The 1980s represent a golden age for Japanese cars in the U.S. As the decade progressed, sporty, reliable and seriously fast Japanese sports cars hit American roads in increasing numbers. Even if some weren’t particularly fast, they were usually interesting. We could buy Honda Preludes, Mazda RX-7s, Nissan 300ZXs, Toyota Supras, even oddballs like the Nissan Pulsar to name just a few.
In these pre-Miata days, Japanese two-seaters hadn’t yet taken on the classic roadster body style. Sports car enthusiasts on a budget could still choose between a Honda CRX and the mini-Ferrari (or enlarged Fiat X1/9 depending on your perspective) Toyota MR2, named for its Mid-engine, Rear-drive, 2-seat layout.
Sporting a 112 hp 16-valve 1.6-liter four-cylinder, this little car seems woefully underpowered by today’s standards. However, their light weight (under 2,300 lbs) and balanced handling made them a lot of fun and popular in their day. Those of us of driving age at the time can only shake our heads and snicker when young drivers today reject the 200 hp Scion FR-S as too underpowered. Oh, Grasshopper, you have no idea how lucky you are…
This example caught our eye due to its low miles and seemingly original and un-molested condition. The asking price of $8,900 doesn’t seem out of line… it’s not a total steal but if you’ve always wanted one, try to find another like it. They sold over 31,000 MR2s in the US in 1986 but remove those lost to attrition, modified beyond recognition, or just used up and these are becoming quite scarce.