This Clean Toyota MR2 Is a Link From ‘Racer X’ to Today’s Thriving Tuner Scene

Some of us who have been into tuner cars since the early days of Super Street magazine are a little tired of hearing about The Fast And The Furious. But when it comes to this particular gen-one MR2, a reference is warranted. This vehicle, tuned by the main character in the Vibe article that inspired the F&F franchise, is now owned by Stan Karr Yeung who’s been instrumental in creating Daikoku-style car meets in New York City.

Early MR2s were so distinctly of their time that they aged rapidly. I remember thinking they were laughably hideous as a young buck in the car scene buzzing around in my base-model salvage-title DC2 Integra circa 2004. How foolish and short-sighted I was! These look incredible to me now and it’s very cool to see one as well-kept and loved as Yeung’s here.

The MR2 build is fairly straightforward: Nice wheels, suspension, great color, a little extra power… but it gets an added aura of coolness because it was tuned by Rafael Estevez of ‘Racer X’ fame. And you can still find that May 1998 Vibe article that Paul Walker wanted to make into a movie if you want to go deeper on context and culture lore.

Tom Gorelik

In this installment of The Drive‘s YouTube series CARISMA, you’ll hear Yeung talk about how cars caught his attention from the perspective of design. He went to Japan years ago without cars on his mind, but like so many of us he learned to appreciate their lines and vibes. Back in the U.S., he noticed that a lot of the automotive gatherings in his orbit were make-specific, or maybe a little too focused in some ways.

This is partially how Daikoku NYC got going. It’s a recurring car meet founded by Yeung, inspired by the famous Daikoku parking lot in Yokohama in Tokyo’s greater metro orbit. The focus is on variety and diversity within the broad theme of tuner cars.

“It went from ‘What happened to the meets? I want to see more variation,’ to this bigger-than-me community that is inclusive of all and ends up being a really cool place for you to come and feel secure at with whatever build that you have,” Yeung explains. “At the end of the day, that’s all anyone is trying to do, just find a place to be with their car.”

This is one of my favorite CARISMA videos yet, because not only is the featured car great, but there’s a lot of culture to recognize and appreciate. I’m eager to get down from my Hudson Valley hermit hut and check out some of these meets in the city soon!

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