Like almost every other car manufacturer, Toyota has presented dozens of study models over the years that never came to production versions. A number of these design studies have not been shown before, including the Toyotas that play the leading role in this article.
The American department of Toyota’s design branch – CALTY Design Research – is celebrating its 50th anniversary with, among other things, this Toyota Baby Lunar Cruiser. Among other things, indeed. The studio is also releasing the photos of a set of design proposals that it has never shown to the world before.
The first of these is the oldest of the bunch. In 1974, CALTY Design Research put together a 1:5 scale model of a new off-roader based on the then current Land Cruiser FJ40. The model was shown to Toyota executives, but it never led to a production model. The fact that CALTY not only focused on cars, but also encouraged its designers to think more broadly, is evident from, among other things, a design sketch of a caravan written down in 1975.
In 1983, CALTY conjured up the MX-1: a futuristic-looking mid-engine supercar with butterfly doors. CALTY envisioned an absolute top model from Toyota, but that also did not reach the production stage. Not much later, the MX-1 evolved into the MX-2. The Toyota MX-2 was a true racer with butterfly doors, a mid-engine and a body made entirely of glass fiber reinforced plastic. Nice detail: the steering wheel was ‘slidable’, making the car both left- and right-hand drive. The MX-2 also did not arrive. The MX-1 and MX-2 were mainly intended for experimenting with new ideas.
A more concrete design proposal that didn’t make it to the production stage concerns the Supra. The red coupe, which is somewhat reminiscent of the second generation Mitsubishi Eclipse, was CALTY’s design proposal for the fourth generation Supra. However, the Supra A80 dried completely differently.
The funniest and also youngest of the group of previously unseen design proposals is the NYC Concept that was conceived in 2012 for Toyota’s existing sub-brand Scion. The Scion NYC Concept was intended as a futuristic city car and had a crazy appearance. The bright green Scion looks like a modern interpretation of the Nissan S-Cargo with its short, low snout, high passenger compartment and upright headlights.
Which of these design proposals would you have liked to see a production version of?
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