Budget Direct Renders the Evolution of 7 Timeless Models
There is no shortage of car models in the auto industry these days. Some models have gained followings while others have become flashes in the pan. Then there are the titans of the business, the models that have lasted the test of time and have been around, literally, for generations. In the course of their respective lifetimes, these models have evolved in more ways than one, none more evident than their designs. These seven models have been around for so long their designs have evolved considerably from when they first came out. Knowing their place in the business, these models are unlikely to go away anytime soon.
There have been cars built in Japan for quite a long time, but the Japanese automotive industry as we know it today is a much more recent phenomenon. Prior to WWII, the cars built in Japan were mainly foreign companies setting up local manufacturing operations. Japanese companies really tackled new cars themselves after the war, but for a long time, they were only building cheap economy cars, and most of the designs were copies of older cars from foreign manufactures. Sports cars were tiny things with engines under 1 liter and were produced in very small quantities.
All of this historical context is important because it helps to show just how big of a revolutionary moment it was in 1965 when Toyota first showed the 2000GT at the Tokyo Motor Show. The car actually started out as a partnership between Nissan and Yamaha, but when Nissan decided to pass on the Yamaha design, it was just taken over to Toyota. Even among Japanese manufacturers at the time, Toyota was a pretty conservative company. But the company brass recognized the 2000GT as an opportunity to shake up its image, and maybe even change the way that people outside of Japan looked at Japanese cars in general.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1967 Toyota 2000GT.
In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the Japanese sports car market was still in its infancy. A number of sports models had been sold in Japan, including some supremely excellent ones like the 1967-1970 Toyota 2000GT, but Japan was still mostly known to the rest of the world for its small economy cars. But two cars would come along that would usher in an era of Japanese sport compacts that would raise the status of the entire country’s automotive industry. The first of these was the 1969-1978 Datsun 240Z in 1969, followed just a couple of years later by the Toyota Celica, in 1971.
The accompanying video for this article shows Jay Leno talking to a Toyota representative about the car. He calls the Celica Toyota’s first sports car, which isn’t strictly true. Both the Sports 800 and the 2000GT predate the Celica, but the Celica was the first mass-market Toyota sports car to be sold outside of Japan. The nameplate would live on until 2006, and continues on in spirit with the Scion tC. But more importantly, the Supra nameplate would get its start as a sub-model of the Celica, one of a few versions of the Celica that could hold its own against much more expensive sports cars with much bigger engines.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1970–1977 Toyota Celica.
The Toyota Supra was designed to be a sporting machine that could compete with many of the major powerhouses of the day, but it wasn’t until the fourth generation Supra bowed in 1993, that the car gained its status as one of the all-time greats.
It featured an all-new exterior design that was more aerodynamic and much sportier looking than its predecessor. Gone were the sharp edges and pop-up headlamps to be replaced with long smooth curves. Along with the new look, the car also went on a diet losing 200 pounds or more, depending on the trim level.
As is the case with almost all major changes, fans of the car were worried Toyota was softening the intentions of the car. That was until they turned the key on the new drivetrains. While everyone thought Toyota was creating a friendlier, slower Supra, what it actually created was a supercar-eating monster that would grow into a cult icon.
Click past the jump to read more about the 1993 - 1998 Toyota Supra.
When the third-generation Toyota Supra made its debut, it came with a lot of firsts for the model. The most important was Toyota’s decision to finally develop the Supra as its own stand-alone sports car, free from any tie-ups between the Celica. It was a risk that Toyota took because the Supra had become so successful that it finally needed to stand on its own four wheels and shine. In addition to that, the third generation was also the first time that Supra didn’t come in the full-on fastback look that the first two generations did. While still retaining some of the basic design, the third-gen Supra’s length was cut by 1.6 inches but was wider by an inch, making for a stouter appearance than its elongated predecessors.
An oft-overlooked fact about the third-generation Supra is that Toyota initially slated it for release in the early 1986 model year, but production delays pushed it back to May 1986. This meant that there were actually two wholly different Supras available in the same model year, so the MK III Supra used the 1986.5 model year designation for clarity.
It was with the third-generation model that the world finally started to recognize the Supra was one of Toyota’s best works. The version lasted for a little over five years, quickly becoming one of the most sought-after Japanese sports cars in the market at that time.
Click past the jump to read more about the 1986.5 - 1992 Toyota Supra.
**Note** Our software does not recognize half model years, so please do not hate us in the comments because we listed this as a "1986" model in the title.
The relative success of the first-generation Supra left Toyota with a huge task on its hands. It wasn’t enough to just build on the popularity of the sports car; the company had to exceed it with the new version. So in a lot of ways, the second-generation Supra was created to make sure that it wasn’t a flash-in-the-pan model.
The model ran from 1982 to 1986 and in that time, the Supra evolved and underwent a handful of changes, resulting in the model that cemented the Supra’s place in history as one of Toyota’s finest sports cars.
In the North American market, the second generation Supra, which was still known as the Celica XX in Japan, came in two different versions: Performance Type (P-Type) and Luxury Type (L-Type). Both versions were roughly identical to each other, except for some noticeable changes to the aesthetics and the available technology contained in the models.
The success of the second-generation Toyota Supra turned a lot of people into fans of the sports car, elevating its stature in the eyes of many as one of the best sports cars of its time. It even caught the attention of Motor Trend and Car and Driver, two magazines that awarded the Supra with their own honors, including MT’s "Import Car of the Year" and Car and Driver’s "Top Ten Best List" in 1983 and 1984.
Click past the jump to read more about the 1982 - 1986 Toyota Supra.
Back in the the 1970’s, the Celica was fighting the good sports car fight for Toyota as rival models, particularly the Nissan 240Z, burst into the scene. But it wasn’t until the latter part of that decade when Toyota decided to ramp up its efforts in the sports car market. That’s when the Toyota Supra was born. Based on the Celica until its third incarnation, the Supra became the sports car Toyota put up against some of the best its rivals had to offer. It’s popularity grew to such great lengths that the Japanese automaker even created a new logo just for the Supra.
The Toyota Supra may no longer exist and even with reports of its revival bubbling in the surface for years now, we can always look fondly at the first-generation Supra and say "that’s where it all began."
Click past the jump to read more about the 1979 - 1981 Toyota Supra.
What is the TLC ICON?
Die-hard Suv enthusiasts will be more than pleased to know that the classic Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 "with all its character, simplicity, and genuine utility" is yet again available through automotive classic remaker TLC. TLC , based in California, will build these classic SUV’s exclusively and with a limited quantity for a hefty price tag : $88,000. These vehicles should be accounted for very quickly because of the cult like following of the Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40.