednesday’s Ferrari. So, let us consider something at twenty percent of the price, but with maybe 85 percent of the performance:
Toyota MR2 Turbo: 94.5 inch wheelbase, 2,700 lbs, 200 hp
Ferrari 308 GTSi QV: 92 inch wheelbase, 2,800 lbs, 240 hp
No, I’m not kidding. I don’t have proper instrumented test data at my fingertips, but the generally-close-enough accuracy of Wikipedia for both cars tells me that the performance probably isn’t too far apart.
Problem is, most of the MR2s I’ve encountered while shopping for today’s feature look like posterchildren of a circa-2005 NOPI catalog. No, I want a stock one. Today’s 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo, with around 66,000 miles, looks perfect to me.
As much as I complain about poor photography when looking at used car advertisements, sometimes photos that are too good scare me off. These actually look like they could be stock photos from new, if one doesn’t look at the interior. There are some creases and minor cracks in the leather, but nothing that should cause concern. I’d prefer better photos of the drivetrain and undercarriage, especially considering the Chicagoland location of the car.
Between the Ferrari and Toyota, I’d have to choose the MR2. While it won’t likely appreciate like the Italian, I’d rather drive my cars than polish them — not to mention a full rebuild on the Japanese car will cost less than a belt service on the 308. That’s a compromise I can live with.
Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.
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