Toyota Reminds Us About Its Past Experimental Vehicles

Toyota Classic 10 photos
Photo: wikimedia
Toyota SeraToyota ClassicToyota OriginToyota OriginToyota OriginToyota WiLL ViToyota WiLL ViToyota SeraToyota Mega Cruiser
You probably know Toyota for being the number one automotive manufacturer, for making your Camry daily driver, the affordable GT 86/Scion FR-S sportscar and popularizing hybrid cars. But as that uncle coming at each family meeting appearing totally normal, Toyota has some weird things in its portfolio.
To remind us of that, Toyota’s UK Official Blog made a list of the automaker’s five most bizarre vehicles, which we’ll also talk about here in their order of appearance.

1990 Sera

The Toyota Sera was unveiled at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show. Basically, it’s a two seater sportscar based on the Starlet platform, powered by a 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine. But if this is nothing spectacular, maybe the amount of visibility it offered will blow you away.

The coupe was fitted with butterfly doors, but unlike today’s supercars with such doors, the windows were wrapped around more on the roof and only a smart portion of them was rollable to let air in.

1996 Mega Cruiser

Yep, Toyota had its own Hummer. The Mega Cruiser was developed for the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force at first and then followed Schwarzenegger’s example and became a passenger vehicle in 1996.

This brick on wheels was 5 meters long, had a 3,390 mm wheelbase and was powered by a 4.1-liter 4-cylinder direct injection turbocharged diesel engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission that was linked to all four wheels. It surely had a better mileage than Arnie’s army cruiser.

1996 Toyota Classic

At the time Toyota was celebrating its 60th anniversary, the company decided to make a modern vehicle to remind people of the very first Model AA which launched the automaker in the automotive business.

That’s how the Classic model got born. Most of its design style was borrowed from the AA, while the underpinnings were belonging to the Toyota Hilux pickup. Power was provided by a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine making 98 hp, and despite it’s classy interior with wood trimmings and a wooden three-spoke steering wheel, the car was equipped with all modernities of the time.

2000 Will Vi

In 1999, several Japanese companies started the WiLL project, aimed to create youth-oriented products. For Toyota, the project got materialized as Vi and launched in 2000.

The Vi’s neo-retro look was borrowing some design cues from the Mazda Carol, Ford Anglia and Citroen Ami, resulting in a dubious shaped compact car that looked like a hatchback with an added exterior trunk. Power was coming from a 1.3 liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission.

2000 Origin

When Toyota produced the 100 millionth vehicle, it decided to celebrate big time, thus creating the unique Origin luxury sedan.

As with the Classic model, the Origin was paying tribute to the classic Crown and was styled accordingly. It was hand-built by master craftsmen at Kanto Auto Works in Japan and it was fitted rear suicide doors, wood and leather interior trimming.

Power was coming from a 3-liter 2JZ-GE six-cylinder (yeah, the one in the Supra too) coupled to a 4-speed automatic gearbox. After the first one was made, Toyota made 999 more to complete a 1,000-car series, each costing ¥7 million (~$69,000).
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