Mid-engined, Turbocharged, rear-wheel drive. If it was painted red it could be mistaken as a discounted Ferrari, but it is not, it’s even better!
Now you might wonder why I would bring the prancing horse into this conversation but hear me out.
You see back in the early 80s Toyota released the first gen Mr2 – consequently creating Japan’s first mid-engined sports car. A tiny two-seater with a happy revving little 1.6 4-cylinder providing a ton of fun without breaking the bank – or itself.
Making a great car even better
Initially, Christos enjoyed the car with a very basic setup, you already know it, the three wizards of bolts on. cold air intake, cat back exhaust and a tune. Despite the 3sgte running happy for a while it eventually got tired
Tired to the level that the rear windscreen got covered in oil, and smoke everywhere and before you know it the engine was out of there and getting ready for an overhaul.
The car went under the knife at Nikki’s garage Larnaca and had a list of goodies thrown at it. More like a whole catalogue to be fair, you can find the full spec list at the end. For now, let’s just say the engine has a forged bottom end and built head with goodies from Wiseco, power division and HKS to name a few.
Sitting on a twin scroll Soara performance manifold with a T4 flange is a Garret gtx 3076R hybrid with an ATP Exhaust housing. Paired with a pair of 40mm Turbo smart external gates, it brings all the right turbo noises inside the cabin.
Speaking of a noise a departure exhaust system takes care of the rest. A rare JDM piece that is worth every penny.
With an increase in power an increase in appetite in to be expected, thus 1000cc injector dynamics being backed by an external 044 Bosch fuel pump utilizing a surge tank are responsible for keeping the Toyota well-fed. Lastly, the powerhouse is controlled by a LINK G4+ ECU
On the cooler side of things, a mishimoto two row radiator keeps things cool whilst a TCS custom intercooler keeps the intake temps in place.
One thing I noticed once we parked the car was the hot air coming blowing out of the engine bay. To help relieve the engine bay from heat-sink Christos made a custom extractor setup using a pair of mishimoto fans.
Transferring all that power to the factory 5 speed gearbox is a custom twin plate OS-Giken clutch kit. Which coupled with a TRD short shifter make changing gears an absolute pleasure.
Form and function
Straight out of the bat you can see that this car speaks function. A ride height that allows proper suspension travel resting on some meaty glorious looking WORK Meister’s S1r. The two-piece wheels finished in a Titanium ash grey measure at 17×7.5 inch upfront and 17×9 inch in the rear.
Wrapped around in nankang ns2r semi slicks sized at 205/40 and 255/40 they provide plenty of grip for some spirited driving.
Nothing transforms better the way a car handles from a proper suspension setup. In this case a Tein flex z 3-way adjustable suspension setup takes care of the dynamics of the vehicle. Whilst a CUSCO strut brake and an X brace help tighten the chassis.
Going and turning fast is a good start, but also breaking fast can be useful sometimes. Upgraded m-tec rotors and DIXCEL brake pads make sure this good looking MR2 stops as good as it goes.
Speaking of looks, the owner opted for an OEM+ style. And frankly I think it’s the best for a car with these kinds of lines.
I really miss the era when pedestrian safety was irrelevant and aesthetics along with aerodynamics ruled the game. Other than factory Kouki taillights the MR2 is completely stock on the exterior-along with the original paintwork! It simply looked THAT good from the factory.
Considering my height, (1.91m) There was plenty of space in the interior which looks tight to be honest from the outside!
Spacious but still 100% driver oriented. With the owners’ additions of a momo steering wheel & hub and a razor weighted shifter it also provides 100% pleasure to that driver.
Other than that, the interior is kept in a factory mint condition! A defi screen zd keeps an eye out for all the vitals such as oil/water pressure, temperature and is paired with a defi boost gauge to keep an eye out on the fun-meter.
Speaking of boost is controlled by some proper 90s memorabilia a Blitz sbc with the proper timer too. Talk about a throwback!
One of Toyota's underestimated gems
The headline of this chapter basically sums up my feeling for the Toyota Mr2. A great car that did not get the recognition it deserved. Nevertheless props to people like Christos that appreciate lesser known models!
engine spec list :
Rods – zrp
Acl race bearings
Head/bottom studs ARP
Conrods ARP all bolts
Headgasket HKS stock height
Camshafts power division 268/13 lift S2
Manley intake and exhaust valves
Retainers and springs power division
Adjustable camshafts pulleys
Injectors id 1000cc
Fuel Rail fensport
Blow off turbosmart