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Old 01-24-10, 03:30 PM   #1
kissTheApex
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Mid-Engine Fun No More

I just got back from driving my beloved 1993 Toyota MR-2 mid engine two seater to her new home. Removed the license plates and registration, gave the title and the keys to the new owner and came back home. No more mid-engine RWD fun drives for me. She will be missed.
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Old 01-24-10, 05:45 PM   #2
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Fun car! I had a 1st gen. supercharged and it was a blast! Traded it in for the 2nd gen. Turbo and was very disappointed. Got a Porsche Turbo next and restored the fun! Anything with more than two seats is just wrong.
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Old 01-24-10, 08:42 PM   #3
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my dad had the same car, but 1st gen...white too!...great little car...
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Old 01-24-10, 09:09 PM   #4
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great cars, when I had my modified 1st gen supercharged, I was regional sponsor for the mr2oc.com.
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Old 01-24-10, 09:52 PM   #5
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I'll assume you have or plan to replace it with something?
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Old 01-24-10, 10:40 PM   #6
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For those of us who don't know sports cars, what makes a mid-engine car different/better than a front or a rear engine vehicle? All I know is modded offroaders.
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Old 01-24-10, 11:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
For those of us who don't know sports cars, what makes a mid-engine car different/better than a front or a rear engine vehicle? All I know is modded offroaders.
better weight distribution.

having the heaviest part of the car sit low and near the center of the car allows for better acceleration because of the extra mass on the rear wheels and better cornering abilities because it's not front or rear heavy........

if the suspension is setup right, otherwise it can be utterly scary to drive.

RR setup like porches have will make you do 360 if you're not careful.
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Old 01-24-10, 11:20 PM   #8
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its also a rear wheel drive car (which is more important than being mid-engine I would think). I'd be happy if toyota or mazda came out with a sporty, RWD sedan.
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Old 01-24-10, 11:32 PM   #9
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lexus IS, aka toyota altezza

RWD that is a BMW M3 wannabe
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Old 01-25-10, 12:47 AM   #10
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its also a rear wheel drive car (which is more important than being mid-engine I would think). I'd be happy if toyota or mazda came out with a sporty, RWD sedan.
Would you settle for a Toyota/Subaru RWD sedan?
http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z...6-Concept.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_...#FT-86_Concept
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Old 01-25-10, 12:56 AM   #11
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With Porsche it depends on the series... rear engine models like the 911 are a blast to drive but are easier to spin out than the later 9 series that have such excellent balance because of a rear mounted tranny and use of a torque tube instead of a conventional drive shaft.

Even the lowly 924 sticks to the road like it was crazy glued there and is a very stable car at high speeds.

The MR2 was one of my favourite Toyotas and was an absolute blast to drive once you got past how much noise that engine made at high rpms.
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Old 01-25-10, 01:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
For those of us who don't know sports cars, what makes a mid-engine car different/better than a front or a rear engine vehicle? All I know is modded offroaders.
Look up "polar moment of inertia". The exact same-weight car, say... 2800 lbs can be front-engine, rear-engine or mid-engine with the exact same power, but the resultant behavior will be completely different.

Front-engine/rear-tranny cars like the Porsche 924/944/968, Corvette, V12 Ferraris tend to have close to a 50/50 F/R weight-distribution with most of the mass at opposite ends of the car. This results in a high polar moments of inertia and they are very stable at high-speeds. This is due to requiring a higher-torque around a vertical axis to turn them. Imagine spinning a bar-bell with the weights at the end.

Mid-engine cars like MR2, Boxster, Cayman, V8 Ferraris moves this weight to the centre between the wheels (usually 45/55% F/R). This lowers the polar moment of inertia and requires less turning-force/torque to turn them. Imagine spinning a barbell with the weights all in the middle of the bar; takes a lot less force to spin. The result is very quick and instant steering-response and good handling "feel", even though the maximum traction limit is still the same. Going over the limits though tend to be very abrupt and harder to catch than front-engine/rear-tranny cars.

Rear-engine cars like the Porsche 911 maximizes 2 of the 3 performance areas of acceleration, braking and cornering. With a 40/60% F/R weight-bias, there's extra weight on the rear-wheels for acceleration (fastest acceleration cars are RWD or 4WD). The rearward weight-bias also enhances braking ability as well since you end up with a more even 50/50 F/R balance under braking. Cornering is more tricky however as the rear-end's extra weight can overcome the rear-tyre's grip. The result is a car that can easily come out of a turn backwards if you're not careful. It takes more driver training and skill to extract maximum-performance from one of these cars. In the early '80s, Porsche actually lost a lawsuit where a doctor was killed in a 911 Turbo, with a claim that the car was unstable and difficult to drive. The Turbo disappeared from the market for close to 10-years; only to reappear later in lower-boost less-scary form.

Here's a good article comparing front-engine/rear-tranny versus rear-engine Porsches: Turbo vs. Turbo. Note Derek Bell's comments on their different behaviors. He's one of Porsche's most legendary race drivers.

BTW, front-engine/front-tranny is the worse configuration for high-performance given any weight & power level.
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Old 01-25-10, 08:36 AM   #13
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not bad at all, but I've gotten use to having 4 doors and a nice trunk.
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Old 01-25-10, 12:52 PM   #14
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BTW, front-engine/front-tranny is the worse configuration for high-performance given any weight & power level.
gotta love that torque steer of high power FF cars...

what's interesting, is at similar engine size and power restrictions you see in touring category, is that AWD like the A4 really dominates the field even though it's a good 200lbs heavier due to the AWD transmission.
but then once you go up to the really high power cars, they're all RWD in various engine configurations.
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Old 01-25-10, 06:04 PM   #15
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I'll assume you have or plan to replace it with something?
Unfortunately, not until the little guy grows up a bit. Ever since our son was born the time I could drive it diminished largely. I used to drive it to work in the summer but last summer my wife's work location changed which prompted me to start picking up the little guy from the day care everyday and finally having put only 220 miles within the last 15 months, thus paying more insurance money than gasoline was the final straw. Once he grows and I have more time to myself again I may start looking for an NSX or something similar though.

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The MR2 was one of my favourite Toyotas and was an absolute blast to drive once you got past how much noise that engine made at high rpms.
My exact sentiments, I always wished that it came with a 6 speed so that you can at least cruise with low RPMs when you felt like it. Mine was a naturally aspirated one so I didn't have to listen to it as much as the turbo owners. I kept saying to my wife the reason I drove fast in that car was to run away from the engine noise ..

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It's really too bad that Toyota decided to eliminate all fun from its lineup. The MR2 and Supra (and even the Celica) deserved better than an unceremonial axing at the altar of greenwashing.
Yup, late nineties' Supra was a real beast. I had a chance to drive a one. Definitely a very good car. I wish the US got the Mark II MR-2 till the end of '99 as the rest of the world got. There would have been more of them in the market then.
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Old 01-26-10, 02:21 AM   #16
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Always liked the Lotus inspired Mk2 Supra P type.



Not a monster in terms of horsepower (160) but that was more than enough to let you cruise at 100 mph all day in a high degree of comfort.
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Old 01-26-10, 12:47 PM   #17
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I had one of those back in high-school! So much fun!



I got a MKIV later, but the styling was bland compared to other cars on the market. Although good enough for Ferrari to copy:


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Old 01-26-10, 04:24 PM   #18
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I had one of those back in high-school! So much fun!
I drove a VW Super Beetle in high school...
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Old 01-26-10, 04:31 PM   #19
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Although good enough for Ferrari to copy:
I don't know. That also looks a lot like a lot of sports cars form the past several decades, unless you're thinking further back than I am.
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Old 01-26-10, 04:46 PM   #20
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But on the road, you can easily distinguish an E-type from a 2000GT from a 240Z from an RX-7 from a MKIV Supra. However, every single time a 599 has come up from behind me, I've mistaken it for a Supra. And I can tell the difference between a 550 and 575 Maranello from a mile away too.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:53 PM   #21
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I used to have a sliver P-type. beat up, 220k+ miles on engine and auto tranny, bought for pocket change, missing half the front end, but ran like a top and had not a single problem.

My daughter just turned two. About 6 months ago, we bought a 280zx 2+2 auto. Decent handling, but slow as balls lol. Probably at least 2 seconds slower in the 1/4 than the 280zx 2 seater, manual that I used to have! But she mostly fits in the back seat with a modern car seat And she LOVES the T-Tops

But I don't have any time to ride any of our motorcycles or work on the Lotus Europa that doesn't run...
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Old 01-27-10, 01:20 PM   #22
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The 280 2 + 2 auto was a dog... a friend had one and could not get ride of it.

His other car was a Porsche 924.

Used to work with a guy that was a mechanic for Nissan Racing and we'd go out in his 240 and hunt anything on wheels... especially Corvettes.

Aside from the bodywork the car was pretty much a full custom and was pushing nearly 450 hp.
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Old 01-27-10, 01:23 PM   #23
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must have had an engine swap... I don't see an inline 6 producing 450hp...
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Old 01-27-10, 01:48 PM   #24
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not bad at all, but I've gotten use to having 4 doors and a nice trunk.

Infiniti G37x sedan. Four doors, all wheel drive (biased to the rear) and 230hp stock. 0-60 in 5.5. Corners like it's on rails. Good looking too.
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Old 01-27-10, 02:21 PM   #25
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My daughter just turned two. About 6 months ago, we bought a 280zx 2+2 auto. Decent handling, but slow as balls lol. Probably at least 2 seconds slower in the 1/4 than the 280zx 2 seater, manual that I used to have! But she mostly fits in the back seat with a modern car seat And she LOVES the T-Tops
One of my friends had a 280zx-turbo back in high-school. That was quite a fast car in its day. Time for a turbo-kit and some nitrous!!!
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