The cars we loved.
The MR2 was Toyota’s 2 seat mid-engine rear wheel drive sports car. First introduced in 1984 as a boxy wedge-shaped supercharged coupe. The popularity of the MR2 continued into the second generation introduced in 1989. The new MR2 was larger and like the Pontaic Fero it outlasted, got its design inspiration from Ferrari (and maybe the Fiero itself). The smooth lines of the MR2 did evoke Ferrari 348tb like style without the maintainance hassles and extreme high costs. Many body kit makers cashed in with sometimes gaudy kits to make your MR2 as Ferrari like as possible without actually being one. Often the results were horrific.
fortunately, many would be tuners left the core mechanicals alone. There were three variations of the MR2, usually denoted by turbo or non turbo and t-bar roof. All US bound MR2 cars came with a 2.0 L. 4 cylinder DOHC engine. In its naturally aspirated form it produced 130 hp initially while the turbo made 200 hp. The MR2’s design and technical specifications made it a bit more advanced than many of its competitors. It was also more expensive. Its light weight and mid-engine design insured balanced handling and good engine response. All of which put it at the top of the dwindling affordable mid-engine sports car heap.
1995 was the last year the second generation was available in North America. The car went on in Europe and Asia where it stayed popular. In 1998 Toyota offered a one off factory kit that made the now smoother looking MR2 appear wider and more Supra-like. The car called the TRD2000GT was inspired by the Japanese GT-C racing series. Theses very rare cars were boosted to 493 horsepower, making them supercars in the leauge with Porsches and Ferraris. Only three were sent to Europe and 10 to America. It’s not known how many total TRD2000GT were produced. The TRD special edition only whetted the publics appetite for the upcoming Porsche Boxter inspired MR2 that arrived in 2000. They must have been dissapointed, because it was canceled just four years later.