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1990 Toyota MR2 N/A Manual, 223K Miles, Is It a good first car?


Topic starter

I saw an MR2 sitting in my uncle's backyard. I been thinking of taking it for myself as a first car when I will be able to drive. But I think there might be something I should look out for. Any tips? 


- It's been sitting for quite a while in the sun (it gets very hot in the summer). I can also confirm that the battery is dead

- Car looks like it's from California, looked under the frame, appears to be no rust 

- 220K miles; is it still good for its longevity? 


Eventually when I get to test drive it, any tips that are crucial to remember?

3 Answers

The best case scenario, it can be a project car. not a daily driver. 

There could be a possibility of a car being both a project car and a daily driver at the same time. An example would be ChrisFix's Del Sol. He does moderate level projects on it like rust fixing and at the same time drives it too.
In my scenerio, the MR2 could be a little project car for me, but not where I would rip through stacks of money doing crazy stuff on it. I just want a fun daily driver that I can work on at the same time.

The time ChrisFix bought the car, he also had other cars. You can not rely only on this one.

Haha lol, it's not like he does projects on them too.

Well.. if anything goes wrong, I might as well end up in my mom's Camry I guess lol. Thanks for the help tho.


If the sheet metal and running gear are good, what might be the best thing to do would be to sell the MR2 to somebody who wants a project car/has tools and skills, and then buying a running/driving early Miata.

Like most mid-engine cars, the MR2 isn't easy to work on, and after 30 years and those miles, you'd have to replace a lot of hoses, seals and bushings right away. A clean, straight Cali MR2 might bring enough money to break even.

Miatas are plentiful in almost any price range, and they are considerably easier to work on (and get parts for).

Either way, you can look into things more at the MR2 Forum

1: I wouldn't even really be able to sell it because
A, I am not able to drive yet soon and B, ​It's sitting in my uncle's backyard on a small field
​meaning that I don't really have full ownership of the car.

2) What persuaded me into choosing a vehicle, specifically the MR2 is so that I can have a simple and unique car that I can drive and work on at the same time (My knowledge of vehicles is very good for a person at my age)

For working space, I don't really mind. I've been through a lot more tighter spaces.. I'd be thankful if I can even access the engine of a mid-engine car nowadays.


That is a lot of miles. I would check the wiring because if it's been sitting, it may be bad. Check the fluid levels and coolant.

If it starts up after you checked everything, test drive it. If it needs major work then I would sell it for parts.