The Mk3 MR2 of 2000-06 is a pretty thing and an interesting, if impractical, alternative to the Mazda MX-5 Mk2 of the same period. Both are rear-wheel drive but the Toyota has its 138bhp 1.8-litre engine behind the driver, which is neat.
Toyota MR2 auto, £2790: Facelifted cars from 2002 got a six-speed manual gearbox over the earlier five-speeder. The optional auto, or sequential manual transmission to give it its proper name, also gained a sixth gear to go with the shift buttons on the steering wheel. This version is rare and the electronics can be temperamental but, say enthusiasts, it’s the one to have for its quick-fire changes.
We found a 2003-reg auto with 83,000 miles for £2790. It has the optional hard-top and full service history, although one seller’s ‘full’ is invariably a picky buyer’s ‘partial’…
Still, we’re tempted so the first job will be to check the gearbox is free of faults. Turning to the engine, pre-facelift cars suffered self-destruction of the pre-catalytic converter that could cause fragments to enter the engine, with the inevitable consequences. Post-facelift cars, like ours, had a more secure cat matrix and revised piston rings, but they aren’t completely out of the woods. A diagnostic check is a good idea.