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Mid-Ship Fanatic: ’72 914 And ’87 MR2

1972 Porsche 914

You can tell a lot about an owner based on the cars they keep in their garage. Barn Finds reader Mike J. sent in this property sale find out of Ohio which includes a 1987 Toyota MR2 and a 1972 Porsche 914. While we’ve never met the guy, I think it’s safe to say whoever lived here had a thing for cars with their engines mounted mid-ship. According to the seller, the owner bought the MR2 after spotting it in a parade in his hometown – an interesting footnote in this car’s history, and perhaps indicative of an enthusiast who loved his collection but couldn’t keep up with maintenance.


These first-generation MR2s are always popular on the autocross circuit, as they’re generally cheap to buy and maintain, not to mention a ton of fun to drive. While not super powerful, the car’s balance and driving position have always been cited for reasons why you should own one before you die. Not to mention with the T-Tops off, they’re a great summer driver. Unfortunately, this one suffers from rusty wheel arches, a common ailment of 1980s Japanese metal.


Parked next to the MR2 is another mid-engined classic, the Porsche 914. This is also a model with propensity for rust, but this example appears to be more solid than it’s garage mate. The sills have been removed (potentially some preemptive rust repair), but the interior is mostly complete, save for a radio hack-job. The presence of original hubcaps and Porsche lettering across the engine cover provides some reassurance this 914 is at least mostly original, despite likely still needing a fair amount of maintenance.

1987 Toyota MR2

Both of these cars are going for short money at the moment: the MR2 is currently bidding at $525 and the 914 is a bit more expensive at $1,300. The entire sale is massive in scope, and I can’t tell if it’s purely an estate clean out or some sort of a foreclosure auction. It’s worth flipping through the catalog, as there’s some other gems in here – like this collection of plastic model cars if the other projects presented here are too much work. Which would would you choose?


  1. Avatar photo krash

    Looks to me like the Toyota is in need of a serious cleaning and an MR2-nup…

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    • Avatar photo Don H

      Um the Toyota is the MR2

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  2. Avatar photo RichieRich

    Re the 914 shows “no evidence of rusting”? I guess the auctioneer never opened the door or looked at the jack points… and with 54 pictures not one with the engine cover open?

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  3. Avatar photo Mark E

    I’d go for the MR2 though I wouldn’t want to spend much more than the current bid price ($525). Too much unknown to spend a lot more. No idea what the engine even LOOKS like and god only knows what rust is lurking underneath.

    About ten years ago I could have gotten one of these for free out of a building the city was going to tear down but I passed thanks to lots of the unknowns mentioned above plus the lack of a title.

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    • Avatar photo Jeff Staff

      Mark, I can understand being logical but I’d have a hard time not taking a chance for one that was free! I wonder what the story was behind how it got locked up in a building slated for demolition.

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  4. Avatar photo rancho bella

    Teeners (914’s) are great handling cars but rust from the inside out. About ten years ago they started getting noticed and prices headed up…………since then, other than die hard teener people, they just are another car that most don’t care about

    I’m a fan

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  5. Avatar photo jim s

    pinball machines, HO trains, games, tools including wooden tool box also are interesting. great finds

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    • Avatar photo David Member

      The auction items are interesting, especially the model cars, but the auction site appears to be a ripoff!. I thought about bidding to donate them the museum gift shop but discovered the shipping is, well, expensive! I hope folks get a shipping estimate before bidding!

      Method: Ground
      Transit: $38.35
      Custom Packing: $18.73
      Total: $57.08

      Or another small item;
      Method: Ground
      Transit: $55.46
      Insurance: $2.84
      Custom Packing: $50.75
      Total: $109.05

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  6. Avatar photo Rick

    Always thought MR2s were cool, but the ones I’ve test driven are slow (but they handle okay). I still see decent drivers available for $2K

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  7. Avatar photo Tundra/BMW Guy

    Looking at some of the bids for stuff that’s not worth a piece of what the bids are, something seems off!?!?!? Maybe it’s just me but look for yourself.
    I would love an MR2. They really show out in the upper RPM ranges. You can run these things at high RPM’s all day long and it loves it. There are also aftermarket tweeks available to power it up. Unfortunately the 60K t-belt is due and is a mother to put in!!! Plus too much other work for the bid price!
    I had a 914 once. That was enough for me. I’ll pass even if it’s in mint condition. And as stated before, these rust right before your eyes!!! Glorified, well handling VW.

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  8. Avatar photo Bill

    I bought a 1986 MR2 new. Drove it for 17 years. It was economical, fun, reliable. Yes Tundra, you have to run the engine at the right range. Shift at 5000, which sounds like child abuse, but was oh so perfect for that car. I never grew tired of powering around an on-ramp turn in second, bringing the revs up, shifting out of third at 80.

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