In the spring of 1995, a large cargo ship cut through the fog one morning and arrived at a pier in California. A gigantic crane hoisted crates into the dock of the U.S. Customs official port of entry shipping area. The aluminum bolts were cut off the door of the large steel crate and as the inspector flipped the lock, the door opened the world of the united states to one of the last set of Toyota MR2's to ever make it across the sea. The sunlight danced across the back deck and illuminated it's round tail lights. It's glossy Yellow body reflected a warm glow into the inspectors eyes. He peered in the window as he wrote his report. It's still odometer read 000001 . He took his paperwork and smiled slightly at the car. Welcome to the United States he chuckled. The door closed and so did a part of history for one of the most underrated and most exciting exotic sports cars of all time.
The articles in the motor magazines finally could stop nit picking over the small imperfections of this wonderful car. The people could stop fretting it's price or it's small size. Criticism would again overshadow creativity and fun. Toyota would make everyday people cars for years to come.... Plane, predictable, conservative and mostly U.S. Market friendly. Forever a void... for the wild at heart.
Nearly 5 years later on America's independence day, 16 stunning Toyota MR2's met at a performance shop in Englewood Colorado. Smiling faces and colorful mid-engines put the passion back into the souls of many proud owners. We lined up bumper to bumper for almost two blocks. At 11:30 the keys turned and a most glorious sound bellowed from thousands of horsepower beneath a sea of mister two's.
The signal was given at 11:33. The last door had been shut, the last seat belt snapped into place. 64 wheels turned the excitement on overdrive for the drives and passengers alike.
We ripped down to interstate 25, north to sixth. Up to the rocky mountains we climbed. Today we celebrated our independence, the freedom to enjoy our countries beauty from the seat of a cool MR2.
Pulling out of Golden, at the turn into a canyon we saw a new friend waiting by the road side. A 1994 Yellow MR2 Turbo. The car raced into our ranks and we took off into the hills . Now away from the common traffic we had fun dancing with the corners and taking in the magnificent views. Mile after mile we were blessed with wonderful weather and well paved roads.
Myself , I enjoyed the wonderful growl of my hopped up 92 N/a. Like many in the group I had spent much time tunning the MR2 and removing the minor flaws that the car magazines so cursed. With a wonderful woman by my side, many friends and good people having fun in there cars all around me, blue skies and the sunlight cascading through the miles of pine trees, I not only felt freedom but true happiness, the kind that all the money in the world cannot buy. What more could I ask for.... I think we could all say we love what this Toyota does for us.
Entering Nederland we were again welcomed by hundreds of people enjoying their 4th Of July parade. We had driven down this same street last year at about the same time and always get behind the parade down main street. People cheered as we drove by (I think they think we are a part of the deal now ). I know somehow we will get into their history books (at least a photo) .
Turning east again we stopped next to the Dam outside of Boulder canyon. We parked side by side and hopped out to take some pictures. It was quite a sight with all years and colors of MR2's . Just as colorful were all the owners; Various ages and backgrounds they were every bit as dynamic as the machines they choose to drive. Many of our sites featured cars were there including Bret Devall's (Armageddon) Black N/a, Andy Beitz's (Tempest) white Turbo and Frank Jermance's now truly (Unlimited) 300hp Silver turbo; compleat with a set of slotted rotors, a new upgraded turbo and a world class racer suspension. All and all every car there was a head turner. Of all the Tours we have had, next to the National rally of 98' this was the best of the best.
I took the lead for the last limb of our drive that lead us through the beautiful Boulder canyon. The rushing river and towering canyon walls were a real treat. We turned many heads along the way and even picked up a extra MR2 MKI that turned around after seeing us on his drive.
The trip though Boulder (city) was pretty basic, other than the looks of people out for the days. You couldn't help but smile when people pointed and smiled or rushed up to curb side to get a better view.
We locked up with highway 36 and went into Arvada where we said our good bye's to some in the parking lot of an Old Chicago restaurant. Those who stayed enjoyed a great time chatting with fellow two owners and sharing stories and pizza. We were all like a big family, just getting together for a reunion.
To think one type car did all of this. Over four years since the last MR2 set foot on U.S. shores it's exotic charm still haunts us, it's curvy lines still intrigue us, it's power and handling still excites us. Many cars have come and gone but so very few still spark the fire in the hearts of the wild. The MR2 is an amazing machine, one that to me is a timeless classic. Any car that can bring such happiness to it's owners even as much as 14 years later is so much more than the metal it is made of, it represents the wheels of time, the joy of simplicity, the freedom of expression and the power behind you to take you through whatever curves lie ahead.
Till next time, keep the engine behind you and the shiny side up :)
~ Jesse James
92 Blue N/A