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Toyota MR2 GT Turbo

Toyota MR2 GT Turbo Published: 21st Apr 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Toyota MR2 GT Turbo
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Looking for a classic with a difference – then why not consider a gem from Japan suggests Chris Rees?

Japanese cars, for so long neglected by the classic car movement, now have a huge following. That charge has been led by the hard-to-ignore Mazda MX-5, which single-handedly reinvented the two-seater roadster. But so pervasive is the MX-5’s influence that Mr Editor has instructed me not to talk about it. Which is good because there are so many fantastic Japanese classics out there.

From 1970’s retro rides to 21st century performance icons, Japan’s rich car culture has produced an impressive spread of machinery to choose from. The fact that so many of these are ‘under the radar’ in the car market means there are some bargains out there. But our prediction is that values will soon rise for many Japs. Why? Because they’re undervalued and because owners love the fact that they’re more reliable than other classics. So here’s our choice of cars that you can buy at bargain prices, enjoy and, very probably, see increase in value over time. There, I didn’t mention the MX-5 at all. Er, doh!


PRODUCTION: 1989-1999
VALUES: £2000-£7000

What more could an enthusiast want? A mid-engined sports car with a turbocharged engine capable of devastating performance, all for as little as £2000. Unlike the naturally aspirated second-generation MR2 that we got in the UK, the Japanese-market GT Turbo got the same turbocharger and intercooler as the Celica GT-Four. Even in standard guise, that meant nearly 250bhp – good enough for 150mph and 0-60mph in 5.9 seconds – but the temptation to release extra horses and produce a trackday giant-killer has proved too great for many owners. This is one car where we’d really recommend tuning: extracting 350bhp and more is child’s play. However, beware: despite American racing legend Dan Gurney being involved with developing the car’s handling, rear end break-aways are all too common, especially in wet weather. Post-1992 examples are better in this regard.

The post-1999 Toyota MR2 Roadster is another cracking bargain, as the classic market refuses to acknowledge the Toyota: less than £2k buys you a car that handles like a Lotus Elise – although it really doesn’t have the oomph that makes the earlier MR2 such a fabulous performance tool.

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