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Topic # 157685 9-Dec-2014 16:35
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I've been looking for a daily driver for a while now.  Something cool, something fuel efficient and sporty, perhaps convertible for the coming summer and most importantly...Acceleration that gives you butterflies every time you hit second gear.

The MR2 Turbo fits all that criteria.  It's a two seater convertible that does 600KM to a tank that handles like crazy and goes like stink.  The trouble is, I can't find one that isn't totally abused or destroyed.

I have 6.5K to spend.  My mechanic suggested I got a cheap automatic shell that drives and then sourced a manual genII gearbox, gen3/gen4 forged motor, turbo, intercooler...etc.
I'm not sure I can be arsed, but it would be fun!  I just don't know anybody with the skills to help the project along and it would cost thousands to pay someone else to do it.

While MR2 feels perfect, my mechanic said there are plenty of other faster cars that will rip my face off much more than an MR2.  The Supra, Soarer, EVO, GTO T-T, WRX...etc either are too expensive, have lots of problems or get stolen every 10 minutes.

Any suggestions?  Anyone already doing an MR2 build I can tag along on before I embark on my own?  Does anyone have a forged 3SGTE running 20psi to show me what the fruits of my labor might feel like?

 


Cheers!





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  Reply # 1192305 9-Dec-2014 16:42
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TBH you will not get a fast reliable car for that money, even an MR2. Why specifically 20PSI??

If I had 6.5k to spend on something fun it would be an MX5.

Do not make the mistake of "investing" 1000s into an old car. 

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  Reply # 1192307 9-Dec-2014 16:56
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6.5k aint gonna get you  a fast daily sportscar.

the MX5 is the best bang for buck. but a turbo one (i have one, insanely fun to drive) will be around the 7-8K mark and a half decent 89-95 will be around 4-5k.
Mx5's are bullet proof and once youve owned one youll never see any other car the same again.....trouble is that there are so many badly maintained ones around so you need to drive a few to get a feel for a good one... driving a POS un maintained non wheel aligned car on retreads wont give you an idea of how awesome these cars are.

in most cars the wheel alignment/tires/suspension make about 20% of how it handles but in an MX it makes up for a LOT more. you can make an MX AWESOME in the corners by a few good choices and by the same token you can make them utter shyte by making the wrong choices



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  Reply # 1192378 9-Dec-2014 20:22
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lxsw20: TBH you will not get a fast reliable car for that money, even an MR2. Why specifically 20PSI??

If I had 6.5k to spend on something fun it would be an MX5.

Do not make the mistake of "investing" 1000s into an old car.


The '96 MR2 GT-S seems to be a pretty quick car, but the readily built ones are just outside of my price range and modified to bits (silly gauges, dials and lights)  I just said 20psi as a number.  No particular reason.  My '97 Caldina GT-T runs 13 and although it would eat a lot of cars for breakfast in the speed department, it's not what I would consider "fast" anymore.

I'm not expecting to get any return on my investment...But all the cool cars are old cars I'm afraid.  They just aren't built to kill you these days.  It's ruined the excitement, so instead I look to the 90's.  If it does turn in to a true classic and is worth more money later, then great. :)

floydie: 6.5k aint gonna get you  a fast daily sportscar.

the MX5 is the best bang for buck. but a turbo one (i have one, insanely fun to drive) will be around the 7-8K mark and a half decent 89-95 will be around 4-5k.
Mx5's are bullet proof and once youve owned one youll never see any other car the same again.....trouble is that there are so many badly maintained ones around so you need to drive a few to get a feel for a good one... driving a POS un maintained non wheel aligned car on retreads wont give you an idea of how awesome these cars are.

in most cars the wheel alignment/tires/suspension make about 20% of how it handles but in an MX it makes up for a LOT more. you can make an MX AWESOME in the corners by a few good choices and by the same token you can make them utter shyte by making the wrong choices


Not really keen on the MX5.  They are everywhere and like you say, are just as abused or over-priced and arn't particularly good looking (for me at least).  While I fully respect them as a great car,  I come from a family of V6/V8/Rotary owners who would put down endless ridicule for driving a "girls car", which is not something I want to put up with, haha!

I reject that the older cars are expensive to maintain.  The MR2 was also quite attractive to me because of it's low running cost, great performance, bullet-proof gen3 3S-GTE and handling.

Also, I could have picked up a 1997 BMW Z3 for $5K.  That's a lot of car for your money.  You can do a lot with a car and $5,000 dollars.  Sure a Z3 isn't going to be a 10 second drag car, but it will make a cool sound and throw you in to the back of your seat...Which is leather, heated and electronic by the way.  Can't argue with that.

---

I've been looking at the older twin turbo Supras which look pretty cool.  The usual responses I get are "Get an EVO" or "Get a WRX"  or something along those lines.

EDIT:  Quite liking the 300ZX 5 speed manuals.





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  Reply # 1192421 9-Dec-2014 21:53
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There is nothing bulletproof about a 3S-GTE when you start playing with it. Nor are they particularly fuel efficient. You just need to visit Toyspeed to find that out. Do a search for the dead 3s society. 

They are a reasonably quick car, my old flatmate had a Gen4 and I had a Gen1 (hence username). 

I'm not saying you're after ROI, but you will kick yourself when you've shelled out another 10k (You could spend that easy just building a new engine), you will likely be looking at what you could have got for 16-20k and kicking yourself. 

300ZX's are horribly unreliable and terrible to work on. 

MX-5s are fun and a great little track car, who cares what other people think.

Cheap Fast Reliable Pick 2





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  Reply # 1192483 9-Dec-2014 23:16
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lxsw20: There is nothing bulletproof about a 3S-GTE when you start playing with it. Nor are they particularly fuel efficient. You just need to visit Toyspeed to find that out. Do a search for the dead 3s society. 

They are a reasonably quick car, my old flatmate had a Gen4 and I had a Gen1 (hence username). 

I'm not saying you're after ROI, but you will kick yourself when you've shelled out another 10k (You could spend that easy just building a new engine), you will likely be looking at what you could have got for 16-20k and kicking yourself. 

300ZX's are horribly unreliable and terrible to work on. 

MX-5s are fun and a great little track car, who cares what other people think.

Cheap Fast Reliable Pick 2




Just replaced the O2 sensor in our 2.0L 3S-GTE and we managed 585KM to a tank.  That was in a wagon.  I'd call that pretty fuel efficient.  They run high compression and extra boost blows them up.  But if you've left the engine stock or built up the engine right and run higher (but conservative) boost, they are known to be reliable engines.  The unreliable ones are in cars owned by the performance nuts on a budget that want to get away with that extra pound on their electronic boost controller, or were given wrong information about what is safe and what isn't.

I have found fully forged motors with fresh seals and belts ready to be bolted up minus turbo and manifold for $2,500 in the past.  I've seen receipts of fully rebuilt N/A motors for $5,500 dollars and wouldn't be surprised if it shoots up around the 10K mark if someone really wanted to work their engine.

The likes of the MGF, Z3, 300ZX, 206, 307, SLK, Cabrio...ect are all more expensive to maintain in general.  If the engine breaks in an MR2, you pay a mechanic 500 bucks to swap it out with one you sourced on TradeMe for $1500.  If the starter motor breaks on your SLK, you pay Mercedes about the same money only for your mechanic to turn you down completely because he doesn't want to snap another $1500 dollar part by mistake.

A few months ago I would have called the Caldina "fast".  Yet the GT-S made me re-think my definition of fast, only for someone to turn around and tell me they aren't fast.  People refer to their Miata, S14...etc...as "fast".  What actually constitutes a fast car?  11 second quarter mile?  12 seconds?  13.6?

Part of me thinks I should just buy cheap Subaru B4s on TradeMe and sell them for double after bolting a fat exhaust to the back and trading my way up to a decent car.  Or at least find a place with a garage, buy a cheap corolla and build a fast car over a few years for the fun of it.





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  Reply # 1192545 10-Dec-2014 06:32
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V8 commodore, will blow most evo's/wrx off the road with a simple tune looking at 340-350kw can return around 10l/100km when driven nice, can dip into the 20's when thrashed though!

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  Reply # 1192569 10-Dec-2014 07:02
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I'm fond of the AW11 supercharged. Was my first car, had a few Commodore owners surprised as I went past them. Cornering was fantastic, pretty much bullet proof. Only downside was if you pushed it a little too far a 360 could be had.

The  AW11 (and the rarer AW10) were a Lotus designed car.

There's a couple of nice examples for a good price on TM at the moment.

However if I was to buy an MR2 I would probably pickup the below:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/toyota/auction-816192240.htm


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  Reply # 1192576 10-Dec-2014 07:39
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Lurch: I'm fond of the AW11 supercharged. Was my first car, had a few Commodore owners surprised as I went past them. Cornering was fantastic, pretty much bullet proof. Only downside was if you pushed it a little too far a 360 could be had.

The  AW11 (and the rarer AW10) were a Lotus designed car.

There's a couple of nice examples for a good price on TM at the moment.

However if I was to buy an MR2 I would probably pickup the below:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/toyota/auction-816192240.htm



I gave a Porsche owner a surprise last night, was gaining on him... until there was a corner, I had to slow down, he didn't!

I recommend a Commodore as a usable car, that can, cheaply be tuned into a very fast car, that isn't a bad handler.

That said I do miss my FTO, which I could throw into corners a lot faster than the Commodore feels safe doing.

FTO's are cheap now (as they are old) but 200bhp and handling that never gives you an indication of being FWD, oh and they can take an EVO engine fairly easily :P
My old FTO with 250,000km that had an engine freshen up 10,000km earlier including cam belt, waterpump, tentioners and cam seals also had race pads, discs and near new RE-002 tyres sold for around $2,000 at auction after I traded it in. That thing could hold on and brake with the best of them and 0-100km/h in around 7 seconds.

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  Reply # 1192635 10-Dec-2014 09:19
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dickytim: V8 commodore, will blow most evo's/wrx off the road with a simple tune looking at 340-350kw can return around 10l/100km when driven nice, can dip into the 20's when thrashed though!


The Commodore is a very different beast... certainly wouldn't call it a fast, fun, sports car (we're talking a ~$6.5k budget here, so we're probably looking at a VS, or maybe VT at best). The newer gen Commodores and Falcons are great cars, genuine performance GT imo... but they're a bit out of budget it seems ;)






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  Reply # 1192640 10-Dec-2014 09:22
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20psi is a heel of a lot of boost for a car. I think for 6.5K your dreaming.

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  Reply # 1192667 10-Dec-2014 09:34
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Watch out for the AW11 and rust. The SW20 is good but bigger and can be prone to penduluming and the T-Tops all leak by now, still love those cars though. If I could find the money, I would have another one in a heartbeat. Non turbo is only as quick as your wagon, I think I ran 13.5 in my 1991. A late model non turbo with the beams motor would be quicker, but rarer than rocking horse poop.

How about a little spider: http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/toyota/auction-814116637.htm
N
ot going to give you the fizz like a turbo, but is quick and handles nicely. 

Gen 3 SW20: http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/toyota/auction-812034455.htm. Join the MR2 club and swap the bits off you don't like for cash and unmodified panels.Sure someone would swap you for unmodified gen 3 bumpers etc. Cheap spray job and you are looking good and stock.




Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

http://www.vultr.com/?ref=7033587-3B


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  Reply # 1192691 10-Dec-2014 09:49
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I've been messing around with Subaru's lately. 

Small car performance wise you get a good bang for your buck out of them.

There are plenty of thrashed ones around, and they get expensive fast when they break.

I've bought a couple of project cars from people who'd gone beyond their depth or bank account levels.

If you enjoy playing with them mechanically, tweaking performance etc (and start with a decent car) they're a lot of fun.




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  Reply # 1192750 10-Dec-2014 10:48
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paulmilbank: Watch out for the AW11 and rust. The SW20 is good but bigger and can be prone to penduluming and the T-Tops all leak by now, still love those cars though. If I could find the money, I would have another one in a heartbeat. Non turbo is only as quick as your wagon, I think I ran 13.5 in my 1991. A late model non turbo with the beams motor would be quicker, but rarer than rocking horse poop.

How about a little spider: http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/toyota/auction-814116637.htm
N
ot going to give you the fizz like a turbo, but is quick and handles nicely. 

Gen 3 SW20: http://www.trademe.co.nz/motors/used-cars/toyota/auction-812034455.htm. Join the MR2 club and swap the bits off you don't like for cash and unmodified panels.Sure someone would swap you for unmodified gen 3 bumpers etc. Cheap spray job and you are looking good and stock.


Yea, the T-Top leakage is a problem which is near impossible to fix.  I don't mind it so much.

I went for a ride in that particular Gen 3 SW20.  It was great fun, seemed just as peppy as the Gen 3 I lost out on a few weeks ago, but the Gen 3 you linked to had a lot of issues.

- Silly body kit, easily removed
- Racing suspension that made even the smoothest road a bumpy ride
- disconnected and de-gassed aircon
- after market stereo system which had funny plastic things sticking out of the doors.
- rev limiter light (screams drag racing to me)
- leaky frunk and rust underneath the battery

I offered him 5K and he turned it down.  I'll hit him up again in a month when he hasn't sold it and wants it off his driveway.  But the offer will probably be $4,500 by then.  It's worth $4,500...Not 7K.  I would need to spend money to bring it back.

$2,500 MR2 SW20 gen1 after-market turbo (perfect for what I have planned) could possibly be on it's way.
$3,000 on fully rebuilt forged motor with new belts, tensioners, pump...etc, rated for 20psi (enquiries to be made)
Mechanic dropping it in for $300 bucks
Sell the other engine back to an enthusiast (possibly cover the cost of the mechanic)
Mines ECU comes with the engine.

So far I've spent $5,500 on paper and could squeeze the budget to $6,500 or 7K  All of a sudden I spend some money on a tune and have a 300HP two seater for all the thrills.  Plus I have a motor that I know is good and everything is in working order with a warranty just in case.

Best avenue I can see so far it seems.  But open to other ideas that I may not have considered! :)





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  Reply # 1192761 10-Dec-2014 10:57
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No mention of fueling, is the ECU even for a gen 1 engine? Is the ECU tuned for the turbo you hope to put on? If so can the MAF support 300hp? Can the Inter cooler support 300hp? Cost for a cert? Has the gearbox got an LSD? If not how do you plan to put 300hp down on the ground? No handling or brake upgrades so the car can actually support 300hp. 

Have seen so many people on car forums with big dreams and little ideas on the reality of what it cost to have a fast reliable car. All they end up with is an expensive half finished lawn ornament.

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  Reply # 1192782 10-Dec-2014 11:15
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Nice, sounds like you have it covered pretty well. Should be a fun project car. 




Try Vultr using this link and get us both some credit:

 

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