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2001 Toyota VM180 by Zagato

The Toyota VM180 by Zagato is a rare and unique roadster based on the third-generation Toyota MR2, known as the MR-S in the Japanese market. This collaboration between Toyota and the Italian design house Zagato resulted in a limited production run of 100 units, with the roadster exclusively available in the Japanese market.

The VM180 made its official debut at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show, showcasing a completely redesigned body that deviated significantly from the standard mid-engine roadster styling of the Toyota MR2. Despite sharing the same overall proportions, the VM180 featured enlarged dark-painted headlights, custom-designed bumpers, and taillights that reached lower, giving the mid-engined roadster a more exotic appearance. The front end had a lower nose, aggressively sculpted fenders, and supercar-like intakes, contributing to its distinctive and purposeful look.

The roadster retained certain elements from the factory MR2, such as the windshield, hardtop, and door mirrors. However, the majority of the exterior was redesigned by Zagato, showcasing their unique touch. Notable features included large-diameter wheels, though it's mentioned that the presentation model came with a different set. Some critique was directed towards additional and fake lower vents on the profile that altered the otherwise purposeful appearance.

The interior mostly resembled the original MR2, with several enhancements like sport seats upholstered in red and black leather, a special shifter, a logo on the steering wheel, and an aftermarket screen on the center console. A notable feature was the gated shifter, adding a touch of exclusivity to the driving experience.

Underneath the Italian-designed body, the VM180 retained the regular MR2 chassis with a mid-mounted naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder VVTi engine. The engine was slightly tuned to produce 155 horsepower (116 kW / 158 PS) and 178 Nm (131 lb-ft) of torque. This power was sufficient for the lightweight roadster, which weighed 1,010 kg (2,227 pounds). Power was transmitted to the rear wheels through a five-speed automated manual gearbox.

Despite being around 20 years old, the model featured in the auction had only 40,070 kilometers (24,898 miles) on the odometer, presenting itself in pristine condition. The Toyota VM180 by Zagato stands out as a rare and collectible piece, blending Italian design flair with Japanese engineering and offering a unique twist to the MR2 platform.

Source & Images: Zagato

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