Finding a Mk1 Toyota MR2 that hasn’t been viciously attacked by the tin worm is easier said than done. It’s not uncommon to see really nice, rot-free ones listed for over £10,000, which seems like an awful lot of money for what you’re getting, as much as we love the little sports car scamp.
Allow us, then, to present a similarly-priced but potentially more interesting alternative. This is a Ginetta G32, and the chances are you haven’t heard of it. It’s one of only a few road cars made by a company primarily known for racers, and it was made in very small numbers - just 97 were completed.
With a vaguely similar silhouette, a mid-engined layout and pop-up headlights, it’s hard not to make comparisons to the first Mister Two. But it has one thing that makes it a better prospect than the Toyota beyond merely its curio status - a fibreglass body. Rust shouldn’t be anything like as much of an issue here.
The mechanical side of things shouldn’t give you too much trouble either, as it’s all pretty humble stuff from Ford. The dashboard, for instance, was lifted from a Fiesta, as were the doors. The engine in this one is a 1.6-litre inline-four from an Escort XR3i, although you could also have a simpler carburetted four-pot or a punchy turbo lump.
The big problem for the G32 was the price. It ended up costing just as much as an MR2, but it wasn’t anything like as well built. Autocar, as noted by Below the Radar, had this to say about the car in its road test: “With the G32, the company has so nearly got it right. It has the looks, character and potential ability, but in execution and detail development something has gone sadly wrong”. No wonder fewer than 100 found owners.
If you’re buying an 80s sports car today, though, such foibles aren’t so much of an issue. You’ll be after character, not build quality excellence, and this G32 has the former in spades.
It’s far from a perfect example - a lot of the paintwork hasn’t stood the test of time particularly well, and this being a 32-year-old glass fibre body, it should come as no surprise that there’s is a crack to the side of the front number plate. But hey, the pop-ups still work as they should, and those 14-inch BBS wheels are in good condition too.
Underneath, the steel frame’s galvanised finish has long since worn off, but a healthy layer of underseal means there’s nothing scarier than some surface rust down there. The interior meanwhile is described as being in decent shape despite some staining on the carpets and “wobbly” dashboard fittings.
It’s the second G32 Ginetta made and looks to have spent some time as the company’s press demo car. Considering the kind of car this is, it’s had a healthy amount of use, with the odometer reading around 78,000. So long as no one gets carried away, it might end up being something of a bargain. It’s listed on The Market with an estimate of £6,000 - £10,000. The online auction will end on 7 December.