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Tiny Turbo Terror – Toyota MR-S (MR2 Spyder)


You know some cars, despite lacking in size, could punch above their weight class with some choice mods. The Toyota MR-S could do that and this one can do it faster

As the successor to the Toyota MR2 SW20, the Toyota MR-S Spyder had some large shoes to fill. It retained the rear mid-engined layout but was somewhat castrated with the 1ZZ-GE engines that lacked the punch to live up to the 3S-GE mills.

The later 2ZZ-GE addressed that with a square bore and stroke for some extra ponies but having an MR-S here with the 1ZZ plant, a solution was needed. Borrowing inspiration from its predecessor, the choice to shove more air into the combustion chamber was made.

Basically, this little mid-engined, rear-drive terror was about to get turbocharged. If you thought this car could run rings around some larger horsepower-heavy machines, you’re about to see it do the same but in fast forward.

Seeing that the base engine left the factory with a paltry 140hp, the internals wouldn’t have taken kindly to forced induction. So the first step was to remove the engine and have it rebuilt by Kegani Autotech,

In went come Wiseco 82mm pistons that lowered the compression ratio to 8.8:1 as opposed to the stock 10.0:1. This was to prepare it for the compressed air about to enter the chamber and blow some real kick out the crank.

The stock valve springs were swapped out for some MWR pieces and the block was tied to the head with a Cometic head gasket sandwiched in between and ARP studs holding it tight together.

A Garrett turbo was selected for the job and connected into the airflow by a GReddy piping kit that also included the intercooler. Fueling had to be upgraded as well and Sard was called into action with its fuel regulator, fuel rail and a 265lph pump.

Seeing that engine temperatures were about to increase, a Synergy aluminium radiator went in and was connected with Samco silicone hoses.

To keep the fueling, ignition and other engine parameters all synced, an Apexi Power FC was wired in with its commander unit for easier tuning. Wanting to keep all the engine’s operating variables within its limits, a Defi ZD meter was installed together with a Dynojet AF ratio gauge. Lastly, a GReddy Profec B – Spec II electronic boost controller keeps the boost levels in check.

Tuned by the expert hands of GT Auto in Sunway, the 1ZZ now put out a fearsome 216whp at just 0.76 bars of boost.

This in turn meant the transmission was about to be grenaded if it was beefed up accordingly. In went an Exedy triple puck clutch that bites on a Tom’s lightweight flywheel. A TRD short shifter keeps the gear swaps crisp and a Cusco LSD 1.5way Type RS – Spec F ties the rear wheels together for better corner exit and grip.

With a short wheelbase and the weight over the rear wheels, handling was never an issue but there’s no harm in getting everything sorted in one go. For this, Cusco Zero 1 coilovers with high-low and soft-hard adjustability went in and had Cusco pillowball mounts up front.

Being a convertible, the chassis would benefit from some tightening up in strategic points to make up for the flex from not having a roof. This saw an Ultra Racing provide a strut bar for the rear and a Type II lower arm bar. Cusco came in with a floor subframe plate and Beatrush provided the protective under panel for the front and rear. In the cabin a Carbing M-Bar was screwed in, fancy speak for a roll-bar.

Getting all that power to the ground would require some really good rubber, the kind that avoids accidents. Federal 595 RS-R were awarded the responsibilities to prevent any untoward accidents and now wrap over some black two-piece wheels that the owner neglected to mention during his chat with us. They look the business though.

Inside, the only changes are very driver-centric in the form of a Sparco Rev GRP Light Competition race seat on the right and a Nardi steering wheel.

If you’re admiring the exterior, you’re a man of good taste as the complete Veilside Fortune kit complements the dark grey perfectly. Additions to help the kit stand out include a custom front bumper splitter, Varis rear engine hood air vent and carbon fibre front hood.

This car is going to claim some scalps above its weight class and if you’re a little slow, you won’t even know what hit you.

Car – Toyota MR-S (MR2 Spyder)

Engine – 1ZZ-GE rebuilt by Kegani Autotech, ARP head studs, MWR valve spring set, Wiseco 82mm pistons 8.8:1 ratio, Cometic head gasket, Garrett turbo kit, GReddy piping + intercooler kit, Synergy aluminium radiator, Samco silicone hose kit, Sard fuel regulator, Sard fuel rail, Sard 265lph fuel pump

Electronics – Apexi Power FC + commander, Defi ZD meter, Dynojet AF ratio gauge, Greddy Profec B – Spec II

Transmission – Exedy triple puck clutch, Tom’s lightweight flywheel, TRD short shifter, Cusco LSD 1.5way Type RS – Spec F

Chassis & Handling – Cusco Zero 1 coilovers HLSH + Cusco pillowball mount, Ultra Racing strut bar, Ultra Racing Type II lower arm bar, Cusco floor subframe plate, Beatrush under panel front and rear

Brakes – Stock

Wheels & Tyres – Federal 595 RS-R

Interior – Sparco Rev GRP Light Competition race seat (driver), Nardi steering wheel, Carbing M-Bar (roll-bar)

Exterior – Veilside Fortune complete body kit, custom front bumper splitter, Varis rear engine hood air vent, carbon fibre front hood

Power – 216whp @ 0.76 bars of boost on GT Auto Dynojet

Tuner – GT Auto Sunway

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