1993 Toyota MR2 GTS
1993 Toyota MR2 GTS. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

Sometimes, I get sick of Bluetooth and safety beepers and electronic throttle pedals and ECON buttons and just want to drive something from a different era when performance motoring was about, well, performance motoring.

Weekly, my job is to bring you readers a review of one of the latest, hottest and most important new rides on the Canadian market. Over the years, these have included hybrids, performance cars, trucks, minivans, sedans, convertibles and many, many crossovers.

Today, I’m taking a break from that sort of stuff. I want to review something different and fun and awesome. So I’m not going to review a new car that’s wound up in my custody for video, review and photography purposes. Instead I’m going to review a car that wound up in my custody for shenanigans, making offensive noises and not giving a single, solitary hoot about modern-day sensibilities.

I’m going to review my car. Justin Pritchard’s car. The one with squeaks and rattles and leaks that pulls me back to reality after weeks on end in brand new machinery. The one that plays an imaginary rock n’ roll guitar riff in my head whenever I start the engine.

It’s a 1993 Toyota MR2 GTS from Japan with right-hand drive, and I think you’ll like it.

1993 Toyota MR2 GTS
1993 Toyota MR2 GTS. Click image to enlarge

Not because it’s high tech. It really isn’t. It’s a funny mid-engine platform with a Celica Turbo drivetrain bolted between the rear wheels. And not because it’s good for the environment, because it isn’t. It drinks premium unleaded at an alarming rate thanks to my heavy foot, and leaves three drops of oil on the ground in a triangular formation wherever it parks. That’s its calling card.

You won’t even like it because it’s safe and practical. Safety? It’s got seatbelts. Practical? There’s no back seat, and at-hand storage inside is relegated to a small, awkwardly-placed storage bin that’s bolted to the rear firewall.

No, no. None of that. I think you’ll like it because it’s awesome, unique and great looking. That’s why I bought it. For that, and for self-medication through wrenching on its oily bits, and for weekend motorsport activities when time permits, which isn’t very often.

So, about four years back, I decided to get rid of the best car I ever owned – a 1993 Nissan 240SX. I beat the living tar out of this thing regularly in my early twenties, and after almost 170,000 km of hard use, it only ever cost me a fuel pump and starter. Good car, that 240SX.

But it was getting old and needed a bit of attention that I didn’t have time to provide. It was time to pass it to someone else and buy a car that I had a poster of on my bedroom wall when I was a kid in the early nineties.

In 1993 I was 11. An aspiring car nerd.

I had a lot of posters. Mostly, these were of the Dodge Stealth, Mazda RX-7 and Dodge Viper. Oh, and lots of Mortal Kombat characters.
I short-listed a few models. The Mazda RX-7 was out of my price range. The Viper, even further so. The Dodge Stealth RT Twin Turbo wasn’t – but I learned their engines were prone to turning themselves inside out if you honked on them too much, which I would.

Bloody shame. I loved that car. Maybe I’ll still buy one, some day.
So, the Toyota MR2 made the most sense. They’re fairly reliable albeit a little fussy. At the time, you could get one for eight grand from Japan with under 100,000 km in great shape. Everyone selling an MR2 in Ontario wanted three or five grand more for a unit with twice that mileage.

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