How long has the Toyota MR2 Spyder been around?
Toyota wasn't exactly the pioneer to explore the concept of a small, mass-produced sports car with a mid-engine layout. Since the late Sixties, European automakers had developed various models based around this exotic-sounding formula, but none of them made much of an impact with customers. The history of the Toyota MR2 can be traced all the way back to 1976 when Toyota officially commenced its landmark 'middie' project but the worldwide oil crisis delayed the project's development.
Was it created just to compete with Mazda's popular coupé?
Christened the Toyota MR2, which stands for 'Midship Runabout 2-seater', the new model went on sale in Japan in June 1984 and was voted Japan's "Car of the Year" for 1984-1985.The MR2's all-aluminum DOHC in-line four displaces 1.8 liters and produces 138 horsepower that propelled the MR2 to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds.
The MR2 became available in North America in 1987 with a T-bar roof and an updated look. In 2000, at the height of Mazda's little coupé's popularity, the company unveiled the newly developed Toyota MR2 Spyder, which became the little coupé's direct competitor with only 5,000 being built.
What are the advantages of a mid-engine layout?
When it comes to performance, the mid-mounted engine is the better alternative. An engine in the center of the vehicle allows better weight distribution and a lower moment of inertia. These cars will have a good center or gravity. This is why most supercars have mid mounted engines—a second row of seats or cargo space is deemed unnecessary.
The unusual location of the engine can sometimes be a plus as most are accustomed to an engine in the front under the hood. Many owners find it appealing to be seen behind the wheel before a powerhouse engine behind the driver's seat.
I am installing two gauges in my Toyota MR2 Spyder. What is the ideal air/fuel ratio to monitor on the gauge? What is the ideal idle and high rev oil pressure read on my oil pressure meter?
Specification for oil pressure is minimum of 4.5 PSI at idle hot, 80 PSI at 3000 RPM. Oil pressure is always higher cold and as oil gets hot when the viscosity drops. Oil pressure relief valve will alleviate pressure once it reaches 80 PSI. Air/fuel ratio ideally is 14.7:1, but you will see with the gauge that the ratio will be all over the place as you go from idle to full acceleration to part throttle.
When I tried to start my car, I turned the key and all I heard was a ticking noise from the engine. The battery seems to be charged since everything electrical works in the car.
Turn on the headlights. If they seem bright, the battery should be okay. Ideally, the battery voltage at rest should be 12.6 volts. If the alternator is charging correctly, the battery voltage should be approximately 14.6 volts. The MR2 has replaceable starter contacts and plunger that create clicking sounds once they fail, and you try to engage the starter.