It was bought after the Puma which needed too much money spending on it to justify keeping. I had no idea what I was looking for when I bought it, I was literally trawling Autotrader and other sites looking at anything in budget. I came across the Roadster advertised in a garage very close to my home and on establishing with my father that the garage owner was one of his school friends and an all round top bloke I went off to see it.
Initial impressions weren’t great, the car had arrived that morning and was in need of a wash and general clean up, the alloys were in a sorry state too but having looked at other MR2 adverts to do some research I discovered that this was a common issue. Inside was a different story, showroom fresh would be the best way to describe it and not with the aid of various Halfords ‘valeting’ products, just a car that had simply been looked after. I think I’d decided I was having it even before starting the engine, the driving position was great and the dash layout superb. I also loved (and still do) the way you have to almost look up to see in the door mirrors, give a proper racer feel.
The service history was comprehensive however and showed a car that had led a pampered life (apart from the wheels obviously, maybe the previous owner had a bad back?) it was also nice to see that the former keeper lived locally, I have no idea why this should make a difference but I always find it reassuring! Anyway a deal was done at £1350 and I went back to pick it up the next day.
All that was over a year ago and the Roadster has been my daily driver ever since. I wasn’t happy with the handling for the first couple of weeks, I just didn’t have confidence in the car, 4 new Toyo T1-Rs improved things, the originals were all mismatched, but it still didn’t handle as well as reports and road tests I’d read. A laser align and caster/camber check later and it was transformed! Corners could now be taken at speeds I wouldn’t have attempted in any of my previous cars.
I put a new clutch kit in it a couple of months back as the pedal was reaching the end of its travel before the car would start to move, a local Toyota specialist informed me that any more driving would lead to the flywheel being scored and needing replacement too. I managed to find a LUK clutch (standard fit on Porsche among others) and had it fitted for £210 all in. Other than that it has been faultless. My Christmas present was a set of refurbished powder coated alloys which massively improve the look of the car, not bad for £120!
As I type I’m just back from having it lowered 40mm, I was never happy with the standard ride height, it looks better now but will settle more over the next couple of weeks.
I’ve just renewed the insurance, my cheapest ever at £231 fully comp! Other running costs are minimal as the relatively small engine and lightweight make for great fuel economy even when ‘pressing on’ something you find yourself doing a lot as it’s the sort of car that likes to be thrashed.
Bad points? Well if you’ve read about these cars you’ll know they have no boot at all, open the cover at the front and you’ll be met with a large plastic cover that hides the spare wheel, there is a storage bin behind the seats but it needs the seats moving to access and is a pain. I’ve removed the covers on mine which give access with the seats in place so it is a bit more practical but it’s still pretty useless, if you need storage space this is not the car for you! Mine is an early car and as such has the 5 speed box, facelift cars gained an extra gear and it really does need it, motorway cruising can become very wearing with the constant noise.
Future plans involve fitting a carbon airbox purely to give the engine a better sound, it’s pretty thrashy as standard. I’d like to give it some more power but the only way to see any real benefits is to go down the turbo route, a common conversion but not cheap…