Two and a half years ago I began a search for car that I could use as a runabout while at school in Philly that would also be somewhat fun to drive. After a few weeks of searching, it came down to a decision between a E34 535i or an AW11 Mr2 (both 5 speed of course).
While I didn’t actually get to drive either of the cars, my dad did so on my behalf and told me that they both were in good shape. For a while I was leaning towards the E34 but I kept coming back to the fact that objectively speaking, it was very nearly the same car as my sister’s E38 528i. While the 5 series is a fantastic sedan, I didn’t think it would keep exciting me for years to come. So, I made the decision to pull the trigger on the MR2 and venture outside my known world of BMWs.
For a little over two years, Mister Two served me faithfully without issue. However, those two years of driving through Philadelphia and back to upstate New York were not exactly kind to the MR2. While I kept very good care of the car, I moved farther away from school this year and knew that it would be wrong for me to daily drive the MR2 back and forth from school. I ended up buying a 2005 MINI Cooper S with the intention of keeping the MR2 and turning it into an autocross car. However, things didn’t quite work out how I had hoped and it became apparent that I needed to sell Mister Two.
Now, I knew that my particular MR2 was in great mechanical shape but suffered from typical AW11 rear wheel arch rust (paraphrasing Mr. Regular “If someone says their AW11 doesn’t have rust on the rear wheel arches they probably have a bridge to sell as well”). This meant that it wouldn’t be selling for a premium but I certainly didn’t want it going to some drift kid wannabe with an Initial D fetish. A few potential buyers came and went, all low balling the car quite badly, trying to cite the mileage (210,000 miles) and rear wheel arch rust as deal breakers. This past week however, my dad was talking to a co-worker and brought up the fact that I was trying to sell my MR2 and later that day, received a call from her husband making an offer for the car.
He offered me a fairly low number but after talking to my dad about this guy, I quickly learned that he was a genuine car guy who knew the value of the little sportscar. Bargaining for a few hundred more dollars, I agreed to sell him Mister Two. Knowing that my beloved AW11 was going to an enthusiast who was really going to appreciate and love Mister Two just as I had was certainly worth the difference in money that I could have made by selling it to someone else.
The next day it was time to go get the MR2 out of storage and deliver it to the new owner. As I had taken the plates from the MR2 to use on the MINI, my dad insisted that he drive the MR2 most of the way, so in the event that we get stopped, he gets the ticket and not me. For most of the trip, I was looking in my rear-view mirror at Mister Two, thinking to myself, that’s not something you really see anymore. Taking the MR2 to the new owner felt very akin to taking my childhood dog to be put down, I was definitely welled up a bit. However, I thought to myself, just because this is the end of Mister Two’s journey with me doesn’t mean his journey as a whole was over. He was headed to a wonderful new life, with someone who was going to love and cherish him. That made me smile.
Soon it was time to change over cars, and the short 5 minute drive to the new owners house began my last ever ride with Mister Two. I opened up the door and sat down in the wonderful leather seats, grinning ear to ear as I read the embossed “Twin Cam 16" on the headrests. It felt very different from the MINI and my E46 but it was familiar and it felt right. I started him up, the 4A-GE screaming to life behind me. I pulled out of the parking lot, gleefully enjoying the rev happy engine. Grabbing the pistol grip shifter to go second brought back all of my favorite memories of bombing around the original Watkins Glen grand prix course, I couldn’t help but think how much I loved this little car. The lack of power steering, screaming 4A-GE behind you, the perfect gearbox and exceptional handling were all working in unison to give me one hell of a last ride. But, almost as soon as the ride had begun, it was over.
Arriving at the new owner’s house, he was excited to see the car and myself and led us into his garage. Upon entering his garage, I knew he was the right person for Mister Two. He had built himself a rotisserie and was currently in the process of restoring a 1974 MGB, specifically for autocross. Mister Two would be in excellent hands. While I still lament having to part ways with him, this certainly will not be my last experience with the AW11 and perhaps even my particular MR2. There will be another one in my garage before long. Just before setting off, I quickly remembered that I had wanted a picture of myself with Mister Two, as somehow I didn’t have one. My dad happily obliged and took our picture. An everlasting reminder of my one last ride with Mister Two.