One of the tastiest and quickest Thais around. We’re not talking tom yum soup or red curry, rather a titanium-clad 666whp Street Warrior MR2 Turbo…
What is it that causes us to lust after having the only one of its kind in the world? Is it that magic allure of rarity? Knowing we have the only one makes it, and by default, us, more special. Or is it the human instinct that we want to shine or be somewhat different among the crowd? There’s a certain appeal with going against the grain of society from time to time.
In regards to cars, we modify our cars to stand out among the sea of horrid ecoboxes. For us enthusiasts, the way we modify our cars is the perfect way of expressing our individualism. So, to understand why Smicha Momm Thira had such high aspirations for his 1992 Toyota MR2 SW20, all you have to do is spend a couple hours with Momm and hear his story out.
Momm has been expressing himself through cars for well over 20 years and has always sought to have one of the more unique, and powerful, cars to roam the streets of Bangkok. The Thai government is incredibly strict on imports and enforces a severe penalty on cars and parts, to encourage people to buy inside Thailand and stimulate their economy. Due to this, a lot of enthusiasts turn to Hondas and one of Momm’s first cars was a Civic EG6 that was pushing around 400whp to the front tires. Even by today’s standards, that is an absurd amount of power for a FWD car to handle.
Realising this, Momm wanted his next platform to not only handle that kind of power, but be able to take corners for those late-night drives around the highway that loops around Bangkok in a similar way the Shutoku loops around Tokyo. Thus, the MR2’s mid-engine and rear-wheel drive platform made for an excellent candidate. Right away there was one major concern Momm had about his SW20. The weight. “Being around 1,300kgs, the car is pretty heavy,” he says. “So I wanted to make sure everything I add to it is strong, but lightweight as well.”
Heavy usually isn’t the word that comes to mind when you think about the small Japanese car, but Momm was after a crazy power-to weight ratio goal. So there’s more titanium on this SW20 than most of us have ever seen! Almost everything you can think of is titanium.
The custom 6-point rollcage made by Preacher Header & Turbo is titanium. The wheel lugs that hold the three-piece 18-inch S1 Work wheels wrapped in sticky Toyo R888 are titanium. The rods that hold the rear diffuser and massive Custom GT wing in place are titanium. Every bolt and fastener is made of titanium and we can only assume that the amount of titanium used on this SW20 cost more than the car did when Momm picked it up.
On the subject of fasteners, the titanium fasteners attach a rather unique custom bodykit. Since the SW20 doesn’t have the aftermarket support for a unique wide bodykit, his friend, who owns Garage Unique, made Momm his very own Street Warrior wide bodykit, which radically alters the overall look of the SW20. The Tein mono flex struts and Swift springs (7k in the front, 11k in the rear) make sure the car sits right and dramatically improves the handling.
Six-pot Endless racing brake callipers and 330mm rotors up front provide adequate stopping power that is required now the power plant that sits behind Momm has become an absolute monster.
A peak under the hood instantly reveals more titanium, and a huge BorgWarner EFR 8374 turbocharger system that hides the 3SGTE inline four. The 3SGTE has been worked over and now has Eagle connecting rods, Arias pistons, HKS camshaft, larger valve springs and retainers. And APR rods and head studs to make sure it’s all sealed and can handle the 1.7 bar of boost.
The stock transmission is still matted to the 3SGTE while the Cusco LSD makes sure all power is transmitted from the engine to the rear tyres. At low boost, Momm can access around 500whp, but at the push of a button, all 666whp is at the mercy of Momm’s right foot.
At the time of our shoot, Momm had just finished the eight-month process of putting his engine back together and hadn’t had the time to tune it fully for full boost. But the way that low boost pins you against the Bride Venus seats after reaching 4,000rpm, we can only imagine full boost will be the literal definition of awesome. After a quick pull, he told us he still isn’t satisfied and wants to hit a target of around 750hp.
A look inside reveals a host of Defi gauges. That styling of multiple gauges is hugely popular in Thailand, however Momm is looking at replacing them with GReddy’s new lineup. The two gauges in the centre dash reveal the air temperatures before entering the intercooler and afterwards. A lot of heat is generated from the turbocharger and making sure sufficient air can reach the intercoolers in the rear is always a challenge for mid-engine vehicles – a problem Momm has experienced in the past. Thus he is always paying attention to those two gauges making sure the air temperature after the intercooler is below 50°C. Wanting for a more reliable read out, Momm has installed an AIM MXS Strada Dash.
The entire build has taken roughly two years and like all project cars is still experiencing changes to make it a little bit better here and there. Momm set out to make the most unique MR2 the world has seen and he has more than well accomplished this goal. In fact, we’d go as far to say that his MR2 is one of the more unique cars in general that the world has ever seen.
He tells us that he did have a lot of support through both his Liberate Team and MR2 Club in Thailand, which helped him in his time of need, encouraging him to take his project to the next level, turning some wrenches and helping to build custom parts. And that neatly sums up the car culture in Thailand that we experienced. The enthusiasts of Thailand are all out to show the world their individualistic styling and put Thailand on the map.
“Thailand is filled with great car people,” says Momm. “And they all really want to show that Thailand has a rich and deep car culture just like Japan, the US and Europe.” Well Momm, we think that’s mission accomplished.
TECH SPEC: TOYOTA MR2 TURBO
3SGTE; Arias pistons; Eagle rods; Mishimoto rad; titanium fasteners: Masterpiece Automotive; HKS cams (272 , 9.4 lift); oversized valves: EX valve springs; Brian Crower titanium vale spring retainers; ARP head studs and rod bolts; Kometic gasket; Walbro 400LPH fuel; Sard fuel rail; Blitz air filter; Sard regulator; BorgWarner EFR 8374 turbo; Preacher intake manifold; GReddy intercooler with Preacher custom piping; Preacher titanium and aluminium intake manifold; Preacher header, downpipe, dual titanium muffler and exhaust system; GReddy Type R wastegate; Megan Racing short shifter; ORC twin plate clutch; eClutchmaster flywheel; Cusco limited slip differential; Preacher axles; 3UZ-FE throttle bodies; Link Extreme ecu; TRD dress up caps.
Tein Mono Flex struts and shocks; Swift springs; Ultra Racing antiroll bars; prothane urethane bushing; Tein adjusting ball joint alignment kit; Cusco front strut bar; Endless Racing 6-pot front and 4-pot rear callipers, 330mm front and 320mm rear rotors, Endless pads; Work S1 three piece wheels, 9.5×18 (f), 12×18 (r); Toyo R888R 265/25×18 (f) and Toyo R888 335/30×18 (r); Preacher custom 6-point titanium roll cage.
Muk delight orange respray; Garage Unique Street Warrior wide bodykit; Garage Unique 180cm GT wing; Border bonnet; Bomex engine cover; POON headlights; Ganador side mirrors; Mazterpiece Automotive titanium fasteners and bolts.
AIM MXS Strada Dash; 6x Defi gauges; GReddy Sirius Unify boost gauge; Defi Racer 80mm tachometer; AEM A/F meter; GReddy Profec 8k boost controller with remote; Bride Venus Japan seats; Takata 4-point harnesses; King of Vertex steering wheel; TRD 300km cluster speed meter; TRD shifter.
Liberate Team and MR2 Club Thailand; Preacher Header & Turbo; Street Warrior Custom Body Parts; Garage Unique; Work Wheels Thailand; NoiEleven; Addzest Car Color; Mazterpiece Automotive.
Words & Photography Ron Cesletine