Turning the tame Toyota MR-S into a blown bad boy has become easier as of late especially with kits like the one offered by Top Secret hitting the market. The lightweight and truly tossable Toyota reacts enthusiastically to boost but soon outgrows its fickle stock looks. The answer: an aggressive widebody kit.
One of the big issues with widebody kits is finding a wheel big enough to fill the fender wells properly. Mike Burlas and Jay Cheng, who owns this deep blue speed demon, of BRS AutoDesign basically built the body kit around Sport Max's rims. Metal and fiberglass came together for a perfect fit like raging sea and thunder for a perfect storm. The car's ferocious, wide-as-the Panama-Canal look is a mirage of sorts. Actually, the kit only increases the overall width by one inch but it gives the illusion of width with the extra high fenders. These in turn increase the capacity for larger wheels and tires.
The massive rollers filling the kit are Sport Max's 962 series. Though the name might not exactly scream excitement, these five-spoke 18-inch rims run eight inches wide up front and nine inches in the rear. The Bridgestone Potenza meats wrapping the rims are 225/35 and 255/35, front and rear respectively. As designed, this combination fills out the wheel wells nicely.
While the MR-S is known for its superior poise and balance, you'd be lucky to get a speeding ticket with the anemic stock output of 150 hp. The turbo kit from Top Secret was deemed to be the most reliable forced induction kit for the MR-S and the only one that should be able pass California's scrupulous smog check as long as all the factory smog equipment is retained. (Just don't go looking for a CARB EO number.)
The turbo has been through the ringer twice from a tuning standpoint. Originally, the install was fairly straightforward. It requires the removal of the following: fuel rail, intake manifold, throttle bodies, injection pumps and exhaust manifold. In other words most of the parts above the valve cover had to be removed before the Garrett T28 turbocharger could be put in its place.
Other highlights of the engine include the MWR air-to-water intercooler. This eradicates the temp shift when off boost and allows the addition of ice to super-cool the chamber for drag situations and such. While the drop top is currently running about 200 hp at 6 psi Cheng is about to acquire the Stage II setup, which adds forged rods and pistons and doubling up the boost to 12 psi.
Once the MR-S gets these steel balls under its carbon boot cover it's going to be a serious track day contender. The apex-craving chassis finally got its wish granted for more power. Really, this is what Toyota should have offered up in the first place.