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This is Probably The Strangest Toyota MR2 You’ve Ever Seen

Is this rare, mid-engine, Japanese sports car worth the asking price?

There aren’t many cars that offer a mid-engine layout at an affordable price. The Toyota MR2 is one of the last to do so, despite the last generation (1999-2007) lacking the previous one’s Ferrari-inspired design language. Motor1 recently covered a VM180 Zagato – one of only 100 made – that was auctioned off in Japan. No, we are acquainting you with another rare version – the MR2 Caserta by Modellista – of which 150 were made, and now, one is listed for sale at Eclection Specialty Auto Sales.

This is Probably The Strangest Toyota MR2 You've Ever Seen
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The front end is reminiscent of another Italian car
The MR2 Caserta resembles a Fiat Barchetta from the front

Just like its Zagao counterpart – the VM180 – the Caserta (named after a province in Southern Italy) is based on the third-generation Toyota MR2. The car is finished in bright red exterior color, which further accentuates the Ferrari inspiration. The front end is much rounder than the donor car and reminds us of the Fiat Barchetta – another compact roadster from the 1990s. In fact, we are pretty sure it uses the same trunk (frunk) lid as the Fiat Barchetta.

Looking at it from the side and the rear, the MR2 Caserta has drawn a lot of inspiration from the Ferrari 360 Spyder. It becomes even more apparent when you see the air inlets on the rear fenders. As for the rear, it features round taillights, also adopted from the Ferrari 360 design (I think it looks more like a McLaren F1).

This is Probably The Strangest Toyota MR2 You've Ever Seen
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With the Caserta, you could get a standard interior or the optional, two-tone luxury interior. This one has the latter, which includes leather seats, with leather seats, doors, dashboard, aluminum shifter, and seatbelts that match the interior.

A

s for the car’s mechanicals, nothing really stands out. It uses the stock 1.8-liter, inline-four mill that makes 138 horsepower (103 kilowatts) and 126 pound-feet (171 Nm).

A five-speed manual was available, but this particular one has a five-speed automated manual unit. With the automated manual, the 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) time is 8.2 seconds – over half a second slower than with the manual.

Engine 1.8-liter, inline-four
Power 138 HP
Torque 126 LB-FT
0 to 60 mph 8.2 seconds
Transmission five-speed automated
This is Probably The Strangest Toyota MR2 You've Ever Seen
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Nothing of the original car’s exterior has remained
It also featured Ferrari-360-like air inlets on the rear fenders

According to the dealership, this particular one is #16 out of 150 and has 37,000 kilometers (22,990 miles) on the odometer. The dealer is asking $47,000 Canadian (approx. $37,310), which is what a Mustang GT goes for. Although, with its stock 1.8-liter mill, it’s far from being a performance car bargain, it’s a neat, dependable, mid-engine sports car, with a bespoke body, of which only 150 were made.

Source: Eclection Specialty Auto Sales

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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