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1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo

Finding an MR2 Turbo for sale these days is a tall order. The SW20 generation is the golden one, in my humble, potentially ignorant opinion. That being said, I’d pretty easily spring for this 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo. The price is right, too.

The MR2 is a design masterpiece
Model: 1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo
Location: St. Leonard, MD
Miles: 186,000 chassis, Engine >25,000
Price: $13,000
Seller Type: Private Party
VIN: JT2SW22NXM0052374
Listed On: Craigslist
Something Unique: Build/swap done with a Gen 4 3SGTE by PRIME, a reputable MR2 shop in NJ.

The Toyota MR2 Turbo doesn’t need much of an introduction. This 1991 is a fantastic example of the mid-engine rear-wheel drive car that any of us would be lucky to have.

What about snap oversteer? I don’t know – what about it? Drive smoothly and learn the car. This car does have some things in place that will help with that though. More to come in the mods list.

This car is over 30 years old now, so it’s probably a 10-foot car, but still man, it looks great. Maybe it’s nostalgia taking over, but the original design language combined with the mods in place looks perfect to me.

Exterior Mods

  • Toms side skirts with custom carbon fiber sidesplitter
  • Aeroware front lip
  • 98 wing (carbon fiber center)
  • 95+ taillights/center panel w/LED halos
  • LED headlights
  • Halo switchback corner lights/turn signals
  • 17″ XXR wheels staggered fit (fenders have been rolled so no rubbing)
  • Sitting on Coilovers, brand not stated though

The 17″ XXRs look like a good fit on this car from what I can tell. The staggered setup is going to allow for running a wider rear tire and combat some of that lift-off or snap oversteer. The listing doesn’t have the dimensions and I can’t quite make them out in the pictures.

1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo Side View

The fender rolls do look pretty clean. The photos are not the highest resolution, so in person, it’s probably going to be easier to spot some imperfections, but we’ve all seen much much worse home-rolled outcomes. Chances are PRIME did the rolling during their build and that it is clean, though.

These Halo corner/turn signals look great. They don’t have that kind of weird out of place look that the stock IS300 tail lights suffered from. These are not doing too much.

The rear of this MR2 looks great. The LEDs are tasteful, still fitting the car’s design well, and the wing doesn’t look out of place. The carbon fiber center adds some cool contrast.

Performance Mods

  • Gen 4 3SGTE swap
  • 93 MR2 turbo brakes in the front
  • Walbro fuel pump
  • Prime downpipe and Apex Exhaust
  • Greedy style intercooler (PRIME kit)
  • E-Boost Digital turbo controller set to 13PSI and 16PSI
  • South Bend Stage 2 Clutch
1991 Toyota MR2 Turbo with GEN4 Engine
Gen 4 3SGTE, but maybe a little too much red in the engine bay 😉

At the core of this MR2 is the 3SGTE swapped in by the folks at PRIME and the accompanying parts to keep things under control. The build has over 25,000 miles on it, so any issues around quality or reliability should have bubbled up by now.

The photo below is a little grainy, but it doesn’t look like this kit has the Blow Off Valve flange. Their kit does have the option for either configuration. As long as the E-Boost controller is doing what it should, getting a true 16 pounds of boost is going to be very noticeable over the stock config.

A quick shot of the interior. It looks clean enough, driver-focused, and perfect for what you need in this car.

Quirks and Swap Tradeoffs

Obviously, with a 30+ year-old car, there are going to be some things that could use sorting. There was no AC installed during the swap. That’s fine. Open the windows or use the T-Tops, that’s what they’re there for.

Some other items mentioned:

  • Electric mirrors
  • The temperature switch on the heater is jammed
  • The passenger window is a bit slower than the driver’s side
  • The rear trunk needs the latch installed – the owner does have the latch, but is nervous to put it on/adjust and not get the trunk back open

Should you buy it?

If this car sits for too long, I’m going to buy it. Plain and simple. I’d say anybody looking for mid-engine fun should look at this build first. At the current price, and if the build is as sound as it appears, you’re going to be in for a great time.

Reach out to the current owner here or see what other fun Japanese cars are hanging around.