The Toyota ‘Mister Two’ Can Still Turn A Few Heads

Toyota 'Mister Two'
Toyota 'Mister Two'

The hairdresser may have given the wedge-shaped ‘Mister Two’ a bad name but the high-revving 16-valve four-cylindered Japanese sports car can still turn a few heads.

The mid-engined Toyota MR2 was unveiled at the 1983 Tokyo Motor Show as a close-to-production prototype and boasted classic rear-wheel drive and T-bar roof with removable roof halves. Ideal for the middle-aged ‘spiv’ and a small dog with extremely short legs needing little exercise.

Ironically the slick Japanese racer celebrated its international sales launch just as BBC1 aired the first edition of Crimewatch, which in years to follow saw many a ‘twocker’ trying their best to outrun the local bobby in their trendy parachute pants.

Weighing in at only 977 kilograms, the W10 was lightweight and fun to thrash around with a total of over 320,000 orders placed, making it the most built Japanese mid-engine two-seater for the Japanese marque.

When answering the MR2 press launch in 1984, Toyota answered questions surrounding the advantages of a mid-engine car by referring to motorsport, saying:
“With the engine in front of the rear axle and almost ideal weight distribution of 45% on the front axle and 55% on the rear axle, the MR2 is as agile as any Formula 1 racing car.”

Toyota 'Mister Two'

The type code MR2 is actually a short form of “Midship Runabout 2-seater” (small two-seater mid-engine sports car), but also “Midship-engine, rear-drive, 2-seater” (mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, 2-seater).

Toyota set the initial spark for this mid-engine project in 1976, because the mid-engine layout, which is also known in Formula 1, was briefly popular with vertically challenged athletes. At Toyota, the compact mid-engine coupe was to succeed the legendary Toyota Sports 800 from the 1960s and, like this first Asian Gran Turismo with removable roof insert, the MR2 with T-Bar roof was developed for the ‘open-air’ pleasure.

Another advantageous design feature of mid-engine sports cars is the front and rear storage compartments which meant plenty of space for Cabbage Patch Kids, Masters of the Universe and Transformers.

The 16-valve four-cylinder engine, known as 4A-GE was tried and tested in rallying acquired a three-way catalytic converter from 1986 onwards but was still sharp as a dart, sprinting from zero to 100 km / h in an impressive 8.1 seconds, although Toyota did limit the revs to 7,300.

Toyota MR2

Technical data Toyota MR2
Engine: Four-cylinder 16V in-line engine (from 1984)
Displacement: 1,587 cm³
Power: 91 kW / 124 hp at 6,600 / min
Max. Torque: 142 Nm at 5,000 / min
Transmission: Manual 5-speed transmission
Empty weight: from 977 kg
Vmax: 200 km / h
0-100 km / h: 8.1 seconds

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Engine: four-cylinder 16V in-line engine with three-way catalytic converter (from 1987)
Displacement: 1,587 cm³
Power: 85 kW / 115 HP at 6,600 rpm
Max. Torque: 134 Nm at 5,000 rpm
Transmission: Manual 5-speed transmission
Unladen weight: from 1,060 kg
Vmax: 195 km / h
0-100 km / h: 9.0 seconds

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