1994 Toyota MR2 SW20 GTS
Stock Number: 4821
Toyota was dropping some serious bangers back in the '90s. By 1994 the SW20 had already made a name for itself after replacing the smaller, less powerful, AW11. While the stock bodylines have become quite legendary though there's always room for some improvement. Right off the bat, you're hard-pressed not to notice the particularly aggressive front end. The Border Racing front has a bit of a factory feel the way it cuts under the pop-ups while still having its own distinct flair. Bomex style side skirts flow into the rear spats that keep with the factory bodylines while adding a few extra style points. All of it flows rather well when you tie it together with the Rev 3 rear wing and tail lights. Finished in the ever classic Super White (040) is always a great choice. The paint has been kept in fantastic shape with only minimal blemishes from its 106K verified mile lifetime. The body reflects the same with only a few door dings, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 27-year-old car. To match the bodywork a set of white 16" Enkei wheels wrapped in fresh rubber have found their way underneath the Blitz Coilovers. The coilovers get the car down to a better ride height and let the 16's fill the wheel wells a bit better without having to sacrifice any day to day use. Being the 3rd revision to the lineup which meant some of the growing pains of the earlier models have been worked out. Most notably the suspension has been revised to eliminate the lift-off oversteer that the earlier models were known for.
The interior has been kept largely all stock, however, there are a few minor change-ups to note as it had some more modern equipment added. The wheel has been upgraded to a more sleek Nardi wheel that looks right at home. The same goes for the really nice, red-stitched, shift knob which feels great in the hand. Even the relatively new Carrozzeria head unit is working above and beyond what we would normally anticipate finding! This one actually goes up for 99FM which means it has considerably more reach here stateside than a typical JDM radio would have. It does also have a nice USB input on the front so you can always just stream music from your phone instead. When you think about it, most affordable performance cars have a tendency to cut corners on the interiors to save costs. Toyota took no part in that concept, so premium materials and storage can be found all around the cabin. When you bring up quality and how a car stands the test of time, a couple of indicators give away a lot. The dash is a big one since they're oh so often discolored and cracked, however, we don't have any of that in this MR2. The seats, just like the door cards, have aged particularly well. The soft black and gray cloth still sit tight taut on the doors and the seats have retained fantastic bolstering. There is a small bit of ruffling on the driver's side bolster along with a small spot that has been repaired which you can see in the photos. The work appears to have been right well done, so as long as you're not abusive to the seat it shouldn't be an issue to deal with down the road. These came with all of the power accessories of the day; one-touch driver's window, locks, folding mirrors, even an automatic climate control. While the climate control for the MR2 is still manually switched instead of the digital ones we see in other Toyota's it does alleviate one screen to fail over time which is a perk. Everything functions as it should which is a testament to how well Toyota did when it came to longevity over say a Nissan or Mitsubishi.
Mechanically the 3S-GTE also received a bit of an overhaul with the 3rd revision. Power was bumped up to 242 and the E153 5 speed received upgraded synchros to help smooth out the gearbox. The mid-mounted four-cylinder puts its power down to the rear wheels thanks to a Viscous LSD. The 3S-GTE power plant is notorious for its reliability and ability to make great horsepower right out of the box. The turbocharged four-cylinder has been kept largely stock which is typically a bit reassuring. The factory intercooler was replaced with a much beefier aluminum one with a full hard piping kit to ensure that charge temps are managed. To give the signature sound a real bump in tone a much larger Phoenix Power Departure catback. The tone is so much better than stock without being over the top. The only additional aftermarket support comes from the Cusco strut tower brace to help keep the mid-engine rocket ship stable in the turns. When you pair it up with the factory redesign and coilovers you have a serious canyon carver. These cars are quick, even by today's standards. The 5-speed transmission feels strong, and rows happily through the gears without any issues. Steering and handling are considered two of these models' best characteristics, and this particular one really does deliver. Since it lacks the T-tops, the interior has fewer squeaks and rattles as well as leak concerns. More importantly, though the chassis itself is more rigid and has a lower center of gravity. For the true enthusiast, it doesn't get much better than this Toyota. A reliable, turbo, mid-engine car is a rarity nowadays, but this one ticks all the boxes. A real turn-key Japanese Classic, this MR2 won't last long!
*California Residents: In order to register a Grey Market vehicle in the state of California then it will have to be made CARB complaint first. CARB certifications will have to be performed within the state. Depending on the vehicle and any existing modifications will affect the pricing. Typically CARB compliance will range between 5-10K. Additional information can be found on the California Air Resources Board website.