he Toyota MR2 has been a staple in the car enthusiast community for as long as I can remember. Spanning three generations with various engine options, the MR2 is a versatile machine capable of handling many tasks. The first generation, also known as the AW10 or AW11 depending on the model, was a mid-rear engine chassis that had a lot to offer. The second generation, SW20, spanned from 1989 to 1999. This generation had the option of a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the mighty 3S-GTE. It is no wonder why this generation has been so popular amongst Toyota enthusiasts.
Alex Lapeyronie from Brittany France is one of those enthusiasts. He wanted an MR2 for years after one of his friend’s introduced him to the chassis. Alex’s original plan was to build a blacked out, stanced, MR2. He decided to instead be a bit more unique and was inspired by the 1980s and 1990s Toyota race cars. It is there he discovered the Toyota Celica IMSA GTO and the TRD Baja Trophy Truck. The livery on these two vehicles is what inspired him to build his MR2 into the race inspired street vehicle it is today.
The first thing Alex set out to do was to correct the interior on his project. He removed the blue neon interior components and shoddy wiring work. He replaced it with a clean interior with a few racing touches. He removed the aftermarket downpipe, replaced it with an OEM downpipe and Mongoose Exhaust. He replaced the spark plugs and the rest of the ignition components, undoubtedly increasing the reliability and drivability of his MR2. Alex opted for an AEM fuel pump capable of 340 L/H, suitable for E85.
BC Racing coilovers were installed to replace the old suspension. He decided on Japan Racing JR10 wheels in a 16x9 size. The T-Tops were wrapped in the same color of white as the rest of the car. The Toyota Racing inspired livery sets this MR2 apart from others on the street and truly makes it unique.
Alex’s next goal for this project is to remove the current engine in the car and give it a refresh. He wants to keep it completely factory and true to the way Toyota designed the car to drive. Another goal of his is to find a truly authentic TRD Nardi Steering Wheel. These steering wheels can be hard to come by and they go quite a bit of money, but I’m confident Alex will find one to add the finishing touches on his MR2.
The car has been to the track once, but Alex made it clear he had no intentions of racing his MR2. He built it for the pleasure of driving it, but he said he wants to enjoy the car and not risk losing it to the track. The MR2 isn’t the only project on Alex’s plate. He has a 1983 Honda 600 XLR as well, properly named “Yuck Fou”. You can check out Alex’s progress on Instagram at @mr2_trdalex. Photographs featured in his article were taken by @julienmorinphoto and @pau.photographie.