I recieved a gen 3 shift lever in the post today and was able to compare them side by side:
The ONLY difference between 3rd gen and first gen shifters is in LENGTH .
Many many many times I have been told or have seen on the internet that the geometry changed to give shorter shifts. This is completely incorrect.
ALL factory mr2 levers move through the same angle from first-second gear.
The good news:
If you want gen 3 length shifts but dont want to fork out for a gen 3 lever- cut down your gen 1 and use a knob that secures with set screws ( you will loose the threaded portion of your lever). I cut mine down a few months ago and was very happy with the improvement.
I'd been waiting for my gen 3 lever to arrive for 2 days and was a little :-( when I realised that I wouldnt actually be enjoying shorter shifts upon putting it all back together. So I put the Gen 3 back into its box ( going onto TM for all you boring folk) and proceeded to hack up my gen 1.
I took a cut off wheel and removed the top cable attachment tab from the lever. The tab was then clamped back onto the shaft 10-15 mm HIGHER than before and I welded it back into place.
I now have to pull the shifter about 2" back from first to hit second and shifting is not noticeably harder than it was before either.
So basically. Dont waste your money on a short shift kit unless you NEED to secure your knob on a threaded lever. Cut it down and find someone who knows how to weld.
firstname.lastname@example.org for questions/input