A Toyota MR2 with an identity crisis
watch a mutated Toyota MR2 tear up a rally course
The first generation Toyota MR2 was an instant hit when it first launched in Japan in 1984. It was a blast to drive thanks to it's mid-engine layout and lack of weight, but still cheap and economical enough to use as a daily driver.
Its small size and relatively weak engine didn't make it suitable for a whole lot of motorsports though. It would take a lot of modifications to be able to hang with the established order of bigger, more powerful cars like the Skyline, Celica and Supra. Instead of pursuing a career as a circuit monster, the MR2 turned into a fan favorite for Gymkhana events. Its excellent handling capabilities were perfect for zipping around a closed off parking lot, especially combined with a healthy dose of turbocharging.
The MR2 quickly became an icon in the Gymkhana scene
That didn't stop Toyota themselves from trying to take the MR2 far out of its comfort zone. Some extreme prototypes were made of the MR2, now dubbed the 222D, for the upcoming Group S rules in the World Rally Championship, a category set to replace the already insane group B cars. But with the cancellation of Group B and S in 1987 it never got a chance to race.
Seemingly inspired by Toyota, some drivers decided to follow in their footsteps and modify their MR2s into rally cars as well. Countless examples exist but none are as crazy, unique and insane as the Falken Ikenuma
It started out its life as a regular MR2 but it eventually changed identity a couple of times thanks to its tube frame front end. Instead of dressing the frame up again with an MR2 front bumper and front fenders, the owner instead decided to make his car look like a BMW M1. Cause why the hell not?
But not even the outside can prepare you for the engineering insanity that can be found inside the car. Normally the MR2 is powered by a 1.6L 4A-GE engine positioned right behind right behind the driver. The Ikenuma however has been engine swapped and is powered by a souped up 3S-GTE engine producing 254 horsepower at 9500 rpm.
The bigger engine needs a place to sit so it's located right next to the driver making the car even more mid-engined than it already was. This was also done to make a 4 wheel drive configuration possible
The Falken Ikenuma ended up competing in the All Japan Dirt Trial championship as a Class D entry, a category filled with cars adhering to very little rules. Some examples are a mid-engined Nissan R32 Skyline and a Twin engined Suzuki cultus driven by the famous Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima. Class D was sort of like the Japanese version of Group B.
Sadly not a lot of video footage of the Ikenuma can be found, just one video to be precise. In it it seems the the car has changed identity once again featuring the front end of a Nissan 180SX instead. See for yourself.
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