Affectionately called the "Mister Two", Toyota's MR2 has become a desirable modern classic that offers open-top thrills, exotic car looks and the usual Toyota reliability.
Copy supplied by Toyota Germany
The car that would become the MR2 made its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show of 1983, a concept called the SV-3. It didn't take long to reach the production line, with the first MR2 (W10) actually reaching showrooms in the summer of 1984. Interestingly, MR2 stands for "midship engine, rear drive, 2-seater". Such was demand in Japan that the European market had to wait until the spring of 1985. The iconic, wedge-shaped sports car featured a 91kW mid-mounted engine.
Compact open-air cars were popular in German in the '80s, and so sun-hungry German customers were catered for by the Schwan body shop, which sold the mid-engined sportster as the MR2 Cabriolet in a small series with a removable roof insert without a central bar. Those who, on the other hand, preferred the trendy T-bar roof opening with two parts, could order this open-air configuration in Europe from model year 1987 - and in just 7.7 seconds find open-top driving fun, like an adrenaline-filled Toyota advertising campaign explained, who compared this time with the acceleration values of the fresh-air athlete.
The MR2 could already be entered in the history books as the best-selling Asian mid-engined sports car of all time when the second generation (W20) of the corner-hungry two-seater with classic rear-wheel drive arrived at German Toyota dealerships in July 1990.
Toyota MR2 chief designer Kunihiro Uchida chose softer shapes without sharp corners and edges for the new mid-engined runabout, smoothed in the wind tunnel and perfectly balanced in terms of weight distribution, making the MR2 a sporty trendsetter in organic bio-designs. In fact, the W20 boasted amazing longevity, and remained up-to-date for twelve years and was only replaced by the third MR2 (W30) generation in the new millennium. No other Toyota sports car has been produced for such a long period of time without major design modifications.
Today, the W20 MR2 is one of the newcomers to the club of recognized old-timers (in Europe), i.e. vehicles that are at least 30 years old in a technically perfect, original condition. The legendary reliability of this Japanese machine with up to 129 kW in Germany, was also evident in motorsport in the 1990s. There the Toyota MR2 even prevailed against the Ferrari F355 in Japanese touring car races and as a 147 kW turbo, the American street version beat the Ferrari Mondial in acceleration duels, which Toyota USA celebrated in advertisements.
The third edition of the MR2 (W30) arrived in a completely different form from spring 2000. "Mister Two" now presented itself as an inexpensive, purist roadster, 3.89 meters short and tipping the scales at 975 kilograms. So 103 kW was sufficient for strong acceleration and loads of driving fun.
You can look for a used Toyota MR2 for sale here.