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racerdave600
racerdave600 HalfDork
9/7/10 5:59 p.m.

The good news here is that there is no wrong answer. Both have good and bad points. I've 5 Miatas of all flavors, and at least a dozen 1st and 2nd gen MR2s. I personally have a soft spot for the MR2 as it is just more involved in the driving experience than the Miata. Not that I want to slam a Miata, I love them in fact, it's just that in no way shape or form can a Miata feel like a mid engine car, and it has less involving steering feel.

The Miata does have a LOT more aftermarket support, a nicer looking interior, and awesome turn-in, and finding one that's not rusty is easy and the local want ads.

The 1st MR2 has a LOT more room inside, superior steering feel, and one of the best 4cyl motors ever (it's a Cosworth copy after all). It also puts it's power down much better on corner exit, and is more stable under braking on track. Finding a good one is becoming a "search the entire country" activity though.

Really it comes down to which one you like the best, they are so, so different. I don't own either one right now and I have daily withdrawals. I can't find a MR2 patch anywhere to help kick the habit!

Tyler H
Tyler H Dork
9/7/10 7:49 p.m.
pinchvalve wrote:
Ty MR2 evils: Clunky steering over bumps - cheap $2 busing inside the steering rack. This will be needed on every MR2, as they only last about 30k. Rust, rust, rust. Cars fall into two camps: Rust-free or rust buckets. There are plenty of rust free cars around if you look outside of the rust belt.

Tell me more about that first point, because I think that is my car. How hard is it to replace? I thought I did all of the bushings in mine, but that doesn't sound familiar.

Point #2 is a complete lie. There are no rust-free AW11s out there. :)

This bugs me...I couldn't find an image of this daggum bushing anywhere and it's not in Conicelli's online catalog anymore. I had to go pull my BGB off the shelf. Who uses real books these days?

Anyway, this nylon bushing's two little nylon nubs is what centers the steering rack in its housing. When it wears out, the steering rack gets play in it and starts to get clunky. This is especially pronounced over railroad crossings or autocrossing when you have the wheel just off-center and hit rapid little bumps.

Every Mk1 I buy needs one of these. I think this little bushing leads a lot of people to unnecessarily replace their inner tie rods. I hope it isn't discontinued.

Point #2 is absolutely true! But these cars only pop up when you're not shopping. I always keep a $1000 cash in reserve as an MR2 rescue fund.

Flynlow
Flynlow New Reader
9/7/10 10:49 p.m.
mr2peak wrote: Who has switched from one to the other? Why?

I had a '91 NA, switched to an '85 MR2.

Reasons:

-The MR2 has significantly more storage space, trying to take the Miata on a weekend trip anywhere was difficult, doubly so if I took a 2nd person.

-The Miata I had was harsh, loud, and buzzy. It rattled over bumps (cowl shake), and the engine note gave me a headache. Whether that was the OBX exhaust, or just the discordant note of the 1.6BP, I'm not sure, but for a daily it got on my nerves. My friend had a CSP car that didn't have this problem, but I didn't drive his car 4 hours at a stretch either.

-I'm not an autocrosser, so competiveness there doesn't bother me, I'm also not much of a convertible guy since most of my driving is higher speed.

For a sporty but liveable daily, the MR2 just fit my needs better. Though I would like to have another NA at some point.

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
9/8/10 5:46 a.m.
mr2peak wrote: OK, So MK1 MR2 with a 2GR-FE OR An E30 with a S50/52 swap OR A Miata with a comparable swap

Make the MK1 a 2grfse and i'm sold. I would also imagine that it wouldn't be the most "docile" handling car.

DukeOfUndersteer
DukeOfUndersteer SuperDork
9/8/10 8:31 a.m.

You can tow airplanes with Miatas...

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
9/8/10 8:53 a.m.

I'll vouch for that steering rack issue. I swapped an MR2 manual rack into my AE86 and it had that clunk. I didn't realize it was common back when I still had the car, though.

mr2peak
mr2peak New Reader
9/8/10 4:00 p.m.

An MR2 Mk1 just won DP at nationals!

MR2 Spyder in 5th

racerdave600
racerdave600 HalfDork
9/8/10 4:27 p.m.

That was Steve Hoelscher, it was his second in that car, and he has like 3 or 4 with his old X1/9 in DSP. His MR2 is absolutely violent to drive, and I drove it when it had an older, pretty worn motor!

Matt B
Matt B HalfDork
9/8/10 4:51 p.m.

I've only seen videos of Hoelscher's car. Even through that "filter" it seems like an absolute BEAST. Seen from the outside, the transitions are so immediate that it reminds me of the old hollywood trick where they speed up the camera.

Congrats Steve.

racerdave600
racerdave600 HalfDork
9/9/10 7:59 a.m.

His old Fiat was like a surgical instrument, you could make it dance and place it anywhere in a very elegant manner, but the MR2 is different. It's like taking a sledge hammer and knocking down everything in sight with your eyes closed. Everything happens right now, with violence. It accelerates so hard it makes a Z06 feels like grandma's Buick on an ice cream run. The first run I ever made in it I missed the first gate it got there so fast. Compared to mine at the time...well there was no comparison.

People that complain about his car set ups have never driven them. Make no mistake, Steve is a very good driver, but he's even better at engineering a setup that works!

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
9/9/10 8:49 a.m.
racerdave600 wrote: His old Fiat was like a surgical instrument, you could make it dance and place it anywhere in a very elegant manner, but the MR2 is different. It's like taking a sledge hammer and knocking down everything in sight with your eyes closed. Everything happens right now, with violence. It accelerates so hard it makes a Z06 feels like grandma's Buick on an ice cream run. The first run I ever made in it I missed the first gate it got there so fast. Compared to mine at the time...well there was no comparison. People that complain about his car set ups have never driven them. Make no mistake, Steve is a very good driver, but he's even better at engineering a setup that works!

Link to video/build/pictures?

oldsaw
oldsaw SuperDork
9/9/10 9:08 a.m.

In reply to 93celicaGT2:

Here are video links to his fastest runs on both courses:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXbWMxSZrvQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aZWUY7HQiE

This is not your father's MR2......

racerdave600
racerdave600 HalfDork
9/9/10 11:02 a.m.

over at MR2oc.com there is a ton of info from him on set up.l Look in the autocross section

pimpm3
pimpm3 New Reader
9/10/10 12:39 a.m.

I have owned all three generations of MR2 as well as a a first and second generation MIata.

The Miata and its convertible top was nice living in florida, but the MR2's all felt more substantial and would arguably make a better daily driver.

As mentioned before the newest mk1 is still over 20 years old and they are getting harder to come by.

On a race track I would say that a Miata is a better choice. There is more aftermarket support, and more places to race it. I campaigned an ITA MR2 for years and its greater weight was a disadvantage compared to the other cars in its class. Of course they moved it to ITB after I sold it....

As far as the snap oversteer that some people have mentioned, I never have never experienced it in my car. It was always very neutral, in fact my two best finishes (3rd on two occasions) were in the rain where the cars better balance really paid off.

wreckerboy
wreckerboy SuperDork
9/10/10 7:55 a.m.

First, I have two Miatae at this time. One '90 that I've owned for 12 years, put 150K of the 250K on it, and currently race in SSM. The second was purcased a few years ago as a driver to replace the first one as it migrated to track duty.

Way back when I was shopping for a Miata I also looked at 1st and 2nd gen MR2s. They are nice cars, and might well be better suited as overall, year round street cars then a Miata, and The Primary Miata was my only car for six years. It shuttled me from Charlotte to NYC nearly weekly for much of that time.

So why did I buy a Miata? Because in back to back driving the Miata is/was way more alive and less isolated than the MR2 is. The top goes down, and the aftermarket support is superb. I knew that eventually the car would see track duty (like this past weekend) and that was the deciding factor. If I wasn't going to that end and if I could have found a decent second gen MR2, it would have been a tougher decision.

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