Even though it might appear a small uncommon now, the Toyota Sports 800 was the 1st production sports automobile ever produced by the Japanese marque. This implies that it is the good-grandfather of the 2000GT, Supra, Celica, MR2, AE86, the contemporary GT86, and even the Lexus LFA.
The cleverly created Sports 800 featured a lightweight physique with a quantity of lightweight alloy panels, it had seating for two, a removable targa leading roof, spritely handling, outstanding fuel economy, and a leading speed of 94 mph. It even claimed a handful of motorsport victories in Japan in the 1960s.
Quick Details – The Toyota Sports 800
- The Toyota Sports 800 was Toyota’s 1st production sports automobile. The project started in 1962 when Toyota released the notion car, recognized as the Publica Sports. It was 1st displayed at the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show, featuring a sliding canopy roof and a compact, aerodynamic style.
- The Toyota Sports 800 was equipped with a 790cc, two-cylinder, horizontally opposed air-cooled engine, derived from the Toyota Publica compact automobile. The engine, named the 2U-B, created 45 bhp and 46 lb ft of torque. This lightweight engine, along with the car’s low curb weight of about 580 kgs (1,279 lbs), permitted for agile handling and a leading speed of just about one hundred mph
- The Toyota Sports 800 was officially launched in 1965, with production operating till 1969. For the duration of this time, around three,131 units have been created. The majority of these automobiles have been sold in Japan, with incredibly handful of exported.
- About ten% of the production run was produced in left hand drive for use on Okinawa (and the US military bases there), and 40 have been exported to the USA for testing, even though eventually it was decided not to import the automobile into the USA for sale.
Toyota’s 1st Sports Automobile
The Toyota Sports 800 was 1st unveiled as a notion automobile at the 1962 Tokyo Motor Show. The notion, known as the “Publica Sports,” was created by Shozo Sato, a renowned Japanese industrial designer, and Toyota engineer Tatsuo Hasegawa – a former WWII aircraft designer.
Above Video: This episode from Under The Radar covers the uncommon Toyota Sports 800, which includes a rundown on the history of the automobile and some driving footage.
The notion automobile was primarily based on Toyota’s Publica, an economical and economical compact automobile somewhat equivalent in philosophy to the contemporary Toyota Corolla. The Publica Sports notion garnered considerable focus, paving the way for Toyota to create a production version of the car.
The Toyota Sports 800 Officially Arrives
Toyota started complete-scale production of the Sports 800 in April 1965, with the 1st automobiles reaching shoppers in May well of that identical year. The production model retained considerably of the style and styling of the Publica Sports notion, featuring a sleek and aerodynamic physique with a low and wide stance.
One particular important adjust from the earlier notion was the roof and doors. Whereas the Publica Sports had a fighter aircraft style sliding canopy roof (most likely inspired by Hasegawa’s aircraft operate through WWII) the production automobile had two typical doors and a removable targa leading roof – 1 of the 1st automobiles with this function.
Powering the Toyota Sports 800 was an air-cooled, two-cylinder boxer engine with a displacement of 790cc. This tiny engine, designated the 2U-B, was derived from the Publica’s 697cc water-cooled twin-cylinder engine.
With the aid of dual carburetors, extra displacement, and a larger compression ratio, the 2U-B created 45 bhp, a considerable raise more than the Publica’s 28 bhp. The engine was mated to a 4-speed manual transmission, driving the rear wheels.
One particular of the most exceptional elements of the Toyota Sports 800 was its lightweight building. The car’s outer physique was produced mainly of aluminum and the inner unibody shell was produced from a thinner gauge steel, which helped maintain the all round weight to just 580 kgs (1,279 lbs).
This lightweight style, combined with the car’s excellent aerodynamics and it is modest but peppy engine permitted the Sports 800 to reach impressive overall performance and fuel efficiency by the requirements of the time, with some owners claiming as considerably as 73 mpg.
The Toyota Sports 800 was created in restricted numbers, with only around three,131 units constructed in between 1965 and 1969. In spite of its restricted production, the Sports 800 accomplished considerable accomplishment on the racetrack.
The Toyota Sports 800 In Motorsport
In 1966, a pair of Sports 800s participated in the Suzuka 500 km endurance race, with 1 of them finishing 1st in the race’s fuel economy category.
Later in the 1967 Fuji 24 Hour race the Toyota impressed the globe with a 1-two-3 finish, with a Sports 800 finishing in third spot right after a pair of Toyota 2000GTs.
The Sports 800 also took a victory in the 1965 All-Japan Clubman Championship Race, a exceptional feat offered the surge in homegrown compact sports automobile competitors in the 1960s.
America And The Sports 800
Interestingly just about all of the production examples of the Toyota Sports 800 have been constructed in proper hand drive for the domestic Japanese industry. It is believed that roughly 300 left hand drive versions have been produced for use in Okinawa, a Japanese island that hosted a substantial US military base and as a outcome tended to choose left hand drive automobiles.
40 of these left hand drive automobiles have been exported to the USA for evaluation by American Toyota dealers and it was commonly felt that the automobile was as well modest for American roads and most likely wouldn’t sell nicely. Toyota agreed and left the 40 automobiles there for the dealers to maintain, not extended right after this in 1967 the Toyota 2000GT would be unveiled, with styling clearly influenced by the earlier Toyota Sports 800, and it would be provided for sale in the USA.
The flat-twin engine configuration made use of in the Sports 800 was largely overlooked by Toyota in the decades right after the automobile left production in October of 1969, that was till the Toyota GT86 was unveiled in 2013 featuring a flat-4 engine co-created with Subaru.
Seeking back at the unbelievable quantity of Toyota sports automobiles released more than the decades it is exceptional to appear back and comprehend that the Japanese automotive behemoth’s incredibly 1st sports automobile was such a modest and uncommon affair. Just ten% of the original quantity are believed to survive, and just about all of them stay in Japan with a handful of exceptions.
The 1967 Toyota Sports 800 Shown Right here
The automobile you see right here is 1 of the original proper hand drive Japanese-industry automobiles that was imported into the United States incredibly not too long ago, in February of 2023 in truth. It is completed in silver more than blue upholstery with a colour-matching removable targa leading, vertical front and rear bumpers, 13″ alloy wheels, and 165/60 Bridgestone Playz tires.
There’s clearly some patina, especially on the inside of the automobile, as nicely as some bodywork troubles that would require to be addressed, so this need to most likely most effective be viewed as an historically considerable, drivable project automobile.
It is presently getting listed for sale out of Portland, Oregon with a tool kit and a clean Washington title on Bring a Trailer. If you’d like to study extra about it or register to bid you can take a look at the listing right here.
Pictures courtesy of Bring a Trailer.
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