Would you agree with me when I say that the first generation Toyota MR2 is one of the more under-appreciated Japanese sports cars of the 1980s? When the car was first released in 1984 it was a pretty big deal – an affordable mid-engined Toyota sports car with a high revving twin cam motor, but in modern times the AW11 has taken a backseat to its front-engined cousin the AE86 in terms of popularity.
It’s hard to say why, but clean, inspiring examples of the early MR2 are few and far between these days. That’s why I had a big smile on my face when I saw this particular AW11 pop up in the #FeatureThis inbox.
This 1987 MR2 is owned by Ross from Melbourne, Australia and he’s been continually upgrading the car since he took ownership at age 18 back in 2006. The mid-engined Toyota has been his daily driver to school and work – and it now has over 400,000 kilometers on it.
You couldn’t tell by looking at the car though. In Ross’ own words he loves the MR2 “just a little too much”. He also says that every modification on the car was done with the simple goal of making him smile.
Yet with all the work Ross has done to the car, he’s added nothing that detracts from those original MR2 qualities that won him over six years ago. The engine for example is still the original 16-valve 4AGE, but it’s been rebuilt and balanced with high compression pistons and Tomei cams. He’s also added a T3 intake manifold with AE101 throttles and a Haltech Sprint 500 ECU, among other things.
Other upgrades Ross has done on the car over the years include a Quaife helical LSD, Quaife steering rack, BC BR coilovers, and polyurethane bushings throughout.
The wheels are Work Meister CR01s, 15×7.5 in the front and 15×8.5 in the rear with +29 offset all around. Bridgestone Potenza RE002s add the right amount of grip at each corner.
Inside, the factory seats have been replaced with a pair of period correct Recaro LX-Cs with custom plaid upholstery.
For a street-going MR2 I have to say that it really doesn’t get better.
Thanks for sharing your pride and joy with us, Ross.
If you have a cool car or build story that you think is worthy of being featured on Speedhunters, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . Please make sure to include your name and location, as well as some basic details and specs, along with at least 5-10 photographs. Photos should be no less than 800 pixels wide and in .JPG format.
Of course you can also join in by using the #FeatureThis hashtag on your favorite social media service and keep track of what’s happening in the #FeatureThis department by visiting http://featurethis.dev.speedhunters.com/ .
LOVE that license plate! This fella needs a shirt:http://gearheadshirts.com/products/368432-toyota-mr2-aw11-shirt
I forgot to comment at the time, but thanks a heap for posting this - i really appreciate it!
Thanks to everyone else for the kind comments too..!
Wow! Looks perfect! Mine is almost ready, but there´s still some work to do in the interior :)
Some more pics:
Looks awesome :-) Love the representation! Here's mine: http://www.toymods.org.au/forums/showthread.php?t=33736
Love this MR2!!!
@Mike Garrett, just you wait til my AW11 gets done with it's LSD install; I've got a flared body with 20v blacktop swap and a whole host of other goodies to show off pretty soon! Here's a sample:
i love my adub so far have sprnt 14k on my car and not even half done with it.
The MK1 still looks modern on today's roads! ^GB RT @jdmattire: That. Is. Gorgeous. http://t.co/fMPO64w0 @DannyFChen @ToyotaPR @ToyotaTuner
My aw11 was by far the most fun/favorite car i ever owned... It was just fun to drive ALL the time.. even though it was rusted to shit, falling apart.. i loved it dearly.. :(
While styling is subjective, the quality and thoughtful care taken on the mods is applaudable. This was a great feature guys. Hope to see more cars of this caliber.
First mr2 was rough sketch, second one was much better, but the third ............ Why they made it ?
Those first gen MR2s were built purely for fun. You can tell by the original TV commercial that Toyota didn't take them too seriously.
And to think that I have one of these in my garage, sitting on jacks because of some electrical problems, and that I don't even have to time to fix it...
I guess I will try to spare some time now, this awesome build pumped me up.
Nice! Thar car looks like its in better than new condition. I've wondered too why these aren't as popular. Especially when the lines are so clean. I like the visor in the back that reflects "Toyota" on the rear windscreen on these cars...genius.
man those seats were a factory option back then great stuff hope my AW11 looks as clean as this one day
why do clean, single-stage red, late 80's sportboxes make me all warm and fuzzy inside...and what a beautifully maintained example this is.
i'm going to hug my rx7 when i get home!
Totally rad and pure JDM....gr8 Mister2 Ross...I own a Supercharged 86 MR2...Hope one day im featured on speedhunters..dont mind the Haters!...your ride makes you happy and thats what building a car is suppose to do....its in the details!
I've lusted over this car for a while and hope to see it in the flesh one day soon!
Nice one Ross. Hope I contributed to the suggestion to submit to #FeatureThis
You did smart things with the car indeed and though MR2 1st gen is a little TOO boxy to my taste, I pretty much enjoy looking at it. I mean, yours is so complete from any angle. =) Thanks for sharing this rare car.
Go Ross! I'll have to give you one of my spare speedhunters stickers to put on your dash (if there isn't one already) Top stuff man, long live the adub!
For the perfect one see this...
Wow... Really nice job on that. I really like it, I've not been too much a fan of the super-boxy shape of the first-gen mister 2's, but this one might be changing my mind. Thing must sound great too.