This 1991 Toyota MR2, a classic Japanese sportscar is being auctioned for a good cause, and it needs a good home… Could it be yours?

BUDGET SPORTSCARS tend to follow a pattern.  They generally have the engine at the front, you can usually seat four or five people and power is sent to the front wheels.

This is because many such cars are developed from mundane sedans or hatches, and because owners tend to want a multi-purpose vehicle with more than a dash of practicality as they can’t afford single-purpose cars.

While sportscars should be judged on their results not their design, the acknowledged purist layout for a sporting vehicle is rear wheel drive, only two seats to save weight, and mid engined.   This is because while manufacturers drone on about a 50/50 weight distribution – a claim repeated without challenge or thought by much of the media – what’s actually important is weight location, and an engine more centrally located between the front and rear axle is just what you need for agility and power delivery.  Moving the engine aft also gives the driver something of a behind-the-ears thrill, and allows the nose to be styled in ways that just aren’t possible with the powerplant up front.  This provides as further differentiate the sportscar from the normal car, as looks are as important as performance to many.

For a while, Toyota followed the budget sports car norms.  There was the S800, the 2000GT, the Supra, Celica, and the AE86 Corolla which is honoured in today’s Toyota 86.   But in 1984 Toyota released a groundbreaking exception to the rule, an affordable, mid-engined, rear-drive two-seater sportscar that everybody could afford, and below you see a second-generation example from 1991.


The numberplate doesn’t come with the car, sorry.

It is of course the Toyota MR2, so named because it is a mid-engined, rear-drive, two-seater sportscar.  Well, in most of the world.  In French, “MR2” sounds too much like the dirty word “merde” so the name was changed to just “MR”.  Toyota has resurrected that naming concept of late, with the Toyota 86 being known as the “FRS” in North America – Front engine, Rear Drive, Sports.

This particular MR2 is a SW20.  It weighs around 1200kg, has a 4-cylinder 117kW engine and a 5-speed manual gearbox.


The owner, Leonie, bought the car nearly new in 1992.  It has been her pride and joy ever since, and to say the car has been well looked after would be an understatement.  She has never tracked, raced or driven it (sorry, “him”) in any way that could possibly be interpreted as abuse by her or proper enjoyment by me.  In fact, she cares so much about the car she refused to sell it to me knowing it would become a stripped-down track toy overnight.

But why sell at all?  In her own words:

My MR2 and I have “been together” for 23 of his 24 years, and he was my only car for around 18 years. I had been thinking about how I might celebrate his 25th birthday next year (full respray, microchip, exhaust…), and then decided that it might be time to let someone else enjoy him instead.

I initially thought of giving him away to someone in need and, after bouncing this idea off my friends at Creative Custom Cars and Practical Motoring, the plan of an auction through Shannons Auctions was born.

Shannons and my chosen charity, Whitelion, were very keen to be involved, and Creative Custom Cars also helped out by giving the MR2 a bit of a check over and spruce up.

I have always wanted to get involved in some form of charity work, so to mix charity with cars is a perfect opportunity!  I’m hoping the auction will maximise the charitable benefits provided by my MR2, in addition to inspiring other car enthusiasts to do the same with some of the extra cars in their (or their mate’s) garage.

I will have to cheer myself up after the MR2 goes so I think the best way to achieve this will be some Lotus Elise test drives!

So that’s why.  It’s time for Leonie to enjoy new cars – she’s already got an AMG A45 and an ’99 WRX STi, with eyes on a BMW M4, AMG C63, Lotus Elise…well, it changes every week even if the common theme is 0-100 in less than six seconds and ability to pass the “roundabout test”.   But while the MR2 has to move on, it (sorry, “he”) is far too special to be just sold like any other car, hence the charity auction.

The charity in question is Whitelion, and here’s what they do:


Whitelion told us:

We thank Leonie for this incredibly selfless act and the difference it will make to all of the young people we support.

So if you’d like to own this very special MR2 and give it the home it deserves then you need to bid on it at the Shannons Spring Classic Auction:

Here’s the link to the MR2 itself:

And remember, every cent will go to Whitelion.  All other costs have been taken care of. 

Best of luck, and we hope this piece of automotive history lives on for many a year so future generations can see one of the best cars of the ’90s and learn why “MR2” is the formula for fun.

UPDATE: the MR2 has now been sold for $7000!  Watch a video on our Facebook page

MR2 Details

  • 1991 Toyota MR2
  • Original manual and service book
  • Two ignition keys (neither are the original key as this became too worn for use)
  • Cruise control (factory)
  • Air-conditioning (factory)
  • Alarm (not sure if factory)
  • 340,080km – motor was professionally rebuilt at 199,000km in 2004 (and hasn’t missed a beat since!) 
  • Clear front indicators fitted, and originals supplied
  • Stereo recently upgraded (2013) and installed by Phatt Audio Concepts: Alpine head unit, phoenix gold sub-woofer & amp, Hertz speakers.
  • ROH Venturo Hyper Silver 16 inch modular rims
  • Koni adjustable struts

The vehicle will not be sold registered.

Please contact Shannons via the link above for any queries on the car or the auction process.

The MR2 was produced from 1984 to 2007, and still has a cult following with owners clubs you can find at


Partners in the MR2 Charity Auction

MR2 Photo Gallery

The MR2 Brochure

Here’s an old brochure.  How advertising has changed! Can you imagine a modern sportscar with such small rims?


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      1. Actually amazing for the miles on it. 90s Toyota are my favorite cars. They built a lot of quality into this model, and it is one of the best driving experiences you can get, modest, efficient, built nimble. Sadly, they don’t make them like this anymore.

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