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My AW11 (Gen1 MR2) Project/Restomod

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Hello all,

Wanted to introduce one of my longer term projects that I've been wrenching on for nearly a decade; a 1986 Toyota MR2.

Bought the MR2 back in 2013 for what was a fair deal at the time. First few years were spent tending to maintenance, some interior work and generally my wife and I would just taking it on road trips, and many an autocross event this way. We really drove the tires off the car and had a chance to compare it against my Z4 M-Coupe, which I picked up after a few years. The plucky MR2 was a good bit of fun with some 200 tread-wear tires and, in a tight course, held up quite well against a much more modern car. Both my wife and I decided that this would be a fun car to build up to handle more abuse in autocross and handle road course work.

Thus began an engine swap project. Pulled out the 4age engine, and started swapping in a Gen-4 3SGTE engine into the car. At the time, there were no mount kits, so I took to the task of trying to fabricate everything myself. The project stalled for a few years as a result. After a while, I decided to commit to the skill building needed to finish the project. Borrowed a mig welder from a buddy, roughed out some mounts, and had the engine sitting in the bay!

Turned out, I really enjoyed the fabrication experience, and bought myself a decent, entry level AC/DC tig welder, and went to town developing my skills and generally having fun. Honestly, I'd say it's become something of a stress relief from the day job as I quite like turning a wrench and pretending I'm an engineer, so I've poured in quite a few hours into the car after decided to have fun with the project.

Not to monolog too much about the journey, the car has progressed quite a bit, though has yet to run. The Z4 has filled the autocross itch well enough, and the MR2 and I continue down the rabbit hole of 'goal creep'.

Quick Summary of Work: (not much of anything is stock, so I won't go into detail)


SW20 hub & strut conversion. Billet hubs with Koni Yellow coilovers, fitted to aftermarket control arms and top hats. Custom rear sub frame to get the rear trailing arm geometry right.

Chassis & Brakes:

Street friendly roll bar with harness provisions (professionally fabricated). MK60 ABS system, fitted to a Wilwood front and rear brake kit. Pair of heat exchangers on either side of the radiator. Side vent supplies air to a large oil cooler. Electric AC pump for the cabin, and possibly for other systems.


Gen 4, 3SGTE engine, built with forged pistons and rods, upgraded valve springs and stock cams. DBW throttle with a custom air-to-water intercooler, supplied by a Borg Warner EFR 7064-C. An inconel WRC manifold and modified anti-lag system setup are also equipped.


Motec M150 ECU with the latest firmware, as I intend to use the torque based traction control strategies offered. Motec C127 digital dash, and a EMU Master PMU-16 for power management.

Attached Files

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