Flynlow
Flynlow New Reader
1/2/11 8:40 p.m.

Hi all, long time member, but I don't normally post. However, I've been working on a GRM-style project and wanted to share with you guys . The post is copied from a 3-parter on my local car club, so apologies for any formatting problems, it was quicker and easier to link all the pictures this way.

Hey everyone, been meaning to post a thread for a while, but I wanted to wait until it was mostly done before posting pics. I sold my rusty 1991 Miata and picked up an (almost) rust free 1985 MR2, for no reason other than I've always wanted one. Bought it from a nice guy in Indiana who had put it into storage after it got a little tore up at its last track day.

From the day I picked it up:

And the boatload of parts that came with it (including a parts car with the rear subframe practically rusted apart.

Overview of the rough spots:

Previous owner's friend thought it would be funny to open the MR2's door more with his own car, not realizing he jumped the hinge-stops and banged the fender . Not structural, just cosmetic. Definitely destroyed both driver's hinges though, the door sags 3" or so.

Front from cones and curbs:

Engine bay is a bit dirty:

The interior was showing its age and cigarettes:

One weird thing, sand? The trunk was literally FULL this is after one completely shopvac's worth emptied, the trunk wells on either side deep into the fender still haven't been touched:

And up front, almost empty:

Last major repair, it was advertised as having a clutch hydraulics problem. I drove it around the block and thought clutch was toast. Seller was an honest guy, and said he really didn't know much about mechanicals, and we came to terms on price. Turns out I was right:

Car still drove over 200 miles home on the above clutch though. She's a tough little thing.

Overall though, the car was straight, not rusted to pieces (which is the biggest thing with these cars) only had 115K miles, and could tell it had been cared for most of its life.

So, onto the rehab:

Cleaning inside and out (this is probably one of the only pictures of myself you'll ever see):

Stripped the car to a bare shell, interior-wise, then scrubbed the sheet metal:

Washed the seats and carpet, I found a capful of laundry detergent in a bucket (just like washing your car) and a medium bristle brush in the driveway with lots of rinsing and good drying time do a damned good job on seats and carpet:

New radio/speakers, shift boot, console liners (above HVAC and in rear center console). Everything else was just removed, cleaned like crazy, and re-installed.

Clutch was replaced, along with some other misc maintenance items, with a couple left to do (plugs, cap/rotor, belts, etc.) and I cleaned the engine bay:

Also rebuilt and replaced some missing items (full intake snorkel system, resonator, few misc bolts). The exhaust manifold bolts were all finger loose except for one, and the oil filter had two gaskets on it and was leaking everywhere. Trunklid is still rattle-can flat black over red because the rest of the body parts are off being painted. When I get everything back the new silver lid is going on.

Speaking of, my roomate does a fair bit of metalwork, gave me a hand straightening that fender:

rough fit:

better fit:

final fit before sanding and filling:

She's running and driving right now, but still looks the same as this picture (when the transmission was out):

Update! Been driving the car a couple months, and put it away around Thanksgiving because its cold and things look like this:

Here's the finished pictures:

Need to look at the "cone and curb damage" pic at the top to appreciate this one:

Fender, fixed and clean. Also rebuilt the door hinges:

And a couple overall shots:

Hopefully you enjoyed the story, I've always wanted an AW11, and am pretty excited to have this one running and driving. Originally I was hoping to bring it the $2010 challenge, but ended up blowing the budget making it DD-nice. Going to try again with an FC, E30 or Miata next year

Tyler H
Tyler H Dork
1/2/11 8:46 p.m.

Dude...you rock.

My idea for a t-shirt, though I can't claim the artwork:

RealMiniDriver
RealMiniDriver Dork
1/2/11 8:54 p.m.

WOW! It's amazing what a little soap and water (and elbow grease) can do to an interior of a ratty car - not that that was all that ratty. Impressive body work, too.

nicksta43
nicksta43 Reader
1/2/11 8:58 p.m.

Very nice work !!!! What kind of time went into this?

Flynlow
Flynlow New Reader
1/2/11 10:51 p.m.

Thanks for the kind words everyone. Over my various cheap project cars, I've learned a complete car is usually 90% of the effort. As long as its all there, I can fix or clean up almost anything except rust or a tweaked frame.

nicksta43 wrote: Very nice work !!!! What kind of time went into this?

~40-50 hours, spread out over about 4 months of nights and weekends.

Though keep in mind, I farmed out the actual final bodywork and painting. Tried to learn sanding and painting cars, I learned I'd rather pay somebody to do it! (the fumes and dust really bothered me)

Tyler H, nice shirt! I'll have to add that to the list.

ShadowSix
ShadowSix New Reader
1/3/11 12:07 a.m.

There was sand in the trunk because a previous owner used a tube or two for traction in the winter. It's usually a sign that the underside is going to be an iron oxide holocaust here in Ohio, so your really got lucky! Tin worm-free AW11's are rare as hen's teeth in the rust belt.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
1/3/11 7:50 a.m.

Nice job on saving that car.

A little "caveat" though. The seller DID know about mechanical stuff. He had that car posted for sale on here this past summer. Glad to hear someone saved it, thoug.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve SuperDork
1/3/11 7:55 a.m.

Those floors were awesome, I wish I could find a picture of the swiss-cheese floors that I started with.

Nitroracer
Nitroracer SuperDork
1/3/11 9:56 p.m.

The final result looks great!

I did a search for a worthy mr2 in my area and all I turned up was an 86' automatic and a 92' with way too many miles.

AW11ForFun
AW11ForFun New Reader
12/12/13 11:52 a.m.

Looks great! Seeing you tear out the interior and scrub it up has motivated me to take a Saturday to do the same thing. I need some speakers, a new shift boot, and an armrest cover for mine. Otherwise, the interior should look much the same when I'm done.

Double_Wishbone
Double_Wishbone Reader
12/12/13 12:59 p.m.

Awesome work! How do you like the MR2 compared to the Miata? I was considering buying either, and ended up with a Miata.

Flynlow
Flynlow Reader
12/12/13 1:01 p.m.

In reply to AW11ForFun:

Cheers, glad the thread could provide motivation. And I'm in Richmond these days, not Ohio, so if you or Seth ever want to swing by the garage and take a look, let me know! I've actually got the engine out of it right now for a HG, distributor seals, oil cooler rebuild, and timing belt/water pump, but that will hopefully be sorted soon.

92CelicaHalfTrac wrote: Nice job on saving that car. A little "caveat" though. The seller DID know about mechanical stuff. He had that car posted for sale on here this past summer. Glad to hear someone saved it, thoug.

Hey, those were his words after the test drive, not mine . Peter's a heck of a nice guy, I hope he's doing OK, been a while since I've spoken to him, he was liquidating the whole fleet back then and going for an FC drift car if I remember right.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/12/13 1:10 p.m.

Wow looks minty fresh now!

This thread should be in the builds section though.

Flynlow
Flynlow Reader
12/12/13 1:24 p.m.

This thread is two years old .

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
12/12/13 1:29 p.m.

Haha whoops, yeah we didn't have one back then!

Flynlow
Flynlow Reader
12/12/13 1:38 p.m.
Double_Wishbone wrote: Awesome work! How do you like the MR2 compared to the Miata? I was considering buying either, and ended up with a Miata.

I've had both, like both, but really prefer the MR2. I like having a proper roof for peace and quiet (well, relatively) on long trips, and not needing a roll-bar for HPDEs. I think the Miata is a bit easier to drive and ultimately better handling, but the MR2 "feels" better, with beautifully direct manual steering that's still light, and the silly yet awesome go-kart sense of the engine behind you and the short, low nose. It's also a little more roomy in the cabin and has significantly more cargo space. Lots of DD type reasons, but all my cars pull double duty: they've all been on a racetrack at least once (after they've been rebuilt in the case of projects), and all have been DD's for a couple weeks, just to get the experience.

My old '91 Miata, just for reference (and I like posting pictures):

AW11ForFun
AW11ForFun New Reader
12/13/13 7:58 p.m.
Flynlow wrote: And I'm in Richmond these days, not Ohio, so if you or Seth ever want to swing by the garage and take a look, let me know!

Maybe once I get mine cleaned up, Seth and I can swing on up to Richmond and stop in. He's actually eyeing an '88 MX6 Turbo in Culpeper, so we could kill two birds with one stone.

kanaric
kanaric Reader
12/14/13 1:34 a.m.

nice fix of the fenders, usually poeple just find replacements in a pick a part since they are so easy to bolt off and on .

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