On paper, the second generation MR2 should be a huge hit with the current crop of import car builders. The mid-engine layout, turbo power plant, and sleek styling were well ahead of the curve during the car’s early ‘90s release in the U.S., and even today carry a unique look and an exceptional driving experience. Alas, for whatever reason, we rarely see these cars heavily modified. Perhaps it’s a lack of knowledge about this particular chassis, or the fear of diving into a rather cramped and somewhat convoluted mid-ship layout. Maybe the missing attention is a good thing, as it makes events like Thailand’s Annual MR2 Day that much more intriguing.
For the second year in a row, the MR2 Club invited a group of enthusiasts to meet, greet, and race one another in celebration of Toyota’s potent two-seater. The result? Over two dozen well-built versions showed up and clicked off 9-, 10-, 11-, and 12-second passes. And though it was open to all MR2 chassis generations, it was the second gen, the so-called SW20, that – not surprisingly – dominated the event.
Hosted at Bangkok’s Drag Avenue, a track situated about an hour north of downtown Bangkok, surrounded by absolutely nothing for miles, it served as the perfect meeting point, and the race action continued throughout the day without a hitch. Fortunately, our photog-at-large, Chad Burdette, is currently living in Thailand and was there to capture it.
The topside intake straddling the rear roofline was a common upgrade for ‘90s-era MR2 builds, as was the TRD/TRD-style widebody aero that this yellow version uses. The Enkei RPF1 rollers and Project Mu BBK finishes it off nicely.
Much like the U.S., one of the most popular wheels to use in Thailand, regardless of vehicle type, is the classic Volk TE37.
This R Spec2 purpose-built drag car turned in the best times of the day, blasting multiple 9-second passes. We love the slick, side-exit exhaust setup.
As cramped as the SW’s engine compartment tends to be, this owner was able to effectively organize his bay for a show-worthy appearance. The burnt pie-cuts, custom catch can, and large volume intake manifold look great, and we especially like those vented side panels.
A sight you’re not likely to see very often
This wild, bright orange SW features Rocket Bunny-esque fender flares and a chassis-mounted rear wing.
Though not nearly as popular as its older brother, a few MR-S/MR2 Spyders made their way to the MR2 Day event.