pimpm3 SuperDork
12/6/17 7:27 p.m.

This summer I bought a 1991 mr2 with a V6 swap.  It is great, it drives well, the A/C is cold, I like how it looks etc...

I have roughly $6500 in it.  I feel that is about what it is worth if I decide to sell it.

I autocrossed it this weekend, it didn't miss a beat.  It unfortunately is woefully unprepared for SSM competition being completely stock other than the engine.

My ultimate plan is to use it for track days and as a fun weekend toy.  Therein lies the problem...

It came with 18's which are to big.  If I keep it I need different wheels.  A set of properly fitting wheels and tires is roughly $1000.00. 

It needs brakes before I take it on track.  Since it is a 1991 NA it has the smallest brakes ever installed on an SW20.  I can simply buy good pads for the setup I have now, but the v6 is much more powerful than the brakes were designed for.  A set of 93 plus turbo brakes runs $600 plus pads, fluid and stainless lines. Figure $1000 for brakes.

There is no telling how old the shocks are.  A set of konis, springs and sway bars will set me back approximately  $1300.00

If I set the car up how I need too i will have $10,000 in it.  It's not worth that much.

I don't want to get in over my head price wise.  $1000 or so is fine but having $10,000 in a $6,500 car sucks.

Am I better off selling the MR2 and spending the same $10k on something else?

What should I do...

bmw88rider SuperDork
12/6/17 7:44 p.m.

This is the same quandary I had with my MR2. My final answer was to sell it because the parts cost and availability made it a pain every time I wanted to do anything. There wasn't  huge used parts pool out there. 



thedoc New Reader
12/6/17 7:47 p.m.

You have to either love the car, or want to fall in love with it.  That is when you would drop that kind of money into it.  Ten grand would buy a more than decent track car that someone is ready to part with.

Is this car someone you want a relationship with?

secretariata Dork
12/6/17 7:57 p.m.

I haz a lust if you decide to sell...smiley

John Welsh
John Welsh MegaDork
12/6/17 7:59 p.m.

However, this is a car that should increase in value over the years.  If you feel you are "over-investing" it might just be a matter of time before the market value catches up.  

One regret I have was that last time I was at your house, the MR2 was not there for me to drive.  



Vigo UltimaDork
12/6/17 10:24 p.m.

I think you need to accept the fact that you can do a lot better on prices if you are willing to try. It seems like you're basically using 'any day of the week' prices. It's already been months since you've owned the car, right? What's the hurry? Wait for better deals and snap them up. Also, those 18s don't fit the car and need to go in general. Looks like you could get $300 back from them (safe assumption, maybe more?) and what's wrong with the smaller wheels you ran at autoX? They're ugly, but are they too narrow? Not yours in the first place?

As for brakes, i cant imagine spending $600 on all stock components. Key words there are 'part out'. People who are parting out cars are 'generally' stupid kids who are bad with money and will sell things for much less than they're worth to pay for their next fix/rent check/get something out of hock etc. Plus, the mr2 seems like the kind of car that had to be a parts bin special to be financially feasible in the first place. Is there not a junkyard upgrade from some other Toyota product, or are you upgrading to better stock stuff because of class rules (...in a swapped car)?

I just think you can get there cheaper. 

clutchsmoke SuperDork
12/6/17 10:32 p.m.

I'm with vigo in that you can mod it for cheaper with not a ton of effort.  Looks like it's currently on RX-8 wheels. The automatic RX-8 had smaller wheels (16?17"?) and can be had very cheap. I agree it will appreciate in value in the near future. 

BTD Reader
12/7/17 2:51 a.m.

Use 17" 350z coupe wheels. That's what I'm running on my V6 swapped car. They're 7.5" wide in the front and 8" wide in the rear with proper offsets. I picked up my wheels for $150 on Craigslist. If you're not racing, you don't need to go crazy on tires either. Use something like a Federal RS-RR or some clearance summer tires. Drive, have fun, don't worry about being the fastest thing out there. 


The 1991 brakes with good pads will be more than enough for the car IMO. 93+ brakes are a nice upgrade but not necessary. Even still, you can swap to '93+ turbo brakes for way, way less than $1k.


You don't NEED to buy Konis and springs and camber plates just to do track days. Again, it's a nice to have. Why not just buy some GR-2's or other stock replacement shock and drive it as-is?


If you do really feel the need to modify, used springs are cheap - I got my H&R's for $80 off of local Craigslist, and I see sets for sub $150 all the time.


What you want and what you actually need appear to be two different things. Besides, what else are you going to buy for $10k that's as unique, rare, fast, and comfortable?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ UltraDork
12/7/17 5:50 a.m.

I made this mistake years ago- my (also red, also 1991, also V6 swapped) MR2 was an excellent road car, and fun to occasionally mess around with at an autocross or rallycross.  Then I tried to turn it into a more competitive rallycrosser, which worked but meant the car was constantly broken (the V6 does NOT like hard cornering) and much of what made it a great car had been compromised in the name of going faster.  I eventually fell out of love with the thing and sold it, having ruined a perfectly good car.  I've actually tried to buy it back to return it to its' former glory twice now.  

YMMV and all that.

pimpm3 SuperDork
12/7/17 6:16 a.m.

All good points.  

I installed an accusump to help with oil starvation.  

I do enjoy the car and I love the fact that you don't see them every where.

parker Reader
12/7/17 6:48 p.m.

With some exceptions (like buying an aircooled 911 15 years ago) any car is going to have more in it than it's worth.  Buy a new car and drive it off the lot.  You now have more in it than it's worth.  I've had plenty of cars that putting 4 new tires on 'em was more than they were worth.

The question is how much can you afford or desire to put in it.  Worrying about resale is pretty pointless with most cars.

pimpm3 SuperDork
12/7/17 7:46 p.m.

Believe it or not I normally make a profit off of my cars, if not break even.  I am careful with what I spend and am conscious of resale value, which is I guess the point of this thread.

I feel pretty confident I can break out of the MR2 if I need too.

Patrick MegaDork
12/7/17 7:50 p.m.

I’ve come to the conclusion personally that if i question if i need to sell something, it’s time to sell it.  

Andy Neuman
Andy Neuman Dork
12/7/17 7:54 p.m.

I agree it is time to sell. 

Delete this thread and raise the price for the for sale section. Enjoy the car occasionally till it sells. 

Are those the original wheels from the Parking lot Fiero?

Vigo UltimaDork
12/7/17 10:12 p.m.

It's a pretty cool car to be 'breaking out of'. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯  (even copy and pasting that feels like an accomplishment) may have a point about upgrading a perfectly good car until its ruined. Are you sure it needs to act different on a track for you to keep enjoying it? My 996 in its current condition (just 120k of normal wear and no upgrades) probably isn't much better on a track than the MR2, and less cool in the sense that no enthusiast can claim credit for anything that it does besides some people who worked for Porsche in 1995. I nevertheless really enjoy owning and driving it. If i ever do get around to tracking it it will be with a keen eye towards not ruining what i like about it. Maybe some mix of cheaper upgrades and recalibrated thought process will have you liking the car even more? 

Trackmouse UltraDork
12/8/17 12:00 a.m.

There’s also a difference between spending 10k immediately on a car, and spending 10k gradually on a car. For folks that have owned or campaigned a car for a long time, they likely have spent a ludicrous amount of money on it, and enjoyed every penny. 

accordionfolder Dork
12/8/17 7:33 a.m.

Pre-modifying your car before you've done a real track day in it isn't a great plan.

New fluid, decent pads, and all regular maintenance items done and go have fun. 

gearheadE30 HalfDork
12/8/17 8:52 a.m.

My experience has been that any car I modify to any significant degree ends up costing me rather more than it's worth. For me, that's money spent to get enjoyment, and money that I do not always think I will get back. Sure, sometimes I get lucky, but if you add up all the modifications, I have a $20k E30. But I've owned it for 10 years, and you can't discount amortization with this stuff. If you spend $3k or something to get that MR2 a little closer to what you want, are you going to drive it for a few years? If so, that cost isn't too bad, and that car looks like it's in remarkable shape to me.


As accordionfolder mentioned, take care of the brakes and then go to the track. Even if the stockers with a good set of pads end up marginal, it's easy enough to drive around that for the last 5 minutes of a session or something, but then you know how far you need to go with the brakes. Then you can decide what, if anything, you really need to do to the suspension.

LanEvo HalfDork
12/8/17 9:51 a.m.

I've been W2W racing for the last couple of seasons. I know auto-x isn't exactly the same, but there's some commonality. The way I see it, there are two ways to go:

  1. Rational approach. Decide which class you want to run. Pick the most competitive car for that class. Optimize the platform as best as you can. Try to win.
  2. Go with your heart. You love a certain car. You want to race that car. Build it for whatever class is close enough and just get out there. Don't expect to win.

I took the second approach with my Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 racecar. Makes no sense at all when a guy in an E36 M3 who's spent 1/3 of what I did can run circles around me. But I love the car, so ... whatever.

If you love your MR2, just say "berkeley it" and spend the money. If you secretly want an MR2 Turbo (or something else), then sell the car and build something else. If you want to win races, sell the car and buy whatever makes the most sense.

Carbon SuperDork
12/9/17 11:37 a.m.

I'd consider trading for my silver zzw30 turbo if you want to explore that possibility. I finished 3rd in the open (+200tw) class at axis this year in it on rivals. Got beaten by a modded viper ta and a new acr extreme so it's what you'd call competitive ;). My friends car runs 12.6s and this thing pulls it by at least a fender to 120, its dd reliable, gets an average of 29mpg with me driving it. It's on oz ultraleggeras with good yokos right now. No issues. I like it pretty well but I have two of them and the 2zz turbo one is cooler ;) so I'd consider oarting with this one. Always had a thing for v6 sw20s too. Meet at the dragon and drive home lol? Just throwing it out there. 

pimpm3 SuperDork
12/9/17 12:40 p.m.

Interesting... I have had two 3rd gens not sure if that is the direction I want to go.

 I found one with up to date maintenance that the seller has had for 10 years.  It already has konis and springs plus it would work for a possible OLOA18  bid...

lnlogauge Reader
12/9/17 2:07 p.m.
John Welsh said:

However, this is a car that should increase in value over the years.  If you feel you are "over-investing" it might just be a matter of time before the market value catches up.  

One regret I have was that last time I was at your house, the MR2 was not there for me to drive.  




If this was a later model turbo, I would agree. Collector prices come with the higher end of the models. a 1991 NA T top with an engine swap is an awesome car, but you aren't going to see collector prices with it. 

Jaynen SuperDork
12/9/17 5:58 p.m.

Well here is my take.

I bought a 1200 dollar bid NB that cost me 2k once it was at my door with copart fees

Its going to cost me

400 dollars brakes

550 dollars roll bar

1200-2200 suspension just shocks

300 or so swaybars

1200 wheels/tires

800-1000 dollar hardtop

That's going to put me at 6,350 on the cheap end not even paying normal price for a hardtop, or going with the nice shocks like fox or Xida. That is on a miata that after doing all that MIGHT be worth 3500 bucks to someone else not even likely that much since it has a salvage title.

Add a bit more to get seats/harness installed and I haven't even touched power. Building a car truly to be safe for HPDE is not cheap and a lot of the costs I listed are somewhat the same regardless of how expensive the base car is.

If you think a tall guy will fit in it better than a miata with a helmet my buddy (who I also mentioned in your E36 thread) might be interested if you choose to sell.

If I wanted to really cheap out I could go sans hardtop, and maybe save another 300-400 off suspension but doesn't seem worth it. There is no way to modify a miata and have it be worth the money because they are so cheap. FWIW I think your MR2 is a lot more unique and cool than yet another E36 track car as good as they are and popular for a reason

Vigo UltimaDork
12/9/17 10:22 p.m.

a 1991 NA T top with an engine swap is an awesome car, but you aren't going to see collector prices with it. 

No, but i think a very nice and fully sorted v6 swap car could bring 10k. That's still the high end of the 2g Mr2 market.  

Our Preferred Partners