THE MRS THAT ALMOST WASN’T

THE MRS THAT ALMOST WASN’T

What does a man that already has a mid-engine super car buy, when he wants a beater to play around with? Well, he buys another Mid-engine sports car of course, A Toyota MRS to be exact. You see if anyone reading this knows Ever, then they will understand why he chose to get another Mid-engine sports car. Why did he not just buy a Civic or Integra? Those are all over the internet going for super cheap, not to mention that I have a bountiful reserve of parts that we could throw on it, and my knowledge of them is nearing Senpai levels. It would have been so easy. But nope not good ol Ever, the harder and the more complicated… the more he’s lured in. Why must Ever do things the most hardest, challenging way possible? The world will never know, but that’s also what makes him such a unique guy. Just when you think he’s going to do a sensible thing…BOOM, he comes outta left field with some way over complicated idea, totally commits to it and sees it through to the end.

You see this whole thing started because Ever was always taking his NSX out with me when we would go smashing around the lake, the mountains, or just driving around town acting all Mario Andretti and shit in my 4 door.  Well the problem with that is his NSX is truly a unicorn, it’s un replaceable, and if anything were to happen to it then it would be a mega bummer. Now don’t think that ever doesn’t use and abuse the NSX. In fact he actually takes it to the track and uses it for what it was designed to do. For just doing stupid stuff around town, the risk is very high. So here comes the idea. He wants to get another car that’s crappy, that doesn’t have crazy expensive stuff on it so that he can race it around and not have to worry about over cooking it into a corner, hitting a rabbit, my car throwing up rocks at it, or crashing it.

As many of you know… my 4 door is a SOHC D16y8, and I love smashing around all the freeway interchanges, on/off ramps, and hitting up what little curvy roads we have here in Vegas. I also plan to take my 4 door to track events outside of Las Vegas because as you may know the final drive in my white EG is a 5.1. It puts my K20A at 4500-4700 rpms if I were to go the speed of traffic on the freeway. While the final drive of the d16y8 is stock, so it’s great for long drives. So I’ve kind of gown to like the under powered fun little 4 door, and with the amount of drives I’ve been going on lately Ever was feeling left out. You see Ever is just as passionate about Motorsports as I am. We’re both car enthusiast and share a deep love of all motorsport. From way back when we started drifting together. To now currently both of us tracking our motorcycles, sharing the love of the VTEC system, and basking in the marvels of Honda’s superior engineering.

I would say for some time now Ever has been tossing around the idea of getting a beater car. He was looking into trying to get a 4 door Integra, and he was feeling that for a little while. But right around that time my 4 door was stolen, and Ever got scared that if he had a fixed up Integra it would pretty much be a sitting duck. It would be just a matter of time until it got stolen as well. Another important reason for trying to get a cheap beater car was so he didn’t have to drive his V8 4runner around as a daily, which is getting to be pretty expensive in gas. So the car he was going to get is suppose to be a daily driver that wouldn’t receive any special treatment. For example, it wouldn’t be garage kept, it would be parked in parking lots and get door dings. He would have to leave it places for extended periods of time and didn’t want to always be wondering if his car was safe or not.

After watching Hot Version videos, Ever started to take a liking to the Toyota MRS. Why not? Sure in stock form they are ugly as all get up, but there’s no denying the fact that it’s a well-equipped car and when modified can be quite potent on the track. He began to research them, and after many long nights of reading everything there is to know about them. Ever decided that was going to be his “beater” car. Now I’m sure most of you reading this are thinking that an MRS is nowhere near a beater, most people would even call them a Sports car and would love to have one. But remember… Ever already has a legendary NSX. So anything to him is going to be a beater. At first his search for used MRS’ was not at all promising. As he realized that even though these cars aren’t that popular, they still hold their value well. With prices averaging 5-7k Ever was starting to get discouraged because this was way out of a “beater” price range. For those prices Ever was starting to encroach s2000 territory (which would be stupid since he already had an NSX). So Ever set up alerts on offer up, began checking Facebook, Craigslist, and eBay daily for cheap MRS’, but they could not be found. Until one day Ever got an alert on Offer Up telling him that here in Vegas someone posted a 2001 MRS for sale for 1500 bucks! The add stated that it had a clean title, 4 flat tires, and needed a new timing belt (but they have timing chains) so he contacted the person and asked if they would take 1000 bucks for it. They said sure, he hit up his buddy Nick and they took his truck and trailer to go pick it up. When Ever got there he realized that the door and quarter panel had some damage. Nothing too bad, maybe a parking lot fender bender, or maybe someone cut a turn to close in a garage. Being the MRS noob that he is, Ever didn’t realize that the rear quarter panel actually unbolts just like a fender and can be replaced. He thought it was similar to pretty much any other car out there, where if there is quarter panel damage it’s a part of the cars main shell and can’t easily be fixed. So Ever saw the damage and then walked away from it. He didn’t even waste his time starting the engine. A few days later after further researching the MRS chassis Ever realized that he had made a mistake. He should have actually bought that car knowing now that replacing the quarter panel was such an easy fix. He tried to contact the seller but they weren’t getting back to him. Regret, sorrow, and disappointment set in. Ever knows that this deal is gone and will never come again.

So now Evers down in the dumps, he is coming to terms with the fact that these can’t be had for cheap. Yet he is so excited about how awesome these cars are, and what great potential they have that he is dead set on getting one. I tell him, “just get a 4 door civic or Integra, it will be so cheap” But Evers not interested in drinking the koolaid. Plus, I know that if I actually talked him in to getting one he would just regret it later and blame it all on me. So I have said my piece, and haven’t forced any opinions on him. After all he’s a big boy and can make his own decisions. So what does Ever do? You guessed it, he just goes straight into “I want it” mode, and doesn’t care how he gets it. He’s talking to car lots, talking to banks, or thinking of what assets he can quickly liquify so he can buy a super clean one. Ever is doing this all behind my back because he knows I’m not going to approve and I’ll give him shit for doing it. Finally one day he spills the beans… He found a clean one in California and they only want 6k for it, he tried to offer them 5k but they didn’t go for it. At this point I’m telling him, WHAT ARE YOU DOING MAN, this is supposed to be a cheap beater car, you already have a NSX and there is no need to get another clean mid-engine sports car. I’m only trying to be his voice of reason because I know that later on down the line when he regrets blowing tons of money on this car, I’m going to be the one that has to talk him down from the ledge. He comes to his senses and acknowledges that he shouldn’t be spending tons of money on a beater car. Day in and day out, this guy is religiously searching for another slamming deal on this car. Still nothing is coming up. The desperation and  depression are real. One day (the day before his birthday) he texts me… “are we going to California to buy MRS’?” I respond “what the hell are you talking about?” He says that he contacted the dealer that originally had the clean one for 6k, and he told them that if they could do it for 5k, 4500 financed and 500 cash he would do it. Ever wasn’t really fond of financing the car through the dealership, but he is willing to just because he wanted the car so badly. So he talks to the dealership and sets everything up on Thursday afternoon. The deal is all set, they have already ran his credit, he is already approved for the loan, and we have the green light. We both get off work at 6:30pm Thursday night and proceed to head straight to California. We arrive late Thursday night at my dad’s house, we chat and catch up with him for a while, and then head to sleep. We wake up Friday morning, ITS EVER’S BIRTHDAY, but we got big plans. We do Breakfast with my Dad and then head out on our journey. Starting in Torrance, we head east to San Bernardino where the car is located. Along the way we stop at R compound USA to pick up some fresh tires for the MRS build, since we were near, and it would save on shipping later. We then jump back on the freeway and head east some more till we get to San Bernardino and arrive at the car lot.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen the car. Upon my inspection, It appears to actually be really clean, and its a pretty low millage car. Clean title, no accidents, it already has a roll bar, and a 5 zigen exhaust. Boy I’m thinking to myself… Ever really scored with this one and I can see why he’s biting the bullet financing it. So Ever goes in to sign the paper work while I stay outside to just kind of check out the other cars on the lot, and get a feel for the way the lot works. 10 minutes later Ever walks out and says he’s not getting it! I’m thinking WTF, I thought you had already set everything up? As we drove off the lot without the MRS, he explains that they were trying to make his total financing for 7k. There was no way he wanted this car enough to pay 7k for it. I mean it was clean for a corner Mexi car lot, and everything checked out on the car fax. But it still had some paint and interior flaws. For what he was intending to use the car for that was ok though. They tried telling him that there was 2500 dollars in fees so that’s why his total finance was 7k. They also told him that they were giving him a deal since the widow price said 7900, Ever then showed them a screen shot that he had taken when he first saw the car for sale where the window price was marked 6900. At that moment they knew the fucked up and they got caught in trying to scam him. He told them that he would only do 4500 finance and 500 cash down. They weren’t going to budge so he walked out. Maybe they thought since we drove down from Vegas that he would have been willing to pay more since it’s a 4 hour drive and maybe we wouldn’t want to go back empty handed. Both parties played a strong hand and stuck to their guns, but for us the trip wasn’t at all a waste. Not only did we get to see my dad, buy some brand new Nankang NS-2R tires, but I was finally able to make it to James’ house to pick up my DC header for my D16y8 that I had bought 8 months prior. I felt pretty bad that his birthday wasn’t really going well, and that at this point I was getting more presents then he was. Much like his life, for him the day was filled with much disappointment and sorrow.

We drove off the lot and needed to find someplace to park and gather our thoughts. After all we had 4 hours to kill until James got home from work, and I could pick up the header. We found a Starbucks and sat down to take in everything that had happened. In classic Ever fashion he hopped on his phone and began searching for MRS’ in Southern California that we could potentially buy.  But everything he found was too much money. Ever was determined to not walk away empty handed and In a last ditch desperation effort we went to his bank and tried to see if they would give him a loan for 6k. But our attempt was feudal, the bank wouldn’t have been able to give him the cash that day as it was already 3pm. That was it, we exhausted every reasonable option short of turning tricks to find him a MRS for his birthday. With no luck and the regret of why did he even try to get another car weighing heavily on his mind, Ever talked himself into believing that it was for the best, and that he didn’t really need a beater car. Remember, he had also already bought tires 5 hours earlier for a car that he wasn’t going to own. That’s how I ended up getting new tires for my 4 door. I told him I would just buy them off him, because not only did I want new tires but I felt so bad that he had pretty much blown 400 bucks. We left San Bernardino and headed to James’ house in Hemet. By the time we got there James still had about an hour till he was going to be home, so we checked out some food places and ended up eating at what turned out to be one of the best Mexican places we had eaten at. After eating at the super delicious place his spirits started to rise, he was full of optimism, and hope. He knew that if he just stayed focused he would eventually find an MRS. After meeting up at James’ house we chit chatted for a few then began our journey back to Las Vegas. Along the drive back I searched high and low across the whole country trying to find a decent MRS that was for a good price. From the Cajon pass to Barstow (about an hour and a half) I scoured the internet from sea to shining sea,  and all I came up with is… That you can’t actually find one of these things for less than 4k. All that 4k is going to get you was a pretty beat one. You had to pay upwards of 5k to get one even worth owning. Boy did Ever regret not buying that one for 1000 bucks in Vegas that had some motor noise, four flat tires, and body damage. We got back into Vegas late Friday night. Saturday morning it was back to the usual searching high and low for a cheap MRS’, with the all too familiar outcome of nothing.

He kept at it, checking Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Finally Thursday. On Thursday it seems that the winds had blown some good luck his way, they filled his sails with hope, and excitement. There it was… on offer up, in Las Vegas, was about the best deal he was going to get. 2001 MRS for 2500 bucks, Clean title, moderate miles, and the body looked good. He rushed over to the seller’s place to look at it. Along the way he text me that he had found one. I was very happy for him, and felt good about this one. When he arrived to look at it, he then realized that it was the same exact one that he walked away from a month ago. The one with 4 flats, motor noise, and body damage. The place where he was looking at the car was some tow yard/mechanic all dirt place that was not in a good part of town. This was obviously a place where the buy clunkers and barley get them running then turn them around and resell them to unsuspecting people. He told the woman who was selling it (she barley spoke English) and her husband was the mechanic (who didn’t speak English at all) that he knew this one was the one that had four flats: that they had just aired up, body damage: they had just half ass pulled out and spray painted, motor noise: that they had just put heaver weight oil in to silence, and a roof that was torn: that they had just stitched back together with what looked like a leather shoelace… that was for sale for super cheap on offer up. He offered them 1000 bucks for it, they declined and he went along with his day. The next day, Friday, exactly a week after not getting the one is California. The woman text him and said that they would do 1200. We went that Friday evening around 9pm and bought the car. 5 mins into ownership of the car the motor began to knock horribly, and it was apparent that there were some pretty bad issues with the car. We can only assume that the person who sold the car let it go for super cheap, like less than 1000 bucks, the people that bought it realized there was some major issues and that no one was going to buy it for 2500. So they decided to let it go for 1200. I mean even if they got it for 1000, all they did was air up the tires, put thicker oil in it, stitch a little bit of the roof, and pull the dent by hand and spray paint it. So they technically made 200 in two days which is pretty good.

Ever didn’t mind, The title was clean, the chassis wasn’t messed up, and a replacement motor was going to be 700. He was still going to be into it for less than you can buy a running one. Don’t forget that the goal was for him to make a beater car, that can compete with my 4 door, and also be a reliable daily driver. Not have a super clean show car, I mean let’s face it… the man already has a NSX. Plus this car is going to help bring a lot of content to the blog, and we are both going to learn as we go with this thing.

Before we jump into pictures and descriptions of the parts he already has for the car let’s go over some of our gentleman’s rules.

  1. The car must remain low horsepower. must not exceed 130 hp which is what my D16y8 is rated at.
  2. No roll cage.
  3. open diff.
  4. must have street tires.
  5. non aero.

This is to keep things as fair as possible between our two cars, as we have friendly competition. Yes I’m sure everyone wants to see cool stuff, like high horsepower, aero, cages, and what not. The truth be told there is a lot of work that needs to be done to the car, and I’m sure one day our cars will evolve over time and eventually get that stuff. For now he has the NSX, and I have my EG for all that cool stuff. I just want to make clear that I’m already at a disadvantage because the MRS is designed to be a sports car, not a 90’s econo box like my civic is.

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This is obviously the cars good side, and as you can see Ever has already started to “Everise” it by removing the grill area in the rear bumper.

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This is the cars bad side. You can see right below the rear inlet of the quarter panel, its dented. (it almost looks like a body line)

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You can see the stitching holding the top together. Honestly the body isn’t really bad, and I’m sure ill be able to detail it back to a pretty good shine. (note the car is also dirty from sitting outside, and we had a little rain)

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Yes, this car is pretty clean. Especially for 1200 bucks. Motor is toast, and needs some TLC, new window motor, and top. Ever will eventually want to go to a hard top. He already got a new JDM 1zz to replace the bad one, and how much could a window motor be?

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The interior is in decent shape.  He’s already rocking that FUNCTIONTHEORY dash sticker! Eventually he wants to find a cheaper used bucket seat. Ever already has a momo steering wheel, he just missing a hub.

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I can’t wait to completely clean this whole engine bay up, and get rid of that horrible muffler. He also has a battery relocation kit so he can mount it up front to help evenly distribute the weight. I don’t know if he’s going to buy the chassis braces, or if he is just going to weld up his own.

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Normally there is a plastic panel to cover all this up that holds the spare tire and tools. but obviously he opted to rip it all out. Ever wants to design some sort of hood vent/ducting for the radiator.

 

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Heres the new JDM 1ZZ motor. You can see how clean it is.

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These are all the parts he’s got lined up. No name intake, monkey wrench racing underdrive pulleys with a 2ZZ water pump (for better cooling), Energy motor mount inserts, new NGK plugs, a catch can set up with dual -10 bungs (because 1/2zz motors are known for blow by issues), no name header, Exedy clutch, and battery relocation kit from summit racing.

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