Toyota Built a Limited Number of Widebody MR2s in the ’90s, and Now’s Your Chance to Buy One
They’re called TRD-2000GTs, and some of them reportedly made around 500 horsepower.
Considering its resemblance to the Ferrari 348, the second-generation Toyota MR2 (or SW20) isn't totally undeserving of its "poor man's Ferrari" nickname. Writing it off as such, though, glossed over the fact that moneyed MR2 buyers didn't have to turn to Ferrari for their high-performance fix. In the late '90s, if you had an MR2 and Ferrari money, but any sense of individuality, you didn't buy an F355. You phoned up your local TRD distributor and asked for one of Toyota's rare factory MR2 widebody conversions, the TRD-2000GT.
These conversions were offered in the wake of the 1998 JGTC season, which saw Team Taisan-run, MR2-based TRD-2000GTs win the GT300 class at every race but one. To celebrate, Toyota's specialty production division Technocraft offered a handful of lookalike conversions, which at the time were arguably the most exotic-looking cars Toyota had ever sold to the public.
TRD-2000GTs were clad in bodies made of fiberglass, which made up the bumpers, wing, gas flap, trunk lid extension, and fenders, which came in about four inches wider and thus allowed a wider track. Technical details are scarce, but Technocraft is said to have offered optional performance enhancements for converted MR2s, with some rumors claiming at least one car left Toyota with around 500 horsepower. Though hard to verify, that does seem believable given TRD-2000GT serial number uno was documented by its owner as having a highly modified 2.2-liter stroker engine.
All officially converted MR2s received unique VINs and were re-titled as TRD-2000GTs. Only a few dozen such conversions were carried out by Technocraft, with various sources claiming 35 to 37 cars were built, though a small number were constructed from official kits, a few of which allegedly made their way Stateside. Today, TRD-2000GT replicas far outnumber the originals, though the Real McCoys are still out there, and they change hands on rare occasions. One such occasion will occur later this month when the Yahoo! Auctions Japan listing for what looks like a real TRD-2000GT wraps up.
This turbocharged 1995 model bears a TRD/Technocraft serial plate that appears to identify it as car number 35, a late-production example, if not the last ever built in-house. It's a well-traveled car, with at least 149,000 miles on the clock, a clutch that's going out, and more mods than would be to everybody's taste (this MR2 owner still doesn't like those Tom's Racing side scoops). As of the time of this story, it's also a steal, having been bid to only around $13,750, or about what you can expect to pay for a low-mileage MR2 Turbo over in the States.
With more than a week and a half left to bid, though, don't expect it to stay that cheap.
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