Toyota MR2 Mk1
What you need to know
Toyotas first take on the mid engined sportscar was a cracker. It had the two things you really want from a good sportscar, light weight and a brilliant engine. Find one thats been looked after (if you can) and you’ll be the owner of a future classic.
That the MR2 (or Midship Runabout 2 seater) came from a company like Toyota, whose mainstay was practical, economical family cars was a shock. At it’s release in 1984, the MR2 was the first mass produced mid engined car to come from Japan. It was rumoured that the original design came from Lotus’s stillborn M90 project. While the M90 used the same 4A-GE engine and 5 speed gearbox as the MR2, the Lotus car bears very little resemblence to the Toyota. Lotus did however have a hand in the design of the MR2′s suspension and handlling. Toyota also employed the services of Ex-F1 driver Dan Gurney to help develop the car.
The MR2 won high praise when it was released. The rev-happy 1.6 engine delivered enough power and the mid engined layout meant crisp sharp steering and excellent handling. 0-60 mph was dealt with in around 8 seconds which while not the fastest mid engined car around was pretty good. For a small mid engined car it was reasonably practical. A decent sized rear boot and a front stowage area meant good sized bags could be carried for a weeeknd away.
Very little chaged during the lifespan of the MR2. Amongst a re revisions, a T-Bar roof version was available from 1986 and in 1988 a more powerful (143bhp) supercharged version was introduced in Japan and the US.
Some cars are fearsome and deserve respect, some are just plain quick but a little bland. The Mk1 MR2 is a fun car. It makes you feel good. As soon as you set off down the road you just want to plant your foot in the carpet and chuck the car into a few corners just for fun. The chassis is sharp but benign, the non-asisted steering responsive (if a little heavy in town) and the gearchage slick, and on a good day, engine singing at 7500 rpm, you could almost convince yourself you were in a baby Ferrari. Well, almost.
Nick Challoners Mk1 MR2 Buyers guide
MR2 Wiki Mk1
club4ag.com Mr2 tuning guide
Otoreview Mk1 MR2 guide Very extensive guide
Ebay MR2 Specialist buyers guide
Pistonheads Shed Of The Week Mk1 MR2
Classic and performance Mk1 MR2 Specs
Michael Sheavills Mk1 MR2 site
MR2 Owners Club
MR2 Drivers Club UK
Autozine Classic Toyotas page
Retro Classics blog MR2 page
Bill Sherwoods Modifiying the 4A-GE page