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THE-LOWDOWN Feature Car – Toyota MR2

STATUS QUO

 

What started as a design experiment gave rise to a JDM classic – the Toyota MR2.

As with many JDM legends, the MR2’s story starts with the pursuit of redefining what a good car is, challenging the status quo.

In 1979, Toyota’s lead designer Akio Yoshida was looking for the perfect blend of fuel economy and unencumbered driving pleasure. After experimenting with several options, he landed on what became the first-generation MR2 – Japan’s first mid-engine, compact sports car.

Powered by the 4A-GE engine, the MR2 took on the exotics of its time, for a lower price and improved reliability. Alongside the Celica and Supra, the MR2 formed a mighty trinity for Toyota – earning their place in the hearts of enthusiasts worldwide.

Building on the success of the first-generation MR2, Toyota released the second-generation in 1989, arguably the most memorable model. 

Choo, the owner of this example, brings two, very different, worlds of car culture together with his stunning MR2.

TWO WORLDS COMING TOGETHER

 

Choo’s journey with MR2s started as a teenager while he was working on several builds for his customers.  He fell in love with the MR2’s unique aesthetic characteristics as well as the refined driving experience.

Thailand is a car-loving country by culture and its aftermarket scene is even more flamboyant – a single look and the appreciation for JDM is clear. Having lived in Sydney for several years now, Choo has picked up on the nuances of Australian car culture where things have to be “nice and tidy” and he has clearly taken this to heart with his MR2.

Coming from a professional background, Choo had a very clear vision for his MR2 when he purchased it – the goal was to make clean visual upgrades with a strong focus on performance.

“30 YEARS ON, TOYOTA’S MR2 STILL HOLDS A DISTINCTLY UNIQUE CHARACTER. IT TRULY IS A TIMELESS CAR.”

Owner Spotlight

PIECING IT TOGETHER

 

Choo’s build started with a very unique body kit and it’s something that creates a lot of intrigue amongst viewers on the internet – it’s the only body kit of its kind in Australia. Originally created by The Finest Autoworks in the United States, Choo got in touch with them and had the kit, comprising of various brands, sent over to Australia.

Moving onto the performance upgrades, Choo’s MR2 is fitted with a plethora of parts that take it to the next level. The second-generation MR2’s turbocharged engine was already a big hit, outperforming several of its competitors – to up the ante, Choo has fitted a CT20 turbo along with the Haltech Elite 2500 ECU, Walbro 460 fuel pump, and more.

Amplifying the sounds of the turbocharged 3S-GTE engine is a full titanium exhaust, accented by HKS Blowoff Valves. The MR2 sits low on a set of BC Coilovers and TE37 V2 Volk Racing wheels by Rays Engineering wrapped in Yokohama’s AD08Rs.

 Consolidating the build, Choo’s MR2 is painted in a cool, understated shade of red.

PIECING IT TOGETHER

 

Choo’s build started with a very unique body kit and it’s something that creates a lot of intrigue amongst viewers on the internet – it’s the only body kit of its kind in Australia. Originally created by The Finest Autoworks in the United States, Choo got in touch with them and had the kit, comprising of various brands, sent over to Australia.

Moving onto the performance upgrades, Choo’s MR2 is fitted with a plethora of parts that take it to the next level. The second-generation MR2’s turbocharged engine was already a big hit, outperforming several of its competitors – to up the ante, Choo has fitted a CT20 turbo along with the Haltech Elite 2500 ECU, Walbro 460 fuel pump, and more.

Amplifying the sounds of the turbocharged 3S-GTE engine is a full titanium exhaust, accented by HKS Blowoff Valves. The MR2 sits low on a set of BC Coilovers and TE37 V2 Volk Racing wheels by Rays Engineering wrapped in Yokohama’s AD08Rs.

Consolidating the build, Choo’s MR2 is painted in a cool, understated shade of red.

WATCH THE FEATURE:

WIDEBODY TOYOTA MR2

Notations and Thanks

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

 

Choo’s hard work has resulted in a car that pays homage to the legacy of the MR2 by building on some of its iconic features, namely the turbocharged engine and futuristic design.

The upgraded turbo, amongst the several other performance upgrades, brings out the best in the 3S-GTE. Alongside, the rare and unique body kit combined with the paint job elevates Toyota’s iconic design. This MR2 has aged ever so gracefully and can confidently go head-to-head with the designs of some of the more contemporary sports cars.

As with most successful projects, setbacks are a part of the equation. Although Choo’s journey has been relatively straightforward because he, with the help of his friend Mai, built most of the car himself which requires an incredible amount of dedication and patience. Other than that, he did run into issues with a supplier in the United States that ran into legal trouble, leaving Choo with an unfinished build for a period of time but he was able to complete his project in a year.

A ‘90S ICON

 

Although Choo is more than happy with his MR2, he does have his eyes set on the GTX3071R turbocharger to squeeze a few more horses out of the glorious engine.

He also plans on installing a roll cage and vents for the bonnet from Lotus – an interesting choice considering the fact that Lotus had a lot to do with the success of the first-generation MR2. Toyota’s collaboration with Lotus resulted in improved suspension and handling, and the borrowing of a few design cues.

Choo’s Toyota MR2 is a blend of tasteful upgrades that brings a timeless, 30-year old legend to the streets of the 21st century.

“COSMETICALLY, THE CAR IS WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE. UP NEXT, THE FOCUS WILL BE ON POWER AND A ROLL CAGE.”

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