Was there a better time for Japanese performance than the 1980s and 1990s? It seems like looking back, Japan was on a roll, producing cars that were affordable, economical, reliable, fast and lightweight. And while all the attention is - thanks to a certain film series - focused on cars like Toyota Supra and Mazda RX-7, there is a lesser-known model that's establishing its own enduring legacy without the help of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel.

The MR2, affectionately known as the "Mister Two" to fanboys, first arrived in 1984 as a lightweight, mid-engined sports car that proceeded to eat the lunch of the Pontiac Fiero in terms of performance. That car was replaced in 1989 with the more familiar, rounded-out MR2, which is the subject of this latest video from the team at Petrolicious.

The video takes a look at a group of MR2 drivers, and attempts to explain what it is about the car that is destined to make it a future classic. Scroll down to see Petrolicious examine the MR2 Connection.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 99 Comments
      AntBee
      • 1 Year Ago
      I call these beautiful cars, little Ferraris, because they look a bit like the Testarossa. I've always wanted one, and was really mad at Toyota for not allowing Canada to have the MR2 Spyder. I'd love to get my hands on an unmolested one, MK2 or MK3.
      Arch
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really enjoyed listening to him speak about his car! It's always nice to see gearheads care so much about their beloved makes/models. Great video, great little car... Cheers, Arch
      ravingricefarmer
      • 1 Year Ago
      well deserved recognition :)
      Yaman Ahmed
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm glad they finally made a petrolicious segment about one of my favorite cars of all time. I wish the video could have been better however . The MR2 is easily forgotten by car enthusiasts, especially those who overlook Toyotas. The MR2 was something of a masterpiece in my opinion, great looks, fun, reliable, and affordable! I will forever miss Toyotas glory days.
      john m
      • 1 Year Ago
      This one was my favorite of all the MR-2's. I thought it looked like a mini Ferrari 348. Great performance too. The later versions looked terrible. I thought they looked like bug eyed frogs.
        Teleny411
        • 1 Year Ago
        @john m
        I thought the Spiders looked a little like squared off mini- Boxsters. Even if it wasn't the prettiest, it had a great chassis.
      Rob
      • 1 Year Ago
      What he says at the end is so true. "I had one, wish I still did." I bought a 1994 turbo in 2001. It was bone stock and had 68,000 miles on it. I bought it without even driving it I wanted it so bad. It was 12 hours from my house and I drove out with a friend, bought it and drove it home with no plates (young and dumb!). The owner was a nice middle age lady that was buying a new Miata instead because she wanted a full convertible. I wanted to modify it but couldnt afford too. Didn't matter though it was a blast to drive and easily would beat friends Si's, Integra GSRs and Eclipse GS-Ts. Unfortunately I was in over my head payment wise and couldn't drive it in the winter so I sold it after a year and a half. The guy I sold it too ruined it with a horrible body kit, cranked the boost way up and eventually killed the motor. Man, I had one of those....I wish I still had it.
        Susan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Rob
        It's amazing how many people ruin otherwise fine cars with add-ons and cheesy accessories.
      mid engine madness
      • 1 Year Ago
      My 1992 MR2 was hands down the best car I have ever owned. My dad bought it for me in college in 1998. we both shared a love for its awesome looks and killer performance. Mine wasn't even the Turbo, yet it still ripped and caused people's heads to turn. We sold it when it no longer became practicle when I started a family. When I have the coin and garage space for a new toy, I must say that a gen 2 MR2 will be high on my list. Its too bad though that clean, un-molested examples are getting harded and harder too find. I even modded mine lightly and very tasetfully IMO, but just like WRX's, who knows what the last kid who owned it did to it, you know?
      wafflesnfalafel
      • 1 Year Ago
      That white one w/o the t-tops is beautiful. Always thought the 2nd gen Mr2 was one of the best, if not the best, looking production Toyota. Kinda of a baby 348 look to it. And folks are absolutely correct - even 20 years old, it's better looking than the FRS...
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The 2nd generation MR2 was such a fantastic vehicle. Mid engine supercars are a dime a dozen if you have a fat wallet. An affordable car like this is so rare. I with that someone would come out with an affordable mid engine car. Ford would do well to put a focus or Fiesta engine into the back of something. There's a good reason, though, why manufacturers haveput all engines in the front, including on lightweight sportscars like the Miata and Toyobaru. First, it's easier to package an engine in the front and allow for a usable trunk. More importantly, is crash dynamics, and ever increasingly difficult crash tests. In a frontal crash, it's better to have the mass that engine block in front, rather than the momentum of that block being carried through the occupant cocoon and crumple zone. Despite loosing a drive shaft, a small mid engine car design to today's crash standards may need more steel and be heavier than a front engine counterpart like the Miata. If you want affordable mid-engine performance, there are a few really good kits out there. My favorite is the Factory Five 818, which can be built for about $15,000 total. It not only capable of humiliating an MR2, but even a base Corvette. It's nimble enough to even beat most supercars on a tight track. It's a new kit, though, so it doesn't have all of the comforts that you would expect for a daily driver and a soft-top is a $3,000 add. As the kit evolves though, it should get a lot more refined. I am hoping for a coupe version someday.
      scott3
      • 1 Year Ago
      It will be a tough Classic to find in some places. Here in the mid west most of them rotted away or were tossed away when engine issued cost to replace them at an age was more then the value of the car. I did see one for sale last year but it needed a lot of work and I do not think it ever sold. I think the guy pushed it back beside the house and just left it sit. Around here you may see 1-5 of them a years. Neat car but rare. It is odd as even with the last Fiero being built in 1988 you can see a couple of them weekly here. They just keep on going. It is just a shame that there is little money to make in a low volume two seat car. Mazda is the only one that ever go the formula right by not over selling and putting a decent trunk on a convertible. As for the comment below on the Berreta. I laugh at them as they have not made one on years. The paint falls off and the interiors go to hell but they keep on running and running and running. I still see a lot of high school kids driving them as hand me downs and while they are far from perfect they are still on the roads. Seldom so you see a Toyata from that era even in poor condition. I guess all cars have their faults. I just saw a Barreta Indy Sunday in pretty good shape. It was a God awful yellow but it was in good condition and still running. They are one of the best winter beaters around.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      Never drove one of the gen 2, but I drove a Spider & was a blast.thing that killed it was no storage space at all
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Dwight Bynum Jr.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Are you f***ing serious?!
        VDuB
        • 1 Year Ago
        LOL. The most dumbest thing I've heard in awhile. AB needs to start banning trolls.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        and by buying american you buy so much more... get over yourself.
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        I believe, and do my best to support American automakers though their are some Japanese cars I'd own in a second. With that said, it's time to move on from that. They may have been dicks 70 years ago, but now they are one of our allies. No one in power today had anything to do with Pearl Harbor, so maybe it's time to bury the hatchet?
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        So... if you buy german cars, you support the Holocaust. If you buy italian cars, you support Mussolini. If you buy american cars you support slavery and segregation. If you buy Swedish cars, you support the vikings who raped and pillaged their way through europe, etc, etc Please tell me what car you drive.
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