Junkyard Find: 1986 Toyota MR2
The Toyota MR2 has always been a somewhat rare Junkyard Find, partly because not many were sold in the first place, and partly because the surviving examples tend to be cherished by MR2 enthusiasts. Here’s a solid ’86 that showed up in a Denver self-service wrecking yard a couple of weeks back.
Judging from the line of silt visible at about driver waist level, this car spent some time partially submerged. The most likely culprit is the flooding along Colorado’s Front Range in September, 2013. During the first couple of years after the 2013 floods, Denver-area wrecking yards were well stocked with flood victims, including some real heartbreakers.
Before the deluge, this car traveled well over 200,000 miles. MR2s are surprisingly sensible commuter cars.
This one even has the optional air conditioning, a must for those hot Denver summers in a tiny car.
I have seen dozens, maybe hundreds, of first-generation MR2s racing in the 24 Hours of Lemons during my decade with the series, and I have learned that this car is not so great at low-budget endurance racing.
Like most Toyotas in the Lemons series, the MR2 suffers from severe reliability problems, and most 4AGE-powered ones are no quicker around a road course than their 1980s Ford Escort GT, Honda Civic, and Volkswagen Golf competitors (having been an MR2 admirer since these cars were new, this knowledge disappoints me). With a Camry V6 swap, though, an MR2 can turn some decent lap times.
The flood damage is more obvious in person than it is in photographs, so nobody is likely to buy it and fix all the water-damaged electrical stuff. I saw it a couple of days ago, and few parts had been pulled. Is it possible every Colorado MR2 collector already has all the parts they need?
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Watch out for the pop bumpers while driving your MR2.
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