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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

A week ago, I reported my baby stolen. The front door camera shows the wheels rolling back at 1:14 am on Dec 10, then the car drives off at 1:23 am. So, I guess they hotwired it and broke the steering lock. I had the car parked in Cambridge for 10 years with no theft, just the occasional bum rummaging through the glove box.

So, if anyone sees the car or supercharged parts turn up, please let me know! What do thieves do with a car like that? I was hoping it was a joyride, donuts in a parking lot or free transportation to a distant city. Now, I'm wondering if they're taking the car to another country where they can use it or if it's sitting in someone's garage for spare parts. What will happen to the frame, once the parts are used? I suppose it's easy enough to use the VIN's off another MR2 and put them on mine to keep it running. I really hope they don't chop it up for some spare parts because the car was in great shape despite the external appearance. I specifically didn't repaint it and let the body look crappy to discourage theft. When they stole the car, the rust repair on the right side just had two bare coats of bondo.

And how does everyone else keep their cars safe? The Club? Alarms? LoJack? GPS trackers? I want to make a solar powered 3G/WiFi system with cameras, motion sensors, the works. So that as soon as the car is entered, moved, or bumped, the system notifies the owner and sends uploads photos of whatever car hit it or who's stealing it. It'll be cheaper than off-street parking in Cambridge!



 

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Very sorry to see this thread, and that you haven't yet posted an update stating that the car was recovered with no/minimal damage.

Security is a tricky issue. A determined thief will find a way to drive or drag whatever they want, but I have to believe that MR2s (well, AW11s, anyway) are taken out of convenience rather than choice. Take away the convenience and it becomes less appealing.

Clubs can be defeated, but they are at least a visual deterrent, and reduce the ease of just jumping into a car and driving.

Removing certain relays and fuses will prevent a car from starting and may frustrate a casual thief enough that he moves on to an easier target.

Kill switches are handy, and the more hidden or better integrated they are, the better. I'll email you something as soon as I can find it again.
 

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That sucks - you'd think no one in their right mind would steal one of these since the dollar value is so low and they're easy to spot.
Probably either for a joy ride or someone needed specific parts.

I'll keep an eye out for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Still no news about the car, but I'm getting lots of ideas about kill switches and security stuff for my next sports car. I'm debating on whether to get another Mk1 SC, a Mk3 Spyder or an Elise. Are there any other go-kart cars out there? The Boxster is way too heavy. I like the Spyder except for the lower torque to weight ratio, the lack of a clear roof, and the electronic power steering. But I'm sure there are many great things about the car that make it worth owning. I hope Toyota revives the MR2 at some point. The Elise would be sweet, but a car that expensive might make me worry to much about silly stuff like having the wheels stolen, dents, etc. I bought my first Mk1 SC 13 years ago and had the second one for over 10 years. I intended to keep it indefinitely. Sometimes, I wanted a little more power. But every time I walked up to it it would make me smile. I loved the turning the key, hearing it crank for a few seconds and then roar. I could cut through traffic faster than anything except a motorcycle. It's light, narrow, torquey, and gets attention. The glass roof and pop-up headlights are cool features you just don't get anymore. I may have to just buy another SC and fix it up with the same mods: SV3 Power exhaust, Clutchmasters kevlar clutch and Fidanza flywheel. I guess I'll never have Bridgestone Potenza RE960AS tires again, though. :(
 

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That really sucks - and an SC, too.

Yeah, the kill switch, but that still wouldn't prevent a towing. I guess a motion detector, that sends an alarm to your smart phone.

My Two basically stays in my garage if I'm not driving it. I don't know about car thefts in the Seattle area, but smash & grabs are at a fever pitch. (I've had four with three of my cars - one was hit twice.) Can't leave ANYTHING visible in one's car that has any pawnshop or identity theft value, and can be taken quickly. Not even for a little while.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I should update this thread with what ended up happening. Around February 4, 2014, I got a call from a police station in Rhode Island that they had recovered my car. I was leaving for Europe for a month the next morning, so I had no way to go and look at the car. They told me the car had no engine, transmission, or wheels. I eventually called the tow yard that had it, but they had crushed it after a month. The guy said he remembered the car and that it was completely stripped, even the seats. I assume whoever did it is using the parts on another MR2. At least they're using the stuff and didn't waste the car the way the one recently stolen in Vallejo was. The things of value that I can think of are:

- SC engine and transaxle with Clutchmasters kevlar clutch and Fidanza flywheel
- refinished original SC wheels with the discontinued Potenza RE960AS tires
- SV3Power down pipe and muffler, heavily painted grey to prevent rust
- Nakamichi CD400 audio deck
- T-top roof panels
- tan interior

I travel a lot for work now, but I'll buy more MR2's once I buy a house in the US.
 

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Sorry to hear that!

Here is something to look at. I am contemplating one for an enclosed trailer that is stored in a pretty remote location... I tried another tracker that was making a lot of the same claims that I picked up at an Apple store, but it was horrible, and didn't work well enough to warrant keeping it.

https://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=128

I should update this thread with what ended up happening. Around February 4, 2014, I got a call from a police station in Rhode Island that they had recovered my car. I was leaving for Europe for a month the next morning, so I had no way to go and look at the car. They told me the car had no engine, transmission, or wheels. I eventually called the tow yard that had it, but they had crushed it after a month. The guy said he remembered the car and that it was completely stripped, even the seats. I assume whoever did it is using the parts on another MR2. At least they're using the stuff and didn't waste the car the way the one recently stolen in Vallejo was. The things of value that I can think of are:

- SC engine and transaxle with Clutchmasters kevlar clutch and Fidanza flywheel
- refinished original SC wheels with the discontinued Potenza RE960AS tires
- SV3Power down pipe and muffler, heavily painted grey to prevent rust
- Nakamichi CD400 audio deck
- T-top roof panels
- tan interior

I travel a lot for work now, but I'll buy more MR2's once I buy a house in the US.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That Spot Trace thing looks pretty good. You could customize it to have onboard battery power and also some kind of solar panel and external charger to keep it topped up. The problem is the $99/year service contract. I'm fine paying $10/month for a SIM card with data to track a car, since it's low compared to insurance, registration, or other car-related expenses. But the way Spot Trace does it, they make you pay extra for additional features.

I was thinking of making a custom tracker using something like https://www.bluegiga.com/en-US/products/ble121lr-bluetooth-smart-long/ and http://freematics.com/

Imagine splicing the Freematics thing into your OBD-II connector and adding a Bluetooth module to have it upload data whenever within range of your phone or WiFi router. It's rare that your car is more than 100 yards from your home WiFi network or your mobile phone. Your phone could have an app that alerts you immediately when your car moves or if it stops receiving a heartbeat signal from the car. There wouldn't be a monthly subscription charge because it all works over WiFi or Bluetooth. And maybe there could be one of those $3/month T-Mobile SIM cards onboard so that if you decide the car is actually stolen, you can text the module to start spending $0.10 a minute on a phone call to give you live updates on where the car is. I'm confident that I could wire it up in a way that thieves wouldn't know it was there and wouldn't be able to disable the power.
 

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Sorry to resurrect an old(ish) thread.

The Spot Trace device uses simplex technology to communicate with the Globalstar satellite network.

The problems are - it won't work inside a metal building and since it is simplex technology it just spits out the message and then deletes it.
A duplex device will keep sending the message until the network confirms the message is received.

For a tracking application like this you don't need the (semi) global coverage of a satellite system - I'd go with a cellular (terrestrial) network.
 
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