My 1989 AW10 MR2.


Manual steering.

No airbags.

2,300 lbs.

Bicycle tires.

Seriously, in anything other than perfect conditions, the oversteer/understeer balance of this car was a fucking coin toss. I never knew if it was going to swap ends on me, or plow through the corner straight as an arrow. Fortunately, it didn’t have enough power to put me at risk in any timely fashion, but that also meant I was always very concerned with conserving momentum. I picked off more than one curb with the right front on this car.

Then there’s the time I put it in a ditch in what can only be described as the world’s slowest speed ditch incident. It had just stopped raining, and I was on a dirt road at a T intersection (I was stopped facing “upwards”). There was a small ditch situated over the top of the T. I dialed in some right hand lock, revved it up, and took off. There was momentary wheel spin, but as soon as the weight shifted back, the front unloaded, the rear got traction, and the car was headed in a straight line. I lifted, but immediately jumped on the brakes. Mistake.

Without ABS, on a wet dirt road, with nearly full right-lock steering input, this was a recipe for terminal understeer. I slowly skidded to the point where the left-front crested the edge of the tiny little ditch. The car kind of slowly heeled over and slid down the slippery grass into the 6-inches of water at the bottom of the swale.

It all happened so slowly that I had time to stop and reflect on how dumb the whole thing was. Fortunately, it was also so slow that there was zero damage to the car. However, I could not drive it out (insufficient traction). A friend pulled it out, from the rear tow hook, with his K5 Blazer.

I later totalled it, in the rain, by driving into the rear of a Ford F-150 that crossed five lanes (three center lanes and two turn lanes) of traffic to make a left hand turn out of a right hand turn-lane. I’m lucky to be alive.