Your Heart Will Cry: An Abandoned MR2 In Tokyo

Tokyo never ceases to amaze me. You’d think that after years I might actually know the place, especially my local neighborhood, but then I end up finding little hidden streets, shortcuts or things I never even knew were there. It makes sense though; this place is so densely populated that if you try to get your head around it all you will overload your brain.

Yesterday afternoon, I was driving my in-laws back home after we’d spent the day celebrating my son’s first day in kindergarten, when the old man said “try taking a left here.”

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I must have driven past the turn that leads into this narrow street literally thousands of times, but for some reason I’d never scoped it out. As it turns out, it allows you to skip a few lights and thus knock a good minute off the journey. This is seriously valuable stuff, probably adding up to 100 to 120 minutes of extra time I’d potentially free up during the course of a year. That’s what an average movie runs for. Nuts! But what’s even more nuts is what I spotted along the way…

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If you’re like me you will be crying on the inside right now. The AW11 Toyota MR2 may not have been a supercar, but it was an honest, fun sports car from the beginning of Japan’s golden era of performance motoring, so it deserves some respect.

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Seeing one so weathered like this isn’t nice, but it did get me wondering – just long had it been sitting here?

The white exterior has lost all resemblance of shine; instead it has an almost opaque surface onto which moss has started to take over. Against the light, the thing almost looked furry!

The MR2 is parked up along a pretty dark side street that runs parallel with a canal, and with cherry trees blocking a lot of light the general area is probably a tad more humid and damp than an open space would be.

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If I had to take a wild guess at the last time the car was driven just by looking at the state of it, I’d have to say around 10 years ago.

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It’s not that I’m an expert in gauging moss build up on abandoned cars or anything, but more because the last time I saw a set of Bridgestone Potenza RE55Ss was around a decade ago. This was the performance tire of choice for a lot of tuner demo cars back in the day – including the Mine’s R34 GT-R V-spec N1 – and the Bridgestone model dates back to the late ’90s if I’m not mistaken.

The fact that the tires are mounted on Takechi Project Rally Hart wheels point to the AW11 at least being used properly in its lifetime.

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There’s even a selection of well-aged Castrol GTX oil tins sitting ‘protected’ under its rear bumper.

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And check out the HID driving lights. Maybe the owner used to like hitting mountain roads at night and needed the additional illumination.

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Like other cars that I’ve seen reduced to this state, the Toyota’s interior has become a storage area for miscellaneous things. Note the yellow center-position band on the steering wheel and the barely distinguishable driver’s bucket seat – more hints towards the car’s past.

It was at this point of my little walk-around that I noticed the car still had its last shaken (bi-yearly roadworthiness check) sticker on the windscreen. It ran out in March 2010, meaning it was tested – and therefore running – in March 2008, so I wasn’t too far off with my 10 year estimate.

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It pretty crazy how much a car can deteriorate when it’s out in the elements. I’d love to take this back to my house, wash it, then grab the Porter Cable and try to bring extract some shine out of the old paint. Now wouldn’t that be a cool project!

Maybe it’s been left like this because something serious happened, like the engine blew, or worse, for personal reasons. We’ll likely never find out, but you just can’t help but wonder…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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128 comments

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1

I like to have my first sports car and a collection. Find more abondoned sports cars in Japan.

2

Great Post remembering the forgotten.

3

AW11, Never Forget

Author4
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Nice way to put it

5
Matthew Everingham

Beautiful pics. Unexpected but awesome little story. :)

Author6
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Unexpected stuff is always the best!

7

Tokyo never ceases to amaze you, england never ceases to amaze me in the same way!

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Author8
Dino Dalle Carbonare

The dampness of the UK would make car melt! I think I still feel the UK's dampness in my bones, and I haven't lived there for 17 years

9

Man....what a treasure and it's all abandoned. Like left to the time to be eaten up, it's indeed a pity. Wish I had one like that, same condition and everything. I would turn it into a beast with a 3sgte swap and have some fun on the weekends. :)

10
Trs berlinetta

What a coincidence, there's an old AW11 MR2 near me.

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Author11
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Wow looks like the same car!

12

I wonder, is that alpine you spotted a while back still there?

Author13
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Haha you remember that! No, unfortunately it went shortly after I posted the story. I came so close to ringing the bell...

14

maybe you should have, seems like the owner was willing to sell ;) I'm off to trawl google and see if someone's popped up a build thread on an Alpine just recently haha!

15

That'd make for an awesome SH project car! How to restore an affordable (but probably won't be with the body work it'll need) 80s Japanese sports car! ...Or how turning it into a Rocket Bunny-kitted car? I see nothing wrong modifying something that's been sitting unloved for almost a decade!

Author16
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I'd love to do that!! Miura-san can go wild on it. Wonder if a transverse 2J would fit lol

17
Richard Clayderman

In Denmark, a P70 Starlet with a tubed front end to mount a 2JZ transversely:

http://www.engineswapdepot.com/?p=10132

My apologies as you've probably seen it - but what about a similar treatment to the rear of an MR2? A interesting project for a drag car. I hope you could launch it HARD. Of course there are plenty of options that would fit the shell as it is, but I'd like to see something like that wheeled out at Gatebil, even if it was unmanageable in anything but a straight line. Never say never.

18

I reckon a 2GR-FSE might.... and would be just as much fun!

19
Richard Clayderman

It does, and it is!

20
Cam Gullickson

You should actually try to clean it, it won't help much, but it would show the car a little love.

Author21
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I think it would be a bit weird if a big foreigner showed up with a bucket and sponge and started washing the car where it sits. I'd probably get arrested lol

22

"So why are you in jail?" Asks a fellow inmate. To which Dino replies "I was caught washing a strangers car."

23
Cam Gullickson

True

24

these are my favorite kind of speedhunter posts

Author25
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I love making these too, I should cycle around some neighbourhoods and see what I find!

26
Donovan Ashendorf

Feels like a Wangan-Midnight Devil Z find. Just looking at the photos, I feel attached to the car. I want to help it! Imagine the crazy things this car must of been through, just to end up like this.

27

Oil tins, because smoky ol' 4AG.

28
Keith Measures

You killed me Dino. As someone currently searching for an AW11, this crushed me good

Author29
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Come and salvage it. Ring the door bell...

30
Keith Measures

Someone wanna lend me 2000 for shipping?

31

I was about to buy beams 3sge for the 86 tomorrow but if you bring her back to full glory and let me drive it when it's done (as well as pay me back I might be able to cover your shipping). Kieth, where are you located.

32
Keith Measures

Ha! appreciate the offer my friend but I think it would be more trouble than it is worth

33

You should give it a second chance dino!

Author34
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I would, I'd just need extra space, time and a bit of money :D

35

Sell the GT-R and save this AW11.

36
Inspector Exacto

Fantastic find! Any chance you know the location so I can see if it's on Google Street View? I run JDM Street View Youtube/Facebook and this would make for a great video! Thanks :)

Author37
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Right by Tamagawa station

38
Inspector Exacto

Thanks! I'm going to see if I can find it.

39

Dino...i am disappointed i have scrolled that area for an hour now no luck.....on street view haha Mind posting up a screenshot of it on street view?

40

Dude, found it within 5 minutes after seeing Dino's reply
https://goo.gl/maps/vUZ8fRKrH4P2

But i am a pretty good google map stalker

41

I was saddened to see a lot of this sort of thing in Japan. FDs, Silvias, 240zs, rotting in backlots. People would pay thousands here just for a rolling body....

Author42
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I just saw an FC today! I wonder if I should stop by and shoot a quick shot of that as well haha

43

That'd be neat! This was a fairly "dramatic" post and it was very interesting to read and see.

44

Very cool little article and photos.

Author45
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Cheers Trevor!

46

I've seen worse... Like... A LOT worse :)
If you ever come back around Okazaki, I'll show you where they are...

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Author47
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Holy crap! Okazaki? Maybe Rocky Auto owns all of them haha

48

No, but Watanabe-san knows about them... He told me they've been abandonned for like 30 years... He would have bought and restored them, but they don't have paperwork, which is why he never bothered buying them. They are located 10 minutes drive from Rocky Auto, further in the mountains.

Author49
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Ah yeah makes sense. No paperwork makes stuff complicated. But that Kenmeri tho....WOW I'd keep the wheels too!

50

Yep, SSR Mk3, in original orange color, abandonned for 30 years :)
I'd take them too to be honest haha

51

Bad #4

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52

Oh this hurts my heart haha

53

Bad #3

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54

Bad #2

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55

You're too funny, Dino!

"New route saves 1 minute...then spends 10 minutes photographing car found on new route" LOL

Author56
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Hey every second counts! 10 min for a shoot like this is always worth it come on haha

57

This kind of stings as I let a blacktop 85 AW11 slip through my grasp only a few months ago - would love to take this off his hands and get her shaking loose again.

58

Such a shame to see such a nice car. Reminds me of an Alpine A310 that sits near my house. According to the license plates it sits there since 2001. Maybe I walk by this weekend to make some photo's of it.

Author59
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Please do! I've always had a soft spot for the A310. Did you ever see this that I posted a while back? It started the whole "Your Heart Will Cry" theme... http://www.speedhunters.com/2014/01/heart-will-cry/

60

My father owns an A110 1600SC... I sent him that article, eagerly waiting for his reaction :)

61

Very cool! I do have a soft spot for these french rockets. It would be a hard choice if i had to choose between an Alpine R5 or a A110/A310. I will email the pictures, when I have them

62

A certain manga comes to mind... Now we just need someone who would rescue the car!

63

way to few MR2s covered on SH, which is pretty sad for itself.

Author64
Dino Dalle Carbonare

You know, that's true! Maybe we should rectify this, mind you they are hard to find even in Japan!

65

Here it is! :D

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Author66
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Haha that's hilarious, you found it! Proper espionage shit going on here lol

67

Ta! :))

68

It does make my heart cry, actually. It was a random snap of an mr2 that made me find Speedhunters all those years ago.
http://www.speedhunters.com/2008/06/random_snap_gt_gt_mr2_on_equips/
This looks to be a Supercharger car as well, going by the vented engine cover. I need to save one of these before it's too late...

Author69
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Cool to hear how you found us :D

70

What a cool little post! I love things like this, finding things left for ages. If that AW11 was left for the same amount of time in the UK though it'll be so far rotten. Reminds me of a Wasbicar post. Keep up the good work Dino!

Author71
Dino Dalle Carbonare

It would be dust by now if it was the US haha. Glad you appreciate posts like these, best ones to put together

72

This story reminded me of a 944 Turbo that has been sitting at a now closed repair shop near my home for nearly 13 years. I've never seen it move from it's spot. Every attempt to save it from it's purgatory has been met with hesitation and laziness from the mechanic who owns it. So I guess this is where it will sit indefinitely.

73

This story reminded me of a 944 Turbo that has been sitting at a now closed service shop near my home. Every attempt I've made to save it from it's purgatory has been fruitless. The mechanic who owned the shop just doesn't want to go through the trouble of sourcing a new title for the car. So it sits. I've never seen it move from that spot in 13 years. I guess that's where it will stay.

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74

Could you guys (especially those living in Japan) please explain to me why the Japanese abandon cars like this? I see on various websites (like Wasabi cars etc) that there are lots of these kinds of abandon cars all around Japan. Why is that? and why wont owners of these cars sell them? Is it a case of wont sell to a Gaijin? or just wont sell....period?
Where im from (South Africa) we weren't very spoilt with a wide selection of Japanese performance cars (large Japanese manufacturer base here....but mostly family sedans, hatches etc....no performance stuff)...so ANY car like this or similar is saved/restored....no matter WHAT the condition!

Author75
Dino Dalle Carbonare

There could be so many reasons, hard to generalize. I'd say the reasons would be the same as if it was any other country.

76

Certainly wouldnt be like this where im from. This would A) have been vandalised B) Been bought by someone C ) Never allowed to get to that state cause we are a nation of serious petrol heads!!

77

Pretty cool little article.
I see the car, and some other things around that I think are cool. For one, I love how green it is out there. Another, the street is so smooth and clean with hardly any damage on it at all. Around here, we have harsh winters, so our roads get tons of damage. Pot holes, cracks, bad patch jobs, tar sealants. The repair jobs sometimes make the roads worse because they're so uneven.
The buildings look so clean too, and generally that whole area.
It's amazing to see a car that's been sitting for that long, and it hasn't been vandalized. If it was in the states, it probably would've been ransacked after sitting for a few weeks.

Author78
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Streets in Tokyo are indeed billiard smooth for the most part, especially the main ones. Go outside a bit and you do find crap like in every other countries. The ones I hate the most here are the ones that have heavy truck traffic and you can see the indentation the wheels leave behind so are all wavy and you tramline like crazy if you have fat front tires

79

Interesting.
We have roads that have sagged from the weight of trucks too. I remember when I had a lowered VW rabbit many years ago. I was just coming to a stop at a light and my cross brace underneath was scraping on the center. I ended up having to drive on top of the center and sides in sections like that.

80
Johnny Wuttrich

as a long time aw11 enthusiast it's very hard to see.. makes my heart cry. tell you what though the body apart from the passengers fender has held up quite well. oh to be able to save it....

Author81
Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's an 80's Toyota after all. Built like a tank

82

Lol You failed to explain how much registration and taxes are in Japan and especially a car over 14 years old have taxes. increased. So just to re register that car and you have to pay the back taxes on it. Yup that's 14 years worth. Not going to happen. Japan also requires you to car recycling fees. You can see all the Math ¥¥¥¥¥ ¥ adding up fast without even fixing the car.

Author83
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yes very true, but still if you use your brain you can still keep the car in tip top condition, put a car cover over it and wait till an ad on an export website yeilds a buy. Obviously something else has happened here, maybe the owner died and who's been left with it doesn't want to part with it yet.

84

A new car is never more than a note or a door knock away. At least, it's that way in the states, barring stubborn owners.

Author85
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Very true! I regret not asking about that Alpine a few years back ...

86
Jordan Robinson

Oh man it's supercharged too. That's even more of a bummer.

87

This car would be an Awesome project! 2AZ-FE with a E153 Turbo MR2 transmission.......... Saw a guy put a 2AZ in a SW20 chassis on a forum, and have heard of guys putting E153s in their Scions. Some boost & it would be a Great weekend track car.

Author88
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Damn you guys are killing me with this!! Stop putting these thoughts in my head! lol

89

Do it, I am that guy who put the 2AZ in the SW, pick up an E153 mount kit bolt a 2AZ to it and drop that into an AW with a turbo, its like a MK1.5 without all the added weight from the 3SGTE

90

Just another average car that likely needed a lot of work from the point it started sitting.. So you're crying on the inside. Will take the time to blog about it, but not do anything about it? Sounds like a bullshit post to me. Why don't you go to the junkyard and cry over the spilled milk there. Yeah, yeah. there's plenty of kids that would say the same crap over a honda civic. but brooo that ek would have been my dream project . Idk if an ek is even a car. who cares. Tens of thousands were made. If you really wanted one, it shouldnt take very long. Probably not as long as it took to make your post (or mine)

Author91
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Dear Chris, I don't own a charity that goes around salvaging abandoned cars. But maybe you should start one! How cool would that be? Tell you what, you come save this car and I'll do a post on that! How about it? hihi

92

I've done it to 2 cars before that had a chassis actually worth putting time and money into. I don't get upset at all the other cars at junk yards, and my heart never "cries" because of a decision someone else makes. That's called being a man and doing your own thing. If I see a good deal I'll take advantage of it. I'm not in the business of attempting to take other peoples dreams from them because I think I can do better with them. That would be selfish and ignorant.

How do you know the car is abandoned? How do you know there are no future plans for it? How do you know the mechanical state of the car? That's what a good car is about, not wheels and paint. Have you found who the owner is and talked to them? I bet their story of the past and future plans are more interesting than you whining over a completely average car sitting on their property.

So no. I won't go save cars that don't need to be saved. Maybe I should start a website for doing so.. Damn turns out there's already a website called craigslist that specializes in junk cars and low balling fuckery already. Wait... maybe having the balls to approach the owner with genuine intentions of wanting to do something with the car could do something... nah another dumb idea. I know! I'll post about it on my blog! That'll get things rolling! Looks like the owner has done nothing wrong but put his project on hold and have someone with no intentions of doing anything productive about it bash his decisions on an auto blog.

93

I always wonder how and why cars end up like this...
Dino was simply sharing something he found interesting.
Some find it cool. I don't care about MR2's personally, but hey to each there own.

I'll end with this, go fuck yourself Chris.

94

"go fuck yourself Chris"

Now that's something that's actually a challenge. Not the same can be said for finding a junk MR2.

"I always wonder how and why cars end up like this..."

It's not hard to imagine a dozen scenarios a completely average car would end up rotting away like this. Also if the cosmetic state of what is supposed to be a drivers car gets you sad, then you were never really into driving cars or the potential mechanical bliss this car could bring to begin with. Most people that really want a car for life and couldn't afford to keep it running would let it sit until they can deal with it rather than sell it to some punk that's going to try to low ball you while telling you how amazing it could be.

95

You make some good points Chris.

Have to apologize for the telling you to go fornicate with yourself.
I had an immature moment.

Anyways, it does irritate me when people let cars rot into nothing.
There was a 1970 Boss Mustang here locally that sat so long it eventually
became one with the ground. I knew of a few old guy's, that years ago attempted to
buy it and the owner claimed to "one day I am going to fix it back up"
That to me is a waste.

But again, to each there own.
Ultimately it is just a car.

96

Brilliant article. I love how you can extrapolate so much about a car's history simply by looking into the minor details. Great job Dino.

Author97
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thank you Mr. M5! :)

98

if i had the opportunity i would definitely snatch it up :(

Author99
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I'll leave a message in his PO box. If you want to sell mail me here ...

100

By the looks of the rear engine lid its a 4agze the supercharged hotrod! looks like when i found my aw11 shoved in a corner of a shop for 15 yrs imported from Hawaii with busted tps and a few intercooler couplers. best 800 dollars ever.

101

Its the supercharged version as well, at least the engine lid. Would love some of the rare parts from this in my aw11 build here in Norway.

102
Reinaldo Gonzalez

i know i shouldn't open this post :( one of my favorite Toyota cars

Author103
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Box of tissues?

104
Reinaldo Gonzalez

as any speed hunter i can just imagine it being raced, which for me is the beautiest way to dismiss a car, in all the glory of an autosport.

105

One would think, because of how perfectly it fits the space that it occupies, that the little MR2 has become more decoration than derogation (sniff!).

106

I thought a car in that condition would have been towed, especially in Tokyo.
Even in American suburbia cars with all flat tires in a driveway get a citation.

Author107
Dino Dalle Carbonare

It's parked on private property, they can't take your stuff away just because you don't look after it.

108

Great article:) I have seen many like this in my travels, good to know that I am not the only one who thinks this way.

109

Definitely a heartbreaker. Glad I have mine. Maybe its a vehicle people need to drive to fall in love with, I can't explain it.

Toyota will never make another car like this.

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110

Toyota will never make another car like this? Nobody will ever make another car like this. Boxy cars are dead, and lightweight cars are dead. You might see some semi-exotic lightweight MR cars in the future, but they'll never be cheap and mass produced.

Author111
Dino Dalle Carbonare

I've never actually driven one! SW20 a couple but never its predecessor. How are they?

112

They're soothing. And terrifying.

These cars, unmodified anyway, move with all the smoothness, softness, and slowness of a Corolla. With incredibly heavy steering and massive oversteer at normal-people speeds.

I'm still kicking myself for not buying the best one I've ever seen a few years back, in Roseville CA. $5000 seemed like a lot of money back then, for a car older than me. $47k later, I'm still immensely jealous of anyone who has found a good W10.

113
Automotive obsession

Picking up an AMG Edition One! https://youtu.be/JFu5lUcXo_A

114

I sense some Wasabicars in this article. Something along the lines that Daniel would post.

115

Great story. Poor thing :(

116

Hey Dino,
Cool (yet sad) article. I'm sure you know about tyre dates? Another good way to get a vague idea of abandonment times! The four stamped numbers (XXYY) are week (XX) and year (YY). This one would be 8th week of 2006!

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117

This sadly reminds me of my days as a Sheriff Explorer back in my teenage years. We were out paint balling when we crossed over to another farmers field and close to his house he had a rusting away Kharmann Ghia Convertible.... my friends and I begged him to sell it to us and he refused. Months later when we went back out for another round of paint balling.. we decided to yet again try the farmer and out luck. Sadly, the field it was in had caught fire and the car was a charred hulk.

118

I am a personal fan of the MR-2 midship and my oh my does this not only warm, but break my heart. The wheel and bucket seat along with the fog lights shows that this car was used for its original build purpose, to thrash on the track(or mountain road hehe) and this car has seen some action but now seems to be retired from is old life leaving people to look at it and imagine what kinds of stories that bucket seat holds. I'm very interested in seeing stuff like this maybe around my area now! Much love coming from Central AZ. <3

119

Great post , love to read how a familiair place keeps supricing .
I just made my way out of Kawaguchico ( Mt Fuji ) and while i just read your post my eyes saw this aw11 infront of a house !
Also verry sad to see .

Gr.

Jordy

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120

I was in Tokyo this day (April 5)! I love this city :)

121

It's probably the most iconic picture I taken in this county :)

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122

New SH project, Dino san?

123

Start a SH Gofundme page for rescuing abandoned machinery like this. I would support on one condition... Fans get ride-alongs

124

Bet that 4AGE will still turn over with some starter fluid a fresh battery and clean fuel!

125

And what are you going to do to bring such a JDM classic back to life??

126
Shaun Anthony McCarthy

It's kind of beautiful in it's current state.
Also somewhat of a Time capsule. Plus you can see how the side shit was trapped together and other little touches of use.
Restoring it would also erase it's visable history.

127

great article

128

Looks like a legend used to drive that legendary car lol. Love the 1st gens!

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