It’s hard to believe that a month prior to Nostalgic 2 Days, this AW11 Toyota MR2 was at N’s Work in Gifu-ken a different color on the outside and stripped down to the bare metal on the inside.
It’s also amazing what a few weeks’ worth of hard work can achieve.
I don’t know if it was the finely polished metallic burgundy paint color chosen for the restoration, or the unescapable lure of Japanese modern classics that attracted me to the car, but it stood out like a sore thumb among the usual suspects at this annual show.
After sharing that abandoned AW11 with you guys a few years back (it’s still sitting there by the way), I’ve always imagined what I’d do if I could rescue it and give it back the life it so deserves. Well, what I’d come up with wouldn’t be too different from what you see here.
The interior was the last to be fitted in after the rebuild, and it’s quite cool to see that things have been kept simple and stock, right down to the mid-1980s plush seats.
This is the ‘Super Charger’ version, which had a slightly different tachometer featuring a highlighted redline zone.
The factory-fitted 4A-GZE was treated to a refresh, which included a custom-painted ‘Midship Runabout’ eagle logo on the center of the intercooler core.
With 145hp on tap from the blown four cylinder engine, the lightweight MR2 was a recipe for some proper fun. These cars were all about weight transfer, juggling that sharp front end bite with an adjustable rear end which could – and would – bite back in a split second if you pushed it too far.
The suspension of choice is a set of adjustable BC coilovers at each corner.
Let your ’80s dreams flow. What would you do if you had to restore an AW11?
Dino Dalle Carbonare