I figured that I should find a running MR2 this time to start with. When I had swapped the engine into MR2 Ichi earlier, I had Ishii Motorsports inspect my work to make sure that everything was legit. Steve (the owner of the place) loves MR2’s and gave me two pieces of advice. I should get a 1993 or later model year, since Toyota changed the suspension geometry that year to make the car oversteer more predictably, and I should find one with good paint, since paint jobs are extremely expensive. Additionally, I have learned that the T-Top models always have leaks (even when the owner claims they don’t) and those models also have the least stuff chassis so they tend to flex when cornering. I decided to look primarily for a 1993 or newer Sunroof or Hardtop MR2 with good paint.
After a false positive, a gorgeous 90k mileage stock crimson red 1993 Turbo which sold for only $6500 while I was driving to go see it, I settled on another 1992 T-Top MR2 that had around 140k miles and some oxidized super red paint which I bought for around $4400. MR2 Ni one had some nice Racing Hart V2 lightweight rims and Tein Super Street coilovers. Unfortunately, 1993 and later non-t-top MR2’s with good paint are pretty hard to find, but a really nice 1993 Sunroof model with 4 year old super red paint came available on Craigslist. I sold MR2 Ni (after swapping the Racing Harts for some stock rims) and bought MR2 San in a single weekend less than a week after MR2 San was first listed. It was a blast to drive, but it didn’t accelerate quickly since it only had 135 non-turbo HP; luckily, I planned on doing a turbo engine swap when I could afford to.