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History of MR2 2nd Gen Empty

    History of MR2 2nd Gen


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    Registration date : 2009-03-15
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    History of MR2 2nd Gen Empty History of MR2 2nd Gen

    Post  SMP-VP on Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:36 pm

    The MR2 went through a complete redesign in 1989, when the new Mark II body was produced. No 1990 MR2s were produced for North America. The new MR2, designated SW20 (in America the chassis codes were SW22 for the turbocharged model and SW21 for the naturally-aspirated model), was longer, wider and heavier than its predecessor and had smoother bodylines. While the AW11 was a pure sports car, made in the spirit of Lotus, the SW20, being quite larger, could be classed as a GT-car. Since the resemblance between the Ferrari 348tb and the Ferrari F355 and the new MR2 was quite striking, the SW20 is sometimes referred to as a "poor man's Ferrari"; many enthusiastic MR2 owners have turned around the phrase to read "a Ferrari is a rich man's MR2." Indeed, many bodykits became available to make the SW20 imitate the Ferrari F355 with, sometimes, almost indistinguishable results.

    When the SW20 went on sale in spring 1989, it was offered with three different engine choices depending on the market area. All engines were 1998 cc I4 engines with DOHC and 16 valves, excluding the naturally-aspirated US model which used the 2164 cc 5S-FE engine. The most powerful engine was the turbocharged 3S-GTE, which was available in Japan at 260 PS (256 hp/191 kW) (as the MR2 GT) and the USA at 200 horsepower (150 kW) (as the MR2 Turbo). Europeans had to settle for the naturally-aspirated 156 horsepower (116 kW) 3S-GE or the 118 horsepower (88 kW) 3S-FE engine. The Japanese MR2 GT model was able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 5.6 s.

    Keeping with the unique styling cues of the MK-I, the MK-II was offered with several choices of roof type for U.S. sale. Standard in the line up was a hardtop coupé. Optionally the car could be ordered with either a T-top roof (commonly referred to as the T-bar option) or a moon roof option. The SW20's entry to the market was not quite as smooth as the AW11's. The vehicles handling proved difficult for inexperienced drivers as it was prone to sudden oversteer (also called "snap oversteer") which can result in a spin unless the driver reacts both quickly and correctly. This trait was not considered desirable among the press, because the MR2, unlike expensive sports cars, was priced so that even "average people" were able to buy one. Some magazines stated that the SW20 was downright dangerous to drive.

    To respond to the feedback they had received, Toyota changed the 1993 model to include wider rear tires and changed the rear suspension, so that the car would be less prone to "snap oversteer".

    The next big change occurred in late 1993, when Japanese SW20s received some small new engine mods for each model. A slightly smaller CT20b turbocharger replaced the CT26 unit, however the CT20b provided better flow and allowed an increase in power. The Japanese market 3S-GE was upgraded to 180 PS (178 hp/132 kW), and 3S-GTE upgraded to 245 PS (242 hp/180 kW). New round tail-lights and a color-coded center panel replaced the old square-shaped lights and the rear grille. The original three-piece rear spoiler was replaced with the lighter one-piece spoiler which attached only to the trunklid. The side stripes and skirts were also color coded, and the "dot matrix" edge pattern on the glass was replaced with a solid pattern. The bottom lip on front bumper was also replaced with a slightly bigger piece that although minor, provided an improved front end look to the car. The steering wheel was also replaced with a slightly smaller model, now universally shared across many Toyota models (the "MR2" insignia was replaced with the Toyota symbol). 1995 was the last year Toyota sold the Mk II in North America. In 1996, the front and side signals were changed to use a clear lens but no other modifications were made. The 1998 model, known as the "Revision 5" model, came with more modern looking five spoke 15" alloy wheels, a more aggressive spoiler, and a leather shift knob with red stitching. While the turbocharged engine remained the same, in JDM models the normally aspirated 3S-GE engine was equipped with Toyota's VVT-i system which allowed the timing of the intake camshafts to be modified according to the engine's rotation speed and load.

    The SW20 has become a popular collector's car since the 2004 Ultimate Street Car Challenge win of Brad Bedell [3] and his yellow V6 supercharged MR2. The 1MZ-FE motor, that comes from the V6 powered Solara and Camry, has quickly become a popular modification as the expense of switching to the V6 motor is roughly in line with installing a turbocharged motor into a formerly naturally aspirated car.

    [edit] SW20 TRD2000GT

    In 1998, Toyota Racing Development offered an official kit body conversion and tuning program for MR2 owners to transform their existing SW20 MR2 into a widebody TRD2000GT kit replica car. This was to pay homage to the wins by their TRD2000GTs in the GT-C Japanese racing series, the TRD2000GT racing series cars were based on the SW20 floorpan. Toyota also did the same with their Supra Twin Turbo model, offering a
    conversion service to transform these cars into a TRD3000GT[4].
    In order to ensure exclusivity, a high price tag was charged and total of just 35 factory car conversions were completed by Toyota Technocraft Ltd. Each official Technocraft car converted was made using lightweight fibreglass components (in place of heavy steel original parts: front fenders, trunk lid extension, rear quarter panels, gas door, front and rear bumpers, 3-piece wing) and re-classified as completely new cars (with their own specially numbered TRD VIN plate riveted to the body to indicate their authenticity and rarity).

    The Toyota Technocraft Ltd. TRD2000GT had a 60 mm (2.4 in) wider front and rear track (due to the addition of wider wheels and tires) which improved handling considerably over the original equipment. Virtually every car converted also had other TRD parts fitted too including extensive changes to both the suspension and engine. Most cars left the factory making more power due to TRD bolt-ons, some cars even left the factory boasting up to 500 PS (493 hp/368 kW) and less than 1100 kg (2425 lb) for a very impressive power to weight ratio. While TRD Japan only offered a small number of kits with all body parts required for third-party conversion, Toyota Technocraft Ltd. offered complete car conversions.

    Only 3 complete Toyota Technocraft Ltd. cars are known to have been shipped into Europe with only 10 complete cars allocated to TRD USA for the entire American market. This makes these officially built Toyota Technocraft Ltd. TRD2000GTs the rarest of all MR2s and ultimately the most sought after and difficult to find. It is unknown how many original Toyota Technocraft Ltd. cars still exist today, but it is known that a small number of conversion kits were imported from TRD Japan into the US for USDM Conversions. Now there are officially no more TRD 2000GT body kits sold on the TRD USA website, so finding one may be difficult (The alternative to this kit is said to be the TD3000 bodykit by Extreme Dimensions). In many respects the extended body can be compared to that of a Porsche Turbo widebody. The car track width is extended and body dimensions dramatically changing the cars overall visuals, giving the car a "supercar" look, and also better handling and weight reduction. Very little is known about these cars outside of Japan.[5]
    The Sard MC8-R was a modified and lengthened version of the SW20 built for GT racing by Toyota's works team SARD (Sigma Advanced Research Development). The MC8-R housed a twin turbo version of the 1UZ-FE V8 giving out 600 bhp (450 kW).[6] Eligible for the GT1 category, the MC8-R lacked pace against the new generation sports cars and homologation specials such as Porsche 911 GT1, but did compete alongside a similarly modified Toyota Supra. Later that year the car attempted the 1000km Suzuka, this time managing to finish. The MC8-R made its first outing in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans where it retired after 14 laps. It reappeared at Le Mans the following year, finishing 24th, the second last position of cars that were still running. The car would attempt the 1997, only for it not to make it past pre-qualifying stage.[7] Two cars were entered in the FIA GT Championship round at the 1000km Suzuka, but neither car managed to finish. It was replaced for the following year with the GT-One.

    One MC8 road car was built in order to meet homologation requirements, but its current whereabouts are unknown.

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