I was organizing some parts today and decided to do a side-by-side comparison of the various shifters I’ve come across over the years. I’m a big fan of the B & M shifters, although they are getting hard to find these days. Here’s my experience with the various shifters listed below. Please reference the image at the bottom of the article for a visual comparison. Sorry for not having a metric tape measure available.
- As you can see, the shifter from the 89 SC MR2 I had was quite long. As far as I know, all of the MK1 shifters are the same from 85 to 89. The shift knob was also quite long and I was very annoyed with it after having a B & M in one of my MK2 MR2s for several years now. I swapped in one of the B & M replica shifters without the drop-plate which worked out well. The OEM shift knob would not work on the B & M replica, but it was rather phallic anyway, so I was quite happy to ditch it.
- The OEM shifter from the 91 MR2 is only slightly shorter than the MK1 shifter and has a similarly phallic shift knob. I recommend upgrading to a B & M or at least a 93 OEM version if possible.
- The 93 OEM shifter is a good bit shorter and much nicer than the versions from the prior years. The shifter is quite a bit shorter installed and the knob was revised on the 93-95 USDM models.
- The TRD version is slightly shorter than the 93 OEM counterpart and the shift linkage has a slight adjustment making it mount higher. The shifter works flawlessly and is well engineered as would be expected with the entire TRD product line. The TRD short shifters were shipped with a drop-plate similar to the B & M and the knob with the TRD shifter is superb.
- The B & M replica shifters (in some cases labeled as a Fidanza shifter) are quite short. Although it visibly looks to be the same length as the authentic B & M, it is considerably shorter when installed for some reason and is almost too short to be usable if you use the drop plate. It was so short that I was unable to shift to 2nd gear if the shift boot was still installed. It is tolerable if you bypass installing the drop-plate and it did work quite well in the MK1 without the drop-plate. Another option since these replica shifters are fairly inexpensive is simply using the drop-plate from the kit with your 93 version shifter. All of the replica B & M shifters I’ve seen have been polished aluminum.
- The B & M shifter kit is by far the best version available for the MR2 in my opinion. It has the most complete kit and works the best out of all the models available in my experience. The kit included the shifter, drop plate and mounting hardware, tube of grease, a billet extension, and detailed instructions. The authentic version is easily identifiable by the anodized blue components and the brushed aluminum finish. Old versions of the shifter included a nice, heavy shift knob, but those were phased out in the later kits available for the MR2. B & M ended production for the MR2 short shift kit sometime around the 2005-6 time frame. When it was available, it was approximately $170. The B & M installation instructions can be found here.