The story of the MR2 is a long long one, even though the original model was in production for only 5 years. Development started at Toyota in 1976 on a 2-seat, mid-engine affordable sports car, but they soon got cold feet, due in part to the crisis, and that Toyota is naturally risk-averse (but very reliably profitable!). It wasn’t until the middle of the next decade that the 1985 Toyota MR2 was finally introduced. It brought to the table razor-sharp styling, extreme reliability and excellent build quality. It was also quite affordable, which made it immediately popular, especially in the all-important US market.
What the MR2 (which stands for ‘Mid-Engined Recreational with 2 seats’, another awkward Japanese acronym) also relied on was the fact that it was very, very fun to drive. Powered by a 122 horsepower, 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine, it could reach a top speed of 121 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 in 7.9 seconds, impressive numbers from a car with excellent handling, too!
The 1985 Toyota MR2 proved to be a great success, and showed the world that there was a market for an affordable, fun to drive 2 seat convertible, knowledge that other companies were quick to cash in on!