Introduced in 1984, the Toyota MR2 was an economical mid-engine sports car that used fairly conventional tech in a sporty package and had the distinction of being the first mid-engine sports car from Japan. The MR2 was a popular model, with three generations that lasted into 2007. Interestingly, the MR2’s origins date way back to 1976 when it was envisioned as a fun-to-drive economy car. That vision got a lot more sporty on its way to production, thanks in part to a partnership with Lotus to develop its steering and suspension. The second-generation MR2 was more refined and powerful, while the final generation (debuting in 2000) was available with a Spider/Cabrio body style. The final iteration of the MR2 had considerable weight savings for stronger performance with its 138 hp 1.8L all-aluminum 4-cyl engine. Interestingly, 3rd-gen MR2s were available with an SMT semi-automated manual transmission that was controlled by steering wheel paddles – an early example of such a transmission.