Something Old, Something New...
The year is 1989. Gas is ninety cents a gallon and "Back to the Future" has just released in theatres. Sunrise peaks through the billowing smokestacks above Milwaukee. And the faint sound of an idling engine can be heard as the synthesizer intesifies... Marshall snaps out of his daydream. The year is 2019? He feathers the throttle, as his AW11 comes alive, the Supercharged 4AGE whining to redline towards Wisconsin Steel.
Looking at this AW11 MR2, there is something to be said about its tasteful simplicity. And a car does says a lot about its driver. Whether through wild innovation, or careful reservation. Marshall Farthing may have only acquired this gem last year, but he is no stranger to the platform. His previous vehicle being a red 1988 MR2, also supercharged. But his collection does not stop there. He keeps two other supercharged MR2s in storage. Did we mention that they're all supercharged? Because they are. Supercharged.
But contrary to most self-proclaimed purists, this AW11 does have it's non-original quirks. Particularly, the 90s, 7-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system. "It added two high end speakers to the original door cards, two directly behind the seats, two above the seats, and another sub-woofer under the passenger seat", Marshall details. "In total, it has two front dash speakers, two door speakers, two speakers behind the head rests, four speakers in the B-Pillar above the seats, and two 12" sub-woofers." Didn't see that coming, did ya? And with the system being fully functional, why ruin a good thing?
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it's no wonder that as a photographer, Marshall knows how to capture the right angles of his MR2 as shown throughout the feature. His favorite of which, he says, is a straight shot of the rear, in quintessential 80's fashion.
When asked why he decided to name his build, "Project GR", his answer made a great deal of sense. "The idea came from my love for FIA WEC," Marshall explains. Toyota Gazoo Racing has had a very successful racing heritage. And the Gazoo Racing sub-brand was launched in Japan a few years back in three trims...GR Sport, GR, and GRMN. These highlighted more aggressive styling, suspension, and engine performance through the trims.
He details the events which led to the project, and not to our surprise, some of the best ideas involve good friends and a little liquid courage. "After early rumors of the 2020 Supra being released in the states as the 'GR Supra', I decided to give it a go of what I believe a "Gazoo Racing MR2" could be like if Gazoo Racing existed 30 years ago."
As a retro enthusiast, when asked what Marshall sees making a comeback in automotive culture, Marshall laments on the simple, yet quirky 80's and 90's modified cars a la "Radwood"... "and it is AWESOME." As for disliked, he was modest in pleading the fifth. For non-Americans, that means invoking your right to silence...never mind.
Looking into the future, Marshall plans on a new phase of his Project GR build, which we imagine incorporates even more 80's nostalgia goodness. His philosophy towards bolt-on tuning, leaves the option of reverting back to the original setup at anytime. When Marshall doesn't see what he needs for his project, he builds them. And this is what he marks as the focus of "Phase II", which is ongoing into next year.
When asked for parting words, Marshall says, "Autocross your MR2. You will not regret it."