2AR-FE Upgrade: 2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder

The second generation MR2 W20 was put to pasture after the 1999 model year and the replacement 3rd gen wasn’t styled like a short-wheelbase Ferrari or boosted by turbos or a hardtop. In fact, the 3rd gen MR2 W30 was quite a step down in performance compared to the prior generation and had googley eyeballs and a softop. However, in an odd change of things, it tipped the scales at 500 lbs less than the 2nd generation…and everybody was happy. Except people who thought it should have had a big V6 or more powerful 4-cylinder in the back. Like this next guy. Find this 2002 Toyota MR2 Spyder offered for $10,000 in Charlottesville, NC via craigslist. Tip from Cory.

From the seller:

2002 toyota mr2 spyder
condition: good
cylinders: 4 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 123000
paint color: black
title status: clean
transmission: manual
type: convertible
For sale is a modified Toyota MR2 Spyder. This car was built as a street/autocross car, but only raced a few weekends. Mostly just quick driving around town and some back roads. It’s a fine car for getting around, although a stiff ride, but the track is where this car wants to be. Space inside is also limited, so I wouldn’t recommend as something to get groceries with. Fits drivers 6′ and under comfortably.

It was originally converted to a 6 speed manual transmission, then later engine swapped with a 2AR-FE (from a Camry/Rav4). Swap was done with Frankenstein Motorworks parts, and worked closely with them to get everything dialed. Weighs about 2200 pounds and tuned to be around 220 horsepower, so a very quick car. In addition to the swap kit, the car has a full custom exhaust (high flow cat and muffler), BC Racing coilovers, Konig wheels, battery relocated to the front, a new top (installed about a year ago), paint job, and sound system.


The chassis has 123k miles, with the engine around 90k. Car is used to commute in town and maintained regularly.

Not currently inspected but we’re working to get the last little things done over time. Paint job could use a little touch-up. Synchros on 3rd are starting to go, so it sometimes grinds a bit shifting up to 3rd.

For anyone looking for more power, Frankenstein Motoworks also has a swap to the 2GR v6. Most of the swap kit pieces from the 2AR swap are the same for the V6, so this car could also be purchased with that in mind and save a lot on swap parts. Be aware the V6 swap is really for a skilled driver looking to build a very fast track car.

Feel free to contact me with any questions or for more detailed pictures.

See a better way to drive something mid-engine? tips@dailyturismo.com

Updated to reflect inline-4 instead of V6 engine.