mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/6/23 2:16 p.m.

Kicking off a new project. I just picked up this over the weekend for some future fun:

I've had 3 NB Miatas in the past. I Love them but I really don't fit. Even with a foamectomy. I also once had a Lotus Elise, so I figured why not try the poor man's version. The nice thing about the Spyder is I fit, with just a bit of room to spare. 

The good:

  • All stock and in good running condition.
  • Carfax shows it's lived in Orlando its whole life so no rust issues.
  • Still has original VIN stickers on all metal body panels
  • Has had regular maintenance 
  • PO included 2 new headlight assemblies from Toyota.
  • No holes in the top

The bad:

  • Rebuilt title
  • Non-functional A/C
  • Have to drop the fuel tank to install Hard Dog roll bar
  • Paint is faded
  • Tires are worn
  • Parking brake not holding
  • Goofy tinted taillights
  • Non-functional passenger headlight

While the rebuilt title may sound bad, it happened in 2016 so I think it's one of those situations where relatively minor damage "totaled" a fully depreciated car. It was hit in the driver's rear corner, but the quarter still has the original VIN sticker. I can see a little damage to the frame rail where the impact bar meets it. They installed a later '03 up bumper cover. Overall not bad at all. 

At least I don't feel bad taking it on track because it's too "nice"

Proposed mods:

  • 200TW Tires (DUNLOP ZIII?)
  • Mid grade coilovers?
  • Upgraded pads and rotors (EBC?)
  • Stainless braided flex lines
  • Hard Dog bar
  • Poly bushings
  • Moroso oil pan

Mainly want to make it safe and reliable for some DE.

Thanks for looking,


Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/6/23 2:49 p.m.

fun little cars.  Looks like a great start.  

dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
3/6/23 3:11 p.m.

Great purchase. They are super fun.

How long before someone pipes up with "engine swap"? laugh

mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/6/23 5:42 p.m.
dyintorace said:

Great purchase. They are super fun.

How long before someone pipes up with "engine swap"? laugh

I was all-in on a swap until I actually drove one. The 1ZZ isn't all that bad. Is it a McLaren F1? No, but I'm not expecting it to be. I had an Elise with the 2ZZ and it left me a little less than impressed. 

I was looking at the 2AR swap from Frankenstein, but I'm not even sure I need that kind of power level. I need to build some driving skill before I need any more power. 

Even in stock form it's got decent poke, and it has that special mid-engine feel. If I ever want more go, I've heard a 1ZZ turbo isn't terrible either. 

Brotus7 Dork
3/6/23 6:38 p.m.

These are impressive little car. I was always surprised how well they autocrossed vs my AW11.  Are you going to drive it on the street too? I think these had a habit of nuking their cats and somehow ingesting them to subsequently nuke the engine. Easily remedied for a track only car. Aftermarket solutions probably exist for emissions compliance.

Good luck, keep us posted!

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/6/23 8:14 p.m.

I've got a 1zz header that came off my spyder.  You can have it if you have a need.  Iirc, it's got a couple of broken studs at the flange to the mid pipe.   I'm in Bradenton.  

mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/6/23 8:22 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

Wow! I'll totally take that off your hands. Let me buy you lunch? 

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/6/23 8:25 p.m.

In reply to mblommel :

Sounds good!  I'd rather not ship it if you're ever in the Bradenton area.  

mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/6/23 8:31 p.m.

In reply to Lof8 - Andy :

I will totally drive to Bradenton and pick that up...and buy you lunch. 

Lof8 - Andy
Lof8 - Andy GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/6/23 8:38 p.m.


text preferred yes

mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/7/23 6:50 p.m.

I pulled the DS tailight on the MR2 today for two reasons:

1. Check the damage that totaled the car

2. See what I'm getting into with replacing the taillight lenses.

Removing the taillight was shockingly easy. Just two 10mm screws right on top and it slides out. Here's the internal structure behind it. Looks pretty straight and original.

A few missing screws and some superficial damage on the quarter panel return. You can see a bit of surface rust there.

Here's the biggest damage I can find so far, the end of the frame rail is mangled a bit:

They probably just replaced the crash bar, exhaust and rear bumper cover. I can definitely live with what I found so far and the price discount versus a "clean" one was nice. 

mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/11/23 4:22 p.m.

Today I installed the the new headlight housings that came with the car. One headlight wasn't working because someone had installed a mAd tYtE y0! HID conversion kit. I was concerned I'd find a hacked up harness, but luckily it was a plug in system. 

This is now residing where it belongs at the bottom of the garbage can:

While I was in there I replaced the turn signal, side marker and parking light bulbs too because while it's not too hard to get in there why not now when it's easy? 

hobiercr GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/11/23 8:08 p.m.

This just came across my FBM feed. Thought it might be useful to you.

MR2 breakers in FL

mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/12/23 9:33 a.m.

In reply to hobiercr :

Yes, I was in contact with those guys looking for a used roll bar. I certainly appreciate the tip though!

mblommel GRM+ Memberand Dork
7/28/23 12:27 p.m.

Been a while since I updated, so here it goes. 

The original leather seats were past their prime  and I wasn't quite ready to go all-in on race seats, so I got a "pleather" re-skin set off of fleabay and went to work:

Still a few creases in this picture when the covers were newly installed but a couple of weeks in the Florida heat has flattened most of those out. 

Turbo_Rev Reader
7/28/23 5:18 p.m.

Love these cars. Fell in love because of Gran Turismo 3. Owned a silver one in Austin for about a year, absolute blast to drive bone stock.

smashwinger New Reader
8/1/23 7:15 p.m.

The MR2 looks really nice!! I'm very excited to see this project progress. These MR2 Spyders are really awesome cars.

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