1993 Toyota Mr2 - Andrew Cabrera
The first night my dad brought home an MR2 I was so confused but weirdly intrigued by the car I didn't really know how to feel about it as a whole. At the time I already had 2 cars which I was heavily into and passionate about, a 00' Honda Civic EX and 98' BMW 328i and surprisingly up until that point, I had no idea what a Toyota MR2 was
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1993 Toyota Mr2
Photographer Marvin Recinos
Hello, my name is Andrew Cabrera and I currently live in Wilmington, California but grew up in Echo Park, California for the majority of my life. Currently going on 4 years at FedEx Freight as an operations supervisor. In my free time, I enjoy the thrill of lifting heavy weights to the point of blackout and or turning wrenches on my never-ending project cars, I also have an addictive and extensive LeenCustoms pins collection which when hunting for usually leads to cool family automotive outings.
My passion for cars was always lurking inside as a young boy but didn't really blossom into my wonderful addiction until the typical early 2000s car boom. All the classic and nostalgic video games such as gran Turismo need speed and even movies such as fast and furious. During the late 90s and early 2000s, I was mostly into exotics/supercars but when my uncle showed me the awesome Japanese highway racing game called Tokyo Xtreme Racer I instantly fell in love with all that is "JDM".
The legendary cars of Japan were already relevant to me before that point but something about that game brought it all together for me and built the foundation of my passion for these wonderful machines. Cliché to say but the rest was history, soon after the JDM market poured more and more into the states and with the help of my gear head uncle I was able to experience my old school favourites such as options2 magazine, initial D, and hot versions.
The first night my dad brought home an MR2 I was so confused but weirdly intrigued by the car I didn't really know how to feel about it as a whole. At the time I already had 2 cars which I was heavily into and passionate about, a 00' Honda Civic EX and 98' BMW 328i and surprisingly up until that point, I had no idea what a Toyota MR2 was. The next morning I got up early to test drive it before work and that's when I knew, the visceral sounds and old stinky 90s Toyota interior smell are still fresh on my mind.
It checked off every list my endorphins could come up with, the body curves, turbo noises, BOV sounds, raw feels of brake/steering, and even this one time in the rain the "snap" oversteer. Soon after the Honda was gone and with the BMW as a daily/ family car it was safe to say that the MR2 would be sticking around for a long time and the never-ending pursuit to modify begin.
This MR2 has gone through many different revisions throughout my ownership, and the itch for modification and personalization was inevitable. I originally wanted to keep it very simple and mild with a ridiculous 600hp+ motor but that plan was obviously scrapped long ago. Ive gone through different body variations until I finally landed on my long-time dream kit from Air Walker Japan, which I only recently discovered is still in business. The engine package was also perfected for my application and seemed like a never-ending modification, I went from 3 different versions of the mighty four-cylinder 3SGTE to the very reliable and linear V6 2GRFE which sits right at home and answers all needs/wants of an average Joe like myself could ask for.
To all that haven't had the immersive experience of a mid-engined 2 seater death trap, have you really lived? This car was a bit stressful to take out at times during my early ownership due to the constant overheating engine issues that come with these turbo cars but as I matured I quickly learned that reliability was to always be at the top of the priority list when it came to modification. I truly wish I could sum up the right words that best describe this car while going down the road and is best to get a friend with one and experience it yourself in either seat.
The stares and feedback are great for my little blue car and I'm always open to talking about it, the more questions someone asks the more proud I feel owning it because I feel that am actually engaged and intrigued like I was when I was a kid. The ultimate purpose for how this car evolved is a weekend car event with an occasional track event where I can unlock its potential and experience it at its limit or be honest my limit.
What I think makes my car Unique is seeing an MR2 in general I feel is pretty uncommon and I openly joke about how mine is usually on jack stands 10 months out of the year. What sets my car apart the most from other MR2s the most are the controversial pop headlight delete and unique 3m vinyl wrap color paired with the rare body kit. Deleting the pop-ups was heavy on the heart and ultimately I'm happy with how the car turned out, a big inspiration to the flush mount buckets was the look of one of my all-time favourite JGTC MR2.
What do you think?
Please leave your comments in the comments section at the bottom of the page
- 2GRFE with oil cooler package
- Frankenstein Motor Works 2GR passenger side motor mount
- Frankenstein MotorWorks tuned ECU
- Frankenstein MotorWorks 2GR axel Carrier
- Fidanza Flywheel
- Southbend stage 3 Clutch kit
- Frankenstein MotorWorks DBW Pedal adapter
- Frankenstein MotorWorks Tubular Headers
- Wilhelm Raceworks Y-pipe
- ARC Coolant cap
- LDC Juliet Oil Cap
- Frankenstein MotorWorks Air intake
- Ported lower intake manifold
- Wilhelm Race-works fuel line kit
- E153 Transmission w/ TRD clutch type LSD
- 808 Motorsport CV Axels
- Hux Racing E153 Titanium bolt kit
- Front TRD motor mount
- Fujitsubo Legalis Super Ti exhaust
- AJ Motorsport custom exhaust mid-pipe
- TCS Motorworks modified water neck
- Wilhelm Raceworks E153 transmission oil cooler
- Pro-Bolt titanium hardware throughout
- Custom wiring harness
- Full Air Walker Japan Kit (front, bumper side skirts, and rear bumper)
- Border Japan Hood
- 98 spec Front turn signals
- Ganador Aero mirrors (carbon overlayed)
- Kouki Taillights
- Full 98 specs (thin) body moulding
- Stage21 Japan aero fenders
- 98 spec rear spoiler
- Carbon rear gurney centre blade (Ying Nazian)
- Carbon border japan side mount add-ons
- 3m 1080 vinyl wrap gloss ice blue g247
- Poon Selected Headlight conversion
- Rays TE37 Saga 17x9 +22 front 17x9.5 +22 rear Diamond Dark Gunmetal Metallic
- Nitto NT05 235/40 front 255/40 rear
- Battle Craft Titanium lug nuts
- LDC valve stem caps
- Wilhelm Raceworks Wilwood Big Brake Kit
- 4runner BMC
- Motul 600 brake fluid
- Wilhelm Raceworks Koni Double adjustable coilovers
- Wilhelm Raceworks full suspension geometry correction kit
- TRD sway bars (front/rear)
- Full poly bushing replacement
- Front Carbing Japan strut bar
- HOPR rear strut bar
- RacerX solid subframe bushings
- Recaro SR4 ASM Gold Center Fabric
- Hux Racing shifter assembly
- LDC Tears from the house of capulet shift knob
- Number7 Racing Dry Carbon steering wheel
- LDC Broken Hearts titanium horn coin
- Workswell steering boss hub
- MR2Heaven carbon t-top covers
- 98 spec door sills
- Lexus metal door handles
- MR2heaven Carbon steering column clamshell
- Perforated leather door inserts with red stitching
- Alpine single din head unit
Growing up I always had a knack for turning my own wrenches and always sought to tackle any job involving my cars. From blown head gaskets to simple oil changes I've always wanted and needed to learn. Expanding my knowledge and arsenal of tools was a hobby, to say the least, and very much found it therapeutic.
You haven't experienced true therapy when working on a car like an MR2, you get everything from small/cramped places that require toddler hands to awkward and painful body positions to just getting an alternator or intercooler installed/replaced. Besides the small challenges I still love and live for it honestly, It gives me great pride knowing I built this car with my own 2 hands and that's not to say no one helped along the way, to those that did I'll remind you of the huge thank yous and owe all of you a beer in the near future.
This car for me is finally what I call in its final form/stage. Not fully committing to saying I won't be modifying a few things but more so getting my formula perfect and sound for what I use the car for. A few changes going forward is extracting a few more pounds with more carbon parts and an extra set of wheels to change the look and profile of the car overall. The biggest modification that would eventually come down the line would be a slight bump in power with the addition of Harrop's TVS1900 supercharger that came standard on the Lotus Evora.
The best advice would be to buy now haha! This car is very versatile and reliable once you have the motor on tip-top so don't let my previous experience cloud your judgement. Depending on your height a t-top model versus a hardtop is sacrificing quite a bit of headroom with a helmet on if you plan to track one. Another helpful tip would be to get acquainted with the MR2 groups in your area or through social media, we are a small but very helpful community that takes pride in ownership and will always steer you in the right direction.
Shout out to all the MR2 Facebook communities for keeping the information relevant and informative. Although Facebook isn’t like the old-school forums like MR2oc that we took for granted, it’s still a good place to find answers and stay connected with mr2 owners all around the world. Big shoutout to @ae86_rachet_club for always showing this chassis love and support even though it’s not a 86.
Huge and I mean HUGE shoutout to the photographer @Mr2Mivin and friends alike who have shown love and support to this little blue car, you guys put in the hard work to get this car shared and exposed around the globe and can’t say how appreciative it is to me. Last and definitely not least all the Mr2 owners who have helped me along the way of this build, no matter how big or small this community rocks and what helps keep me engaged with this chassis.
The people and car experiences have been amazing, inspiring, and eye-opening. There's no other feeling to be in the same social bubble of people that share the same passion as you. Once you connect in this field the possibilities and experiences are endless, from car cruises to car shoots, to dropping engines with great people that think alike and everything between. Ive been fortunate enough to experience all of the above with genuine people and look forward to the change and growth to come,
My dream car answer has constantly changed over the years, from an R32 GTR to an NSX and a small variety in between but I always come back to my true dream/love a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. I've always loved and worshipped JDM cars but have always gravitated to Porsches. The reason for the GT3 being my dream car is because It feels right at home to me when comparing it to my MR2, although worlds apart in looks and performance there's something I find similar/familiar in the 2 that just feels right.
Please leave your comments in the comments section at the bottom of the page
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