After selling my white T-top MR2 SC, I lasted all of two weeks before giving in to temptation and commenced searching for another AW11 to trundle around in for everyday duties.
If anyone's keeping count, this is AW11 number five for me
Test drove a couple of examples up here in Auckland and was severely disappointed by a) price, b) various mechanical faults, and c) an endemic reluctance on the part of each seller to negotiate a) based on b). Gave Ewan @ hayatonka a call as well, but a search of the auctions and yards in Japan yielded no results within budget, apart from a couple examples with major rust that would never have passed compliance here in NZ without $$$$ worth of repairs
Then just as I was about to give up, I received a phone call from a good friend in Wellington saying that one of his mates was selling a tidy hardtop manual AW11 SC, in more or less standard condition, and was I interested at all?
After a bit of back and forth negotiating (and agonizing over the fact it was midnight blue with blue interior, my least
favourite colour combination of the lot) - during which the price sharpened considerably after Ben, the seller, sold the BBS rims separately - I finally caved in and said yes.
So during the third weekend of June I flew down to Wellington, picked up the car, and covered the 650km trip back home in some of the most horrendous torrential rain ever, on the sketchiest of sketchy tyres, but without incident. And more importantly, drip free, thanks to the hardtop roof
As it happened, the very next weekend a snowstorm closed the Desert Road, so timing was impeccable.
Here it is sitting in my driveway, on the crappy balloon tyres and mega fugly wheels that replaced the BBSes
The good: 5-speed. Super charger of course. Hardtop. Wind-up windows and lightweight glass (rare). Adjustable damper shocks. Rear swaybar!
The bad: Most infuriatingly it doesn't seem to have a LSD, unless it's a Torsen of some sort. Already miss the TRD one from old whitey
The ugly: Smurfy blue interior. No sideskirts. Those wheels, yuck.
Within a day of getting the car home I'd already found two tiny spots of rust, naturally at the bottom of the A-pillars, but the rest of the car remains thankfully free of tinworm... the direct result of being located in inland Otago for the last few years before the previous owner bought it. Upon advice from my panelbeater and a few friends I fishoiled the most troublesome spots for peace of mind, and then set about making a list of things that needed doing. you really didn't think I would just drive the car as-is, did you?
The exterior does need a few touch-ups here and there, but unlike my TX3 which ended up being a budget blowout restoration of stupid proportions, I reckon I can get away with painting the worst affected areas and cut'n'polishing the rest. It won't be the mintest AW11 out there by a long shot, but it'll certainly be one that an "enthusiast" would still be proud to own.
Thanks to the strong NZ dollar it was a good time as any to pick up a Twos R Us engine cover gas prop kit; I've been wanting one for a long time, but I'd never kept an AW11 long enough to really justify the effort. The key blank was a last minute "add to cart" decision
and I finally found a use for the vintage deep-dish Momo wheel in my parts pile. Excuse the electric blue interior...
The fugly wheels have got to go, and the balloon tyres are not conducive to epic twisty touge runs, so I ordered a set of 14" RE001s (the only ones in the country, apparently) and found some suitably retro wheels to whack them onto.
Eventually the AW11 will wear some 15" Buddyclub P1s in bronze, but the Speedlines will do for now.
The other week I happened to stumble across a pleasant chap not far from my house who was wrecking an AW11 in midnight blue. Now half the exterior panels from his wreck reside in my garage
Including a pair of sideskirts, which my panelbeater will find a way to retrofit to the car and hopefully prevent any future rust issues. One distinct advantage of having an AW11 without skirts from factory is that you can check the condition of the sills and be satisfied they haven't completely rotted away...
then someone tipped me off to the presence of a complete '89 AW11 at Pick a Part Avondale, so I made haste down there to see what I could scavenge. Arrived about 20 minutes too late to score the LED rear spoiler according to the nice lady at the counter, but did manage to grab a whole swag of other small bits, including the swanky updated mirrors that only came on that year.
opinions are divided over whether chunky is better than swanky, but they take literally minutes to swap so it's not the end of the world.
A hot date with the panel shop and paint booth is fast approaching, so I guess the next update will occur after this takes place, or once the tyres arrive and I can finally fit the Speedline telephone dials, or if I do something incredibly impulsive and click buy now on that Cusco LSD that keeps taunting me on Yahoo Japan...
but as this is my daily driver I can't really justify having it off the road for too long, nor do I really want to do anything outrageous like fit monstrous swaybars, or gigantic blower pulley kits, or anything that would impinge on reliability. Yes it is a LOT slower than the white AW11 was, but I suppose I should exercise a shred of self-control now and again, am I right?