from the day I bought my latest AW11 MR2 I’ve been slightly annoyed by its lack of interior t-top shades, which makes driving in direct sunlight a bit of a drain at times (the sunvisors are of limited use).
So ever the completist/OCDist (depending on who you talk to) I set about tracking down a decent pair of the blasted things. Now most AW11 owners will tell you the t-top shades along with the facelift front lip valance are the two most incredibly difficult items to obtain replacements of. Turns out they were only partially right, as within a day I had tracked down a brand new front lip valance (ex Toyota Japan, no less; those people I see whinging on MR2 forums ought to do their homework better!) but the shades proved to be far more elusive, and what I hadn’t prepared myself for was the pricing: a whopping $925 per side provided Toyota still had new old stock lying around… screw that idea.
But then upon some random incredible stroke of luck I came across a wrecked AW11 at Pick-a-Part one day not long after, which happened to have both t-top shades… except they were lying in a puddle, and looked like they had been for some time. After extracting them from said puddle and spending the next three days drying them out (and a further week getting rid of the saturated-cardboard-in-oily-puddle smell), the passenger side one turned out saggy and completely useless, but the driver’s side returned to a somewhat usable state. Incidentally, the total cost was only $12.00!
However OCD kicked in, and I couldn’t bring myself to use one t-top shade: it was both or nothing. The search thus continued. After being offered a pair of t-top shades by some random gouging bastard (who shall remain nameless), on some forum (which shall also remain nameless) for the exorbitant price of $300/pair, I turned to that last gleaming bastion of hope: Yahoo Auctions Japan.
I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t do that to begin with, instead of shitting around for weeks trying to deal with Toyota, Pick-a-Part, and AW11 owners with overinflated self-worth… because after typing in the search parameters this is what greeted me:
a quick email to the proprietor of hayatonka (an auction middleman service) secured my interest, and this morning I received a reply stating that we’d won the auction… for the measly sum of 2000 yen.
Yep, that’s right, $30 + shipping and commission. More expensive than what I paid for the Pick-a-Part pair, but complete and in better overall condition.
and the best thing? I ain’t have to pay some greedy gouging NZ fucker $300.
currently listening: GWAR – Lust in Space / Various – Galaxy News Radio Soundtrack (Fallout 3)