1994 Toyota MR2 SW20
Toyota was dropping some real hits back in the '90s with the Celica, Supra, and MR2 being atop the list. No drivetrain configuration was out of the question and everything got boosted. I mean, what more could you ask for? In 1994 the SW20 had already made a name for itself after taking the place of the less powerful AW11. Now going into its third revision the GT-S model received several nice new touches. Now fitted with the more trademark rounded Kouki taillights that give a much cleaner look than the outgoing ones. Of course, this car has clearly not been left stock. A full Air Walker aero takes the already graceful lines and adds a touch of aggression. Since this is an FRP kit it doesn't line up as perfect as the factory panels did. Overall they line up nicely and have minimal issues, there are a couple of scuffs along the bottom and the side skirt vents from stones. Even the subtle touches like the Type B roof wing make a big impact. Almost as noteworthy as the carbon fiber print Ganador side view mirrors. To get the right ride height dialed in an exceptionally nice set of Ohlins Racing coilovers were fitted. The icing on the cake is the matching white 15" Volk TE-37s which are arguably the most versatile wheel ever produced. The Super White II (040) paint looks fantastic on the MR2. White cars are hard to come by in Japan, yet are consistently one of the best looking. Naturally, the paint and body do have some routine blemishes from its time on the road, but nothing aside from a few door dings and stone chips to report. One of thing to note, the original wing was removed and filled however if you catch the angle right you can see where the wing originally mounted. The wingless looks is very subjective, however, in our book we think it really nails the look of this one.
Moving into the fixed-roof coupe's cabin brings on a more race-inspired feel. Hunkering down into the fixed back Bride bucket seat you know this car means business. The leather-wrapped Nardi wheel is a great replacement for the clunky OEM one and feels great in the hand. The same can be said about the stainless Razo shift knob. The biggest change-up comes from the addition of a Safety 21 bolt-in cage. The cage was not routed through the dash which means you can remove it with minimal signs that it was ever there if you really wanted to. In order to fit the cage, some of the lesser interior trim pieces were removed. The one main piece that was removed was the glove box which is noted in the photos. A host of Defi gauges live atop the dash to keep a more accurate eye on vitals. Hooked up to a full Defi playback system you can track and record your boost level, water and oil temp, along with oil pressure. Despite its very race feel, all of the normal creature comforts are all still in place. These came with all of the power accessories of the day; windows, locks, automatic climate control, even the ganadors are powered.
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 it's 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. With only 97K verified miles we're only just getting started. The turbocharged four-cylinder has been kept largely stock 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 single exit Fujitsubo catback replaced the restrictive stock one. The only additional aftermarket support comes from the front and rear strut tower braces to help keep the mid-engine rocket ship stable in the turns. Like any 25-year-old car, it did need a few things to get it back into top shape. Starting off with four new tires, new rear wheel bearing, a trans flush with upgraded redline gear oil, running power to the Defi setup, and of course a fresh oil change. Getting everything back up to speed has this thing running like a dream. This car was certainly built with a track mentality than a highway commuter. The suspension, for instance, is stiff but streetable and the Bride bucket may not be for everyone. This is a car for someone who's looking to get out and have some fun on the backroad, or a weekend autocross, which is where this MR2 shines.
*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.