A JDM Rarity
Finished in Lucerne Silver with full-length blue trim, this 1996 Toyota MR Spider is in very good overall condition thanks to garage storage and fair-weather driving under current ownership. The front Midship Runabout emblem is an OEM piece that was applied to JDM SW20 models and is a cool item all by itself.
The engine cover is exclusive to these Spiders and features central intake vents along with grilles on both fairings. These second-gen MR2s were lovingly referred to as “baby Ferraris”, a moniker that is even more apt in this Spider configuration. A black soft-top that is manually fitted and stores behind the seats is shown in the gallery.
Features include pop-up headlights that are shown raised in the gallery, integrated fog lamps, side air intakes and dual rear exhaust outlets exiting FGK mufflers.
One of the few non-original items are the staggered-width 15” wheels from the owner’s 1993 MR2 Turbo. They replaced aftermarket wheels that came with the car and are wrapped in Kumho Ecsta rubber sized 205/50 up front and 225/50 out back. Disc brakes are fitted all around.
The front bumper was repaired and repainted after striking an object on the road and the engine cover was refinished to clean up scratches that came with the car. Per the owner, the soft top does not fit very well and tends to flap when driving. Paint blemishes, a wheel arch dent, loose fender well cover and pulling away MR Spider badge are all highlighted in the gallery.
A clean, well-maintained undercarriage is detailed in the gallery and per the owner, there is no rust present aside from a few small spots in the engine bay.
So Much Awesomeness
Adding to the unique flavor of this right-hand-drive 1996 MR Spider are the killer black fabric buckets with bright blue patterned inserts that, aside from minor bolster wear, look to be in great condition. The scheme carries to the door panels that feature controls for the power-operated side mirrors, door locks, and windows on the driver-side.
Wrapped in black leather, the four-spoke steering wheel frames a 180 km/h speedometer with inset odometer reading 108,655 kilometers. Additional gauges include a 9,000-rpm tachometer, fuel level, battery voltage, and coolant temperature. The aftermarket Kenwood head unit is the only known non-original interior component.
Cabin amenities include a digital dashboard clock, air-conditioning with automatic temperature control, steering wheel tilt adjustment and black floor mats with blue centers. These mats sport an MR2 logo and the following text: A MAN IN DADISM NEW RICH & SPORTS. Turns out, the meaning of this phrase is something Google does not have a clear answer for.
Digging around the web, it seems this unusual language falls under “Wasai-eigo”, which Wikipedia defines as “Japanese-made English”, or “pseudo-anglicisms” as classified by linguistics experts. I certainly don’t know what the meaning is, but when it comes to exceptionally interesting JDM items that I would LOVE to have, these floor mats are at the top of the list.
Overall, interior condition looks good with a clean black dashboard and detailed images of components in the gallery. Highlighted issues include fading on the shift knob, scratches on both upper door jambs and seal deterioration in the same areas.
Mounted behind the cabin is the original twin-cam 2.0L 3SGE four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder. It pairs with a five-speed manual transmission to drive the rear wheels, one of just 20 estimated to have been built. Results of a 2015 dynamometer run from 2015, seen in the gallery, show an average peak output of 152 horsepower and 111 lb-ft of torque.
The engine bay looks tidy and features the TRD chassis reinforcement brace fitted by Toyota TechnoCraft during assembly. Up front, the factory spare tire is retained as is the original set of jacking tools. A testament to Toyota build quality, this MR Spider has only needed regular oil changes over the past 10 years of ownership. The most recent was completed last year by the seller.
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Located in Sarnia, Ontario, this incredibly cool 1996 Toyota MR Spider has been under current ownership for 10 years. In that time, the owner has added 18,000 of the 109,000 original kilometers (67,730 miles).
The owner purchased this Spider from a used car dealership in Japan and had it imported by Bonsai Rides in London, Ontario. Export paperwork, all records since 2011, two keys, and factory documentation will accompany the sale.
Aside from the wheels and stereo, this is an all-original and low mileage example of a car that you are highly unlikely to see at any gearhead meetup. In fact, few North American enthusiasts seem to even be aware of its existence. Only sold in Japan, this rare roadster is already on our side of the pond and has recently cleared the US 25-year rule…