Concept cars have been around for quite a while. Their big mission was to showcase the fresh styling and the use of new technology. Most of the concept cars were also radically designed to highlight where the automobile development could go in the future and show one brand’s intent.
Although most concept cars weren’t fully developed for the road, brands used them to test the market and see customer reactions. In case of a broadly positive response from the market, it often happened that brands further developed the concept car into a fully functional vehicle. Toyota had a similar situation with the concepts dating way back from the ’60s.
The 1962 Toyota Publica Sports was one of the early Japanese concept cars that appeared on the Tokyo Motor Show. It reflected a sports car vision that later translated into the real version called the Toyota Sports 800.
Unique and future-based, the 1962 Publica Sports attracted all the eyes at the show and beyond. Today, we take a closer look at it and reveal some other interesting facts about Toyota vehicles from the ’60s.
A Brief History Behind The 1962 Toyota Publica Sports Concept
The release of the futuristic sports concept car followed the production of the real-life Toyota Publica, although it resembled it very little. The small car from the Japanese automaker was conceived as a family vehicle and blended with other contemporary models. It was produced in a range of two-door designs on the sedan base (a station wagon, a convertible, a coupe, and a coupe utility) from 1961 and 1978.
On the other hand, the Toyota Publica Sport had an advanced design to reflect the future possibilities. It appeared on the 9th Tokyo Motor Show in 1962, the year that showed the rising public interest in automobiles. Over a million visitors and 284 exhibitors attended the show with the desire to see what would come next in the industry that grew rapidly after World War II. Toyota was there to provide the time-worthy concepts.
Take A Look At The Publica Sports Design
As a two-door small car, the Publica gave a perfect base for the spin-off in 1962. The Publica Sports was also compact car, although unlike its ancestor, it was meant for pure fun and sports. It showed Toyota’s dedication to entering the post-war market with a new lineup of vehicles that would better suit the young buyers.
The 1962 Toyota Publica Sports had a standard Publica chassis and a compact engine in a sleeker, sporty body. It featured only two seats and a sliding canopy for entry. The closed cockpit design was highly innovative in the ’60s, providing a simple entrance and exit for the passengers.
You could easily step in and out of Publica Sports without bothering with the doors. We admit this design solution would trouble people during daily rides, but in the end, Publica Sports wasn’t made for that purpose in the first place. It didn’t even hit the road as a concept car.
Considering the 1962 Toyota Publica Sports drew a lot of attention on the Tokyo Motor Show, the production version followed three years later. The Toyota Sports 800 was the first sports car that left the Japanese automobile manufacturer’s assembly lines. Lightweight and with a stronger engine (790 cc and 45-hp), this road-ready vehicle was super fun to drive.
The Toyota Sports 800 replaced the sliding canopy with conventional doors (for good or bad) but retained the removable roof panel, which complemented its design. Generally speaking, the Sports 800 gravely resembled the Publica Sports and added more power and functionality to tackle the road.
Where Did Toyota Go In Concept Cars From The Publica Sports?
From 1935 to 1962, Toyota made quite a few concept cars, including the A1, the Sports, the Sport X, the Airport Limousine, and the X. After the Publica Sports arrived three Corona concept models and the big EX lineup that attracted even more attention. All these and the newer concept cars were made to highlight Toyota’s development and intent toward anticipating market needs and producing the best modern vehicles.
More than 85 years have passed since the first fully-developed Toyota concept car hit the Tokyo Motor Show, yet the Japanese manufacturer continues to work toward the same goal. We’ve got a chance to see some splendid new designs following the recent technology boost, such as the LQ, the BEV, the e-Palette, and the i-Road. So, the 1962 Toyota Publica Sports has had many successors and will probably have them even more in the years to come.
When it comes to concept project realization, Toyota pushed some new designs just like it did with the Sports 800. The future vehicles (as Toyota calls them) such as bZ4X, Sequoia, Mirai, and Tundra Capstone are already ready to take on the road and pave the road for the future.
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