Junkyard Gem: 1991 Toyota Mr2

Junkyard Gem: 1991 Toyota MR2

During the middle to late 1980s, American car shoppers looking for an economical-yet-sporty two-seater for non-oligarch money had plenty of interesting choices. From Detroit, they could choose a Ford EXP/Mercury LN7 or a Pontiac Fiero. From Europe, Malcolm Bricklin made the Pininfarina-badged Fiat 124 Sport Spider and Bertone-badged Fiat X-1/9 available over here (the Alfa Romeo Spider sold for Corvette money, so we're not including it here), while ships crossed the Pacific carrying Honda CRXs and Toyota MR2s. The latter car, with its light weight and mid-engined design, developed a cult following during its first generation (1985 through 1990 model years in North America) but didn't seem to make as vivid an impression after the second generation debuted for 1991. I've documented first- and third-generation MR2s for this series, and now I've found a good second-gen example in Denver.

Junkyard Gem: 2002 Toyota Mr2 Spyder

Junkyard Gem: 2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder

During my junkyard journeys, I see Toyota MR2s here and there, mostly of the first-generation 1985-1989 type. The final iteration of the MR2 was sold in North America for the 2000 through 2005 model years; sales never matched those of the earlier cars and the few that still exist seem prized by their owners for track-day duties, so I don't see many in wrecking yards. Here's a 2002 model in a Northern California self-service yard.

2002 was the first model year for the five-speed sequential manual transmission in the MR2, and this car has one. Up until that time, those insisting on SMT shifting had to buy a costly exotic.