Newsletter - Issue 2

October 1995

Hi everyone!! : )

Okay okay, so this second newsletter has been a looooonnng time coming .. but in between work, buying a house, upgrading my car, working on other cars, and rebuilding an engine, I find it hard to get time to write newsletters! Never mind ... it's out now, and hopefully the next one won't take so long. : )

-- Adrienne Mora

The Internet

Funnies off the 'Net

(who has done some pretty stupid things in his time, including driving with the rear break calipers undone, blowing up his stereo by connecting the speakers to earth, filling his car up with diesel, burning off his fringe of hair while trying to burn the crap out of a carberetta, set fire to his brake pipe, forget to put antifreeze in his engine so that the radiator rusted to buggery, etc , etc)


Yep, Stu. Pretty stupid.
Last weekend I walked out of the house with keys in one hand, tweezers in the other hand, and a lot on my mind. I opened the trunk, put my key in my overnight bag and shut the trunk. I got in the car (the door was already opened), looked at the tweezers in my hand and got this sinking feeling in my stomach. Of course the trunk release had been disabled by turning the key all the way since there are sometimes valuables in the trunk. Then there's the thought of my spare key. I know exactly where it is. In my overnight the trunk.

Two locksmiths failed to pick the trunk lock. So did the third. The dealer in California did not have the key code on record. He finally (take notes here people) pulled off the passenger side door panel and removed the tumbler from the door lock to get the code. The car's key code is inscribed on this tumbler. Once a locksmith has this code it is very easy to make a new key. All is well now, but most of the day was lost.

I've done lots of other stupid things too, I'll claim insufficient bandwidth to list them all. How about it? Any other mere mortals on this list?

Allan M. Stewart


Funny this should come up today. It seems our great weathermen in the area forgot to mention that there would be scatter showers this afternoon..... Well after coming back from lunch I figured it was a nice enough day that I should leave the t-tops out. Of course we had a 5 minute rain storm which dumped a lot of water. I put the tops back in but it was too late. I drove home an hour later with the tops out, the weather then was great. No really damage just a real soggy MR2, a wet butt, and a couple of coworkers who thought it was funny. I going to have to drive my truck into work tomorrow. There is no way the car is going to be dry by the morning.

Live and learn. One other thing. All those people who say you can drive with the t-tops out when its raining and it won't come in. Let me tell you that it doesn't work, but I'm not telling how I know.


Twin-Charged MR2

Location: Long Beach, CA, USA
Car: 1988 Twincharged, White
License plate TWNCHRG
Mileage: 54,000 miles

Engine: 4AGZ w/ Turbonetics TO4E in tandem running 25 psi. Internals consists of Venolia pistons, HKS camshafts and TRD pulleys, ARP bolts, extrude-honed manifolds.

Fuel is managed by an Electromotive TEC II controlling 500cc injectors. Fuel is delivered by a Bosch fuel pump, thru an SX fuel filter, then regulated by an HKS adjustable regulator. The charge in cooled by dual intercoolers (one after each charger) and pressure is relieved via HKS racing blow off valve. Power is delivered through a TRD Limited Slip Diff. and in controlled by a TRD pressure plate and a custom Centerforce full metalic disc. Stopping power includes cross-drilled rotors with steel-braided lines. Interior includes full roll cage for safety precautions and utilizes several HKS electronics for engine control (EVC, SBC, SCC, IPM). The entire chassis consists of all applicable TRD bushings, race springs, Tokico Illumina (5-way adjustable), and Suspension Techniques Sway bar upgrade.

My best time in the quarter mile is a 12.4 @ 112 mph (on street tires) Dyno verified horsepower is around 350 bhp. The real thrill is the acceleration from a standing start as 0-60 mph come by at 4.7 sec (Vericom).

I probably will never stop finding new ways to increase the power of the little 1.6 motor. I'm always open for new suggestion and always willing to offer mine.

Gerald San Agustin

MR2s Hold Their Own

[snippity snip ... corvette owner ramblings]
It's not a bad car (MR2 turbo) at about US$20k, but it sure as hell ain't no Corvette.

I think we're in the midst of a new golden age of American performance. Nothing even slightly sporty is coming from Europe for less than US$50k, and the Japanese entries have screwed themselves with the yen and high pricing. But for US$20k I can get a 275hp Camaro, soon a 305hp Camaro SS or Ram Air Firebird. If I were so inclined, I could even buy a 305hp Mustang. On the high end I could spend $60k and get a Viper, or soon Viper GTS. And of course, the true great, with more class than any foreign job, a Corvette, whether a ~US$30k LT1 or LT4, or a soon-to-come C5 firebreather.

I still love to see the whiny weasels pull up next to me in their US$25k VTEC four banger Integras. Golly, just imagine, with a K&N airfilter and aftermarket exhaust, they can get more than 200hp out of their little front-driver. And I'll still kick their asses at stoplights AND twisties.

[Reply from Supercharged MR2 owner]

I would just like to add a little story in on this subject. Friday night I was on my way home, heading towards Alexandria, VA on route 1. I was coming up the hill about 4 or 5 miles from my apartment and I had a vette pass me at about 70 mph or so. I was only doing 50. I quickly downshifted and started to gain a little ground on him as he got stuck in traffic. We both made our way to the front of a small group of traffic and luckily hit a red light. Right in front of Chi-Chis in case anyone is curious. The driver was young, probably about 25. The car was an early 90's. I knew that he had seen me staying behind him through traffic so I expected a race. As the light changed we both got a good jump off the line. I got a quick jump on him through 1st gear. By the end of 2nd I was about 1 car length in front of him and by 80 mph I was still in front of him and we ran into some traffic. I must point out that I was almost out of gas and I am almost positive the vette was an automatic. My sced has the HKS stage IV and a TRD header. I was quite proud of my little 4 cyl baby, and the fact that I had read this message on Friday morning was a nice bonus. I decided to do a little research on Vettes and I found that the early 90's LT1 automatics are around mid 14 1/4 mile times. About what my car runs....

I thought that everyone from the group would like this little story.

-Matt - '88 sced -Don't let the size fool ya...

Rumoured Origin of the MR2

[taken from MR2 FAQ]
From the Lotus Motorsports FAQ:
The first-generation MR2 was introduced during a period of close co-operation between Lotus and Toyota. The Lotus Eclat was reworked with some Toyota parts to make the Excel during this period. Toyota was also involved in design and specification of the M90/X100 prototype.

(Borrowed directly from the Lotus FAQ)

There are two rumours about Lotus' involvement with the MR2. The "official" rumour is that the MR2 was designed "in-house" at Toyota by Lotus suspension engineer Roger Becker. The other rumour is that the MR2 was an abandoned Lotus design (possibly the M90/X100).

According to Doc Bundy, Lotusport Esprit driver, the MR2 is the X100.

The MkI car has a 91 in wheelbase, and in final form, offered two powerplants, one capable of 112hp, another capable of 145hp. The MkI automobile is rather angular, but has a look that is all its own. Some say its ugly, some say it's much better looking than the MkII car.

Toyota Today Article

Finally, to round off this newsletter is an article that was printed in Toyota Today.

The MR2 Journey
Tracking A Classic
From Yesterday To Today

In 1985, the MR2 was a classic example of Toyota's leading edge technology. Now, after 10 years of road-gripping fun, the MR2 has reached the finish line, driving itself into the status of legendary sports car classics. Mister Two, as it's fondly dubbed by enthusiasts, bids its final farewell in 1995, with U.S. sales ceasing by the end of the year. [Rumours have it that the MR2 will continue in the Japan and Australian markets, although the Aussies don't get the turbo model - Ed]

Ingenious Engineering
Named Motor Trend "Import Car Of The Year" in 1985, the MR2 stood as a sign of Toyota's innovative engineering. The car's Toyota TC-16 engine, otherwise known as "Sweet Sixteen," was considered a revolutionary design in its day. The MR2's 1.6-liter electronically fuel-injected twin cam with 16 valves was touted as one of the first of its kind in the automotive world to "reconcile high performance and high efficiency." Part of the reason for its acclaim was that the engine featured a design once reserved for exotic sports machines - four valves per cylinder instead of two.

Makings of a True Sports Car
The MR2, the first mid-engine-style sports car to be mass-produced in Japan, was named for its Mid-engine, Rear-drive, 2-seat configuration. Placing the engine behind the occupants, but in front of the rear wheels, provided the car with near perfect weight distribution and gave it race-car like handling. For a high level of stability, The MR2 was designed short, wide and low to the ground.

Three years after its introduction, the MR2 offered more power, with a belt driven Roots type supercharger added to the engine. As a result, the MR2's horsepower was boosted by 30 percent to 145. The supercharged engine thrusted the MR2 from zero to 60 in about 7 seconds with a top speed of 127 mph. 1991 was the dawn of the second generation MR2. It featured a completely new engine and an exterior that evolved from a wedge shaped style to a wider, sleeker bullet. Racing legend Dan Gurney had a hand in the '91 MR2 suspension design, assisting engineers with fine tuning.

Along with a innovative appearance and tighter suspension came impeccable power. The new generation sported a 2.2 liter engine, and a turbocharger replaced the supercharger. Horsepower was boosted to 200, with a top speed increasing to 150 mph. This new creation was praised by the media, alongside such new rockets as Ferraris. In fact, the 1993 MR2 Turbo beat out the Ferrari Mondial in a zero-to-60 test, with the Toyota clocking in at 6.2 seconds. A 1993 ad boasting the MR2's prowess read: "The 1993 Toyota MR2. If It Were Any Slower, It Would Be A Ferrari."

From 1991 to 1995 the MR2 didn't change much - and rightly so. It was a tough act to beat. Subtle styling and suspension refinements, including larger 15-inch wheels and lower profile tires for better cornering and handling, enhanced the MR2.

Following A Passion
Sports car enthusiasts had a passion for this wind-cutting, road grinding wonder. So much so, they formed their own national organization: the MR2 Owners Club. Members enjoyed discussions with Toyota representatives at seminars, raced around on track days and participated in Show and Shine contests. At its peak, the club was about 700 members strong. "Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) established the club to create a chain of communication among MR2 drivers," says Jay Spencer, the original club coordinator and currently TMS National manager, Pickups and Sport Utility Vehicles Team. "It generated a lot of die-hard enthusiasts for the car, giving owners a direct connection with Toyota." Key supporters of the club included Toyota Racing Development and Yokohama Tires.

Changing Market Demands
Despite all the glory and praise of yesterday, the MR2 has come to the end of its U.S. journey. In its first year, it sold more than 32,000 units. But today, the high performance segment overall appears to be declining. Recent studies show a dynamic market and new trends have contributed to consumers' dwindling appetite for sports cars. Robert Maling, TMS vice president of Series Sales Team-Small Cars, says: "Function and comfort these days are high on buyers' priority lists. Sport utilities are the new trend because they offer a sporty image with a lot more practicality." Another reason the MR2 is leaving U.S. dealerships is stringent emissions laws. Three years after it was introduced, the MR2 Turbo was restricted from California. "If we're going to continue selling the same volume of MR2's as we have in recent years, the cost to re-certify the car for the Environmental Protection Agency doesn't justify re-importing and distributing the product," Maling explains. "The MR2 will be discontinued this year, but there are a lot of new things in store for the future. Toyota prides itself on its ability to meet the needs of our customers, and our product lineup will continue to do just that." The MR2 may be on its way out, but it's far from being forgotten. Enthusiasts say it's destined to become a classic. Many believe it already is.

From Toyota Today - August 1995

Toyota Today, A404
19001 S. Western Ave
Torrance, Ca 90509

Back Page Fillers

Kit for MKII MR2 from Han Motoring (and convenient page filler!!

Picture of Han Motoring Kit - Front View (42kb)

Picture of Han Motoring Kit - Rear View (29kb)

Back to Newsletters Page
Back to Main Page