The Toyota MR2, a special sports fan from Japan

Toyota MR2

So the Toyota MR2. And when she heard that indication the BX driving director had to smile on the course of the Alliance Française. “That is never possible in France. There the abbreviation sounds like 'Merde', so shit ”.

That problem was prevented by offering the Toyota on the French markets already 'MR'. The British saw it as much friendlier, they called the Toyota 'mister Two'. By the way, Rolls Royce once fell into the same naming trap. For the Germans, the idea of ​​driving in a Silver Mist sub was optimal. Because 'Mist' is the same in German as 'Merde' is in French.

There was some uncertainty

Another kind of problem for the MR2 was that people were convinced that the development and design of this fast Japanese was done by Lotus after which Toyota would have taken over the fun package. Of the Lotus M90 project that was then referred to, only one was made, after which Lotus was also bought out by GM. The Toyota MR2 was a real Japanese development. But Toyota did get advice from Lotus developer Roger Becker when designing the chassis. The chassis and the mid-engine made the Toyota - somewhat short through the bend, but still - compared to the sports cars from the highest segment.

Built like an exot

The fact that the MR2 had a middle engine, that was actually grown organically in the early design phase. From those basic sketches for 'a nice and economical car' the car began to evolve into a real sports car, and after prototyping and a lot of testing (also on circuits) he was therefore named MR2. That of course meant something like 'Midship Runabout, 2 seater'. Later it became 'Mid-engine, Rear-wheel drive, 2 seater'. But that didn't change the lettering. The slender two-seater was more than 200 km / h fast.

The MR2 was not a sensible Japanese middle class

And at a time when Japan was known as a supplier of 'very sensible cars', the MR2 was suddenly a sort of local clearance. Because the car was certainly not 'sensible'. No whole family could go in, the luggage space was minimal and the home delivery was about the same size as an 2 Euro coin. But the thing went like the fire department and sent razor sharp. The speed came because of the very good weight distribution, the high-quality chassis and the 1587 cc four-cylinder sixteen valve with two timing belt-driven overhead camshafts.

Bosch electronics

Equipped with Bosch L-Jetronic injection and electronic ignition, that block (in the European version) supplied 124 pk. This engine was also the first massage produced 4 valves / cylinder engine and did the nicest things with the - empty - but just 1.000 kilo weighing Toyota. For 1986, the most important change was that the MR2 was given a T-top roof for even more driving pleasure. 1987 Was the year of birth of the MR2 equipped with a compressor where the machine breathed in via an intercooler. Unfortunately, this car was not officially delivered in Europe.

Now wanted

In the meantime, it is not obvious to score a nice and good one for the famous 'little'. The MR2 is such a unique appearance that after the first road tests it was already shouted that "this car would be a wanted classic over 20-25 years". Whose deed…

Consider when purchasing prices between € 2.000-2.500 for a project and amounts between € 6.000-10.000 for the better work.

Worth restoring


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  1. I have strong doubts about the claim that the electronics came from Bosch. I think it was all Denso with these cars. Have 5 4AGE ECUs from various Toyotas in the basement and none of them have any Bosch logos.

  2. @ PeterU: As always there are stupid sgreivvaudten in the lyrics hahah ...

    But hey… I am no longer allowed to whine about it….

    Such a Bucket is a great cart!

    This is the first AW11-type, I myself once was allowed to own the new model, the SW20….

    1 of my coolest cars ever….

    With every turn the smile on your mouth got bigger and you felt your Schumacher !!

    Vandeweek saw a red AW11 without rear bumper on one of the scrap yards on the Haarlemmerliede, it hurt me very much to see it there and I have the silent hope that someone (perhaps because of my tip ?!) will save that thing from z ' n scrap-dead….
    Unfortunately I can't pick it up myself, otherwise I would have done it….

    If I ever run into one of those slender bodies again, it will happen again as far as I'm concerned and it will become my toy….

    The last model (with the 'Porsche 911'-nose, I find a lot less fun than the 1st and 2nd types….
    Is not a mid-engine car anymore unfortunately ...

    • The mk3 , the pseudo porsche was a model back to the roots . The mk 2 was too heavy, too big. The 3, with mid-engine, had the driveability again as it was once intended.

  3. Nice sports car and a lot more affordable than a Porsche or Italian exotic.

    By the way: it says in the text: massage produced… (penultimate paragraph)

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