Posts Tagged ‘sports cars’

Japanese Car Auction Find: Toyota AE86 — The Drifter’s Dream

Posted by Stephen On Monday, April 11th, 2016

The Toyota Corolla today is one of the most popular cars in existence, due to its small but durable size and budget-friendly pricing. However, few people know much about its history or what kinds of models went into making the final product. One of these earlier types was the Toyota AE86, which was introduced by Toyota in 1983 as part of the fifth generation Toyota Corolla, with the final models rolling off the production lines in 1987. As such, it is just one generation of the Toyota Corolla Levin and Toyota Sprinter Trueno spanning the years from 1972 to 2004.

There were some differences between the Levin and the Trueno, but to the general observer they were almost indistinguishable. The word “Levin” means “lightning” in Old English and “Trueno” means “thunder” in Spanish, making the two models an interesting play on words. Other than the names, the main difference between them was the headlights: while the Levin had fixed, rectangular headlights, the Trueno offered pop-up headlights instead.

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- front

One of the unique aspects of the AE86 was that it maintained a rear-wheel drive at a time when most other cars – particularly small hatchbacks – were switching over to front-wheel drive. As such, it is one of the last rear-wheel drive cars of its time. The AE86 body type was offered as either a 2-door coupe or 3-door liftback, which can also be called a hatchback. Other specifications included the 4-cylinder engine that was also used in other Toyota models of the time, as well as a 5-speed manual gearbox (although an automatic model was offered later as well).

Stopping and cornering on the AE86 was handled by ventilated disc brakes, as well as a MacPherson strut independent suspension at the front and a four-link live axle with coil springs bringing up the rear. Stabilizer bars were present at both ends of the car to make for a suspension system that was relatively sophisticated for what was a low-end model. All of this attention to detail lead to the fun handling that makes the car a stand-out model today in the minds of Japanese classic car enthusiasts.

During its production lifetime, the AE86 was well known for its achievements on the racetrack as well as the highway. The model was a popular choice for showroom stock, Group A, and Group N racing, and was found especially frequently in rallying and circuit races. Privateer teams continued to race the AE86 even after it was discontinued, and you can even find teams that race with this vehicle today. What makes it so appealing is its rear-drive configuration, which is not found in many other cars of the era and especially not in modern models of lightweight coupes.

The car was popular in races in Ireland and Finland, and also did well in international touring races where it competed mainly with Honda Civics and others lightweight vehicles of its type. In 1986, it was entered in the European Touring Car Championship and won the Manufacturers Championship, beating out larger cars including the BMW M6, BMW 325i (E30), Rover Vitesse, Volvo 240 Turbo, Merkur XR4Ti, Mazda 929, Holden Commodore (VK), Alfa Romeo 75 (turbo V6), and Mercedes 190E.

Japanese street racers, known as hashiriya, prized the AE86 as well for its light weight, relative strength and especially its rear-wheel driving configuration, which made it popular for races through mountain passes where downhill corners were particularly suited to the capabilities of this car. In particular, the AE86 was well adapted to drifting, or the process of controlled sliding through corners. Japanese drifters like Katsuhiro Ueo, Toshiki Yoshioka, Yoichi Imamura, Koichi Yamashita, Hiroshi Takahashi, Tetsuya Hibino, and Wataru Hayashi made the AE86 famous in the drift scene in the 1980s.

As a result of its popularity in Japan, the AE86 was found in many episodes of Japanese anime and manga; the model also made a brief appearance in Fast and Furious 4 and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, indicating its popularity in American popular culture as well. It is also featured in a number of video game series, including Gran Turismo, Tokyo Xtreme Racer, Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V. It also appears in several video games and movies in the Need for Speed franchise, including Need for Speed: Underground 2, Need for Speed: The Run (where it can be used in challenges and multiplayer events), Need for Speed: World, Need for Speed: Pro Street, and Need for Speed (2015 movie).

Here is a 1984 Sprinter Trueno GTV that is in the car auctions in Japan. The mileage is high, but that is typical for cars of this age. This car has a lot of aftermarket parts, and seems to be in relatively good condition considering its age:

“Grade 3.5, first registered March 1984, 204,874KM, GTV model, five-speed manual gearbox, AC, front adjustable suspension, rear lowered suspension, Watanabe magnesium 14 inch wheels, strut bar, earthing system, aftermarket shock absorbers, super muffler, aftermarket radiator, aftermarket upper hose and lower hose, Apex air cleaner, TRD plug courts, Tein front adjustable-type upper mount, AC does not work well and needs repair, interior grime, ???? (unreadable) hole in body work, seats sagging and cut, dashboard loose and cut, front cross member dented, rust underneath vehicle, corrosion and other marks as per map”

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- inspection report

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan-- rear

1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno at auction in Japan -- interior


Ultra Rare Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo Z-Tune For Sale in HK

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

One of the rarest R34’s in the world popped up for sale this morning in Hong Kong, according to Contempt Concept HK motors. The 2005 Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo Z-Tune is being sold at a bargain of a mere $510,000.

Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo Z-Tune For Sale in HK

What makes this rare?

Let’s paint the picture. Not many R34 GT-Rs were ever manufactured. They stopped production in 2003. The, R34 V Specs represented only a handful of them – 1308 units to be exact. As far as the Nismo Z-Tune is concerned, there were only 17 production models. Two of them were never sold.

That makes this vehicle one of 15 in the world in private hands.

Although the R34 program ended in 2003, Nissan authorized an exclusive version of the R34 car dubbed the Nismo Z-Tune in 2005. Kinda like the Beatles getting back together for one, final concert in 1979. And only 15 people were lucky enough to get tickets. There have been more multi-million lottery winners in the world so far this year than that. That’s how rare these cars are.

At an original price tag of $108,500, they sold out instantly. This particular car is No. 9 of the bunch.

The entire car is handmade. Nismo purchased (20) secondhand Spec V’s and stripped them down. Each car was sprayed with a unique color called Z-Tune Silver and given an exclusive 2.8L twin-turbocharged engine. The car was given the ability of over 500 hp and could achieve 0 to 60 in 3.8 seconds. It maxed out at over 203 mph.

The bodywork comes straight from their GT500 racing program. It has both a vented hood and fenders. Let’s not even get started on the suspension set up.

This car has hardly been driven in the last 10 years. It has less than 2000 miles on the odometer. One might think that the asking price is a bit high at $510,000 – but not really. Think about it: This is one of the rarest Japanese supercars ever made.

The steering wheel features the signature, iconic red and black leather that matches the front and back seats. The front seats feature the bucket seat race car design. You got racing paddle shifters and the red leather on the insides of the doors. Honestly, the car has a look of a Japanese supercar straight out of the Kill Bill film franchise.

Everything’s been verified, right down to the nameplate and identification tag.

Take a good, long look. This may be the last time you’ll ever see one for sale, and it won’t be for sale for long.


“Lexus” = “Boring”? Never Again Says Akio Toyoda

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Akio Toyoda, CEO of both Toyota and Lexus, tells a story of how he has received letters that complain that the Lexus car brand is boring. This guy is the grandson of the company’s founder, which says something. Toyota runs in his family. More than that, it runs in his blood.

Akio says he “took them to heart,” and he’s “ensuring that the word ‘boring’ and Lexus’ will never occupy the same sentence very again.”

Lexus bling grill

Truth be told, we’ve heard this rhetoric before – five years ago, to be exact, on the Pebble-Beach Concourse d’Elegance at the launch of another ‘boring’ Lexus, this time, the fourth-generation GS sedan. Back then, the occasion marked the new look of the spindle grille, fresh air intake design, and the very curves that make ‘Lexus’ synonymous with ‘luxury.’

The motor vehicle giant has enjoyed 11 years of market leadership in the United States, but then, just like now, there is evidence that points to Toyota fighting a losing battle against the Germans.

Germany is home to the Mercedez-Benz, Audi and BMW. Not only have they made better-looking cars, but their cars were more interesting and exciting to drive.
Don’t get me wrong here. Lexus is still the market leader in quality, gas efficiency, trunk space and all-around engineering qualities. But that didn’t matter anymore. Other, much cheaper vehicles were figuring out how to to it too, and all of a sudden, Lexus didn’t stand out anymore.

For Akio that wasn’t good enough.

Akio Toyoda is a race car driver. It’s not just in his family – it’s in his blood, remember? He knew that Lexus needed a jolt. He knew what Lexus needed. He wasn’t about to let his brand take second place to anybody without a fight.

In short, Lexus needed a car that wasn’t just synonymous with luxury but was fun to drive. Lexus engineers needed to give drivers a reason to smile. They’ve done it before; there’s no reason they can’t do it again.

Aiko charged Koji Sato, deputy chief engineer at Toyota, with the job. According to him, his speech five years ago on Pebble Beach merely marked a starting point for the company.
They both were thinking the same thing.

He wasn’t being charged with upgrading a car. He was being charged with making a whole new generation of Lexus.

Sato took this tall order to heart and realized that he needed something more than his current team could offer. He thought outside the box and looked beyond the borders of his corporate office for help. What he did was nothing short of revolutionary.

He hand-picked a team that would later become to be called his ‘irregular army.’ It consisted of a small group of race car drivers, journalists and car dealers.
For Lexus, the strategy was more than risky. It was more than bold. It was genius.

And, it was exactly what Sato was looking for.

Sato placed the entire company in jeopardy of exposing the entire project by doing this. The team persevered through every logistical difficulty an undertaking like this could have presented. The test team coordinated three unique driving events in the United States.

This was the beginning of the 2018 Lexus LC 500. This was the beginning of a whole new generation of Lexus.

The prototype has been created. It’s been driven. It was completely covered in disguise tape, with its interior panels draped in such a way as to keep the entire project under wraps. The vehicle was only a concept car, but it was driven in Rose Bowl Stadium of Pasadena, California.

It sports a 10-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Its 5.0-liter, V-8 engine produces 467 horsepower at 7100 RPM and 389 pound-feet of torque at 4800 RPM. It makes 0-60 in 4.5 seconds flat.

In short, it is awesome. It is fun to drive. It put a smile the drivers’ faces.

Sato is pleased, but his work is far from over. “We have got the basics right,” says Sato, “but it’s the last 10 percent that is so difficult.”

The LC 500 is nearing the end of the engineering phase, and, as such, Sato’s ‘irregular army’ has disbanded by now. The engineering team has a lot on their hands this year. Aiko is scheduled to drive the vehicle in late February this year.

Let’s hope the boss likes it. We’re rooting for Sato.


Rare Porsche 911 Speedster at Auction in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, June 25th, 2015

I remember when these were first launched in the late 1980s. Basically a cut down 911 wide body emulating the classic 356 Speedster of an earlier era, the lack of dynamic improvement over the base 911 model meant these 911 Speedsters were seen as rather overpriced.

But they do have one particular strength — they were built in very low numbers (2,065 to be exact) — and were immediately recognized as a collecting opportunity, despite the high asking price of 100,000 USD in the US market.

This particular one has the added advantage of having only 4,200 miles on the odometer. It is a 1989 model, but imported into Japan in 1993, which does raise a small question mark over the mileage. However, the exceptional condition (grade 5 with A grade interior) and the fact that these were seen as collector’s items rather than daily drivers means that the low KM are quite realistic.

Here is the full translation:

“Interior A, first registered May 1993, Speedster model, 5-speed manual, odometer in miles, LHD, not known if gray or official import, 1989, seller claims it has 80 miles when imported, seats wrinkled, paint marks underneath vehicle, minor scratches and also dents, front windscreen stone scratches, marks as per map”

A similar vehicle with more KM, but also owned by Mrs. Roy Orbison, was auctioned for 198,000 USD in January 2015, so I wonder how much this will sell for?

Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 Japanese auction inspection report

Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 rear

Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 front

Porsche 911 Speedster 1989 interior


2016 Honda Civic Type-R Detailed, Hot Variant Possible

Posted by Stephen On Friday, June 5th, 2015

2016 Honda Civic Type R on the track

The “most extreme and high-performing Type R ever built” is finally here. Or rather, it’s getting extremely close. The 2016 Honda Civic type R is set to make its worldwide debut in July 2015, less than one month away. Now that we are officially into June, Honda is really starting to heat up the hype.

For example, this weekend we finally got an official, production-ready rundown of the new hot Hatch’s stats. Under the hood, you’ll find a 2.0L turbocharged VTEC engine that can rev up to 7,000 rpm and outputs a hefty 306 hp at 6500 rpm.

2015 Honda Civic Type R

The car has excellent mid-range torque of 295 lb-ft from 2,500 to 4,500 rpm, but the car was really made to excel at all ends of the rotational spectrum. The VTEC and VTC valve timing technologies work in tandem to optimize low-end torque response without taking away from up-to-the-redline acceleration, and the car is offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

This mighty pound-for-pound powertrain was powerful enough to take a near-identical prototype of the civic type R around the Nürburgring in just 7 minutes and 50.63 seconds – a new lap record for commercial cars in this class. For those of you interested, the 2016 Civic Type R can blast from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.7 seconds and returns a surprisingly conservative 32.2 mpg.

2016 Honda Civic Type R interior

We’d already seen inside the cabin, but these pictures confirm that Honda has done a superb job with the hatchback’s interior. The cabin is exactly what we’d want from a track-ready hot hatch like the Type R. The red-and-black bucket seats and the sleek dashboard are our favorite parts.

Perhaps most exciting of all, though… There is now a fairly credible rumor going around that Honda is planning to launch an extra-hot version of the Civic Type R sometime in the next couple years. According to an interview between Motor Trend and the Type R’s project leader, Hisayuki Yagi, “At the start of development we set the target to be the fastest front-drive hatchback around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. And we are. If someone takes our record, we will take it back.”

In other words, there’s room to grow, and they are willing to modify the car to do it (provided there’s a record-related or marketing-related need for it, of course).

What would a hot Civic Type R look like?

2015 Honda Civic Type R

Turns out, it’s not so much what it would look like, but what it would feel like. According to MT’s interview, the engine could be tuned up by about 20 horsepower and the car could shed something in the realm of 120 lbs.

We’re happy to hear that Honda is throwing down the gauntlet with their new Civic Type R, and we hope someone takes them up on it. That way we can see the Honda Civic Type R’s true power! Bwahahaha!


Japanese Car Auction Find – 1998 Mazda Miata (NB)

Posted by Stephen On Thursday, June 4th, 2015

1998 Mazda Miata

Earlier this week, we looked at a compilation of first-drive reviews for the all-new fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata. Critical opinions ranged from “It’s better in every way,” to, “the car’s only competitor is the death of fun.”

Today, we thought it would be fun to look back at one of the older Miata models from decades past – a 1998 Mazda Miata NB.

This would’ve been the first model year in the second-generation of Mazda’s iconic roadster. We love the fact that the auction find here is in the classic forest green… This is the color most closely associated with the second-generation Miata, production code NB. Although the new Miata is designed as in homage to the original first-generation model, in our opinion its looks are closest to that of these second-gen models… If nothing else because the new Miata lacks the first-gen’s hallmark retractable headlights.

1998 Mazda Miata rear

Mazda made a surprising number of updates for the second-generation Miata, even if the most noticeable is the change in headlights due to safety regulations. For example, the Miata NB featured superior aerodynamics with a drag coefficient of 0.36. This didn’t actually result in much of a performance increase though since the new Miata gained about 150 lbs and kept the same 1.8L turbocharged engine that Mazda added as an option to the Miata in ‘94.

However, that doesn’t mean that the mechanics weren’t without improvements…

For example, this would’ve been the first car to use Mazda’s original Variable Intake Control System. The engine was also slightly tuned up to output 140 horsepower instead of 131. The engine also featured a higher compression ratio, and several of the parts were changed out for superior alternatives. Mazda also fitted the NB Miata with new wheels, better tires and bigger brakes, including the addition of anti-lock brakes.

1998 Mazda Miata interior

Even though it was relatively small, all of these mechanical upgrades DID have a real-world, on-the-road impact for this generation’s performance… The new NB raced from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 7.8 seconds, more than a half-second faster than the NA. It also has a fully unlocked top speed of 130 mph, unlike the first-gen Eunos models in Japan and Europe which were artificially capped at 112 mph.

All in all, this 1998 Mazda Miata roadster is a car brimming with history. If you’d like to learn more about it, you can get a full translation of the auction sheet below:

1998 Mazda Miata auction sheet

“Interior C, first registered January 1998, VS version, FAT, AC, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, leather, stone chips in front window, interior grime, power windows not working, canvas top torn, wheels scratches, engine oil leak, worn and dented underneath vehicle, scratches and dents and wrinkles, spare wheel missing, marks as per map”


The 2016 Mazda Miata is Finally Here

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

driving matters

Today’s the day. The fourth-generation 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata is finally here. Across the web, a flood of “first drive reviews” have been published within the last 24 hours. And, Mazda’s given us an intriguing promotional video to kick off the roadster’s career…

Lots of automakers claim that their sports car offers drivers a 50/50 weight distribution between the front and back, but few of them actually go to the trouble to prove it. How do you prove a 50/50 weight distribution, you ask? Easy – you put it on a perfectly balanced fulcrum scale to see if it stays level. And that’s exactly what Mazda did:

Wow – not only is the new Miata perfectly balanced, it’s also the lightest-weight version of the car we’ve had since the original 1990 version with a curb weight of just 2,332 lbs.

Okay, so the 2016 Mazda MX-5 is a piece of sheer engineering genius. Got that. The question is, does that mechanical prowess translate into on-road performance? Does the new generation of the most iconic sports car of the past quarter-century live up to the hype?

Short answer, yes.

Here are a few of the “first drive” reviews across the web:

Jalopnik says that “even though it has 12 fewer horsepower than the last [Miata], it’s faster. And more nimble. And more comfortable. And better. Better in every conceivable way. This is easily the best performance car you can buy for less than $30,000.”

High praises, but that’s just the beginning.

2016 Mazda MX-5 manufactured

For their part, Car and Driver were most impressed with the car’s similarity to the 1990 version of the Miata… Not just in size and weight, but in the euphoric driving experience the car offers. Throughout their review, they echo the sentiment of Jalopnik… Everything is better, from the cockpit to the engine to the design to the drive.

Yahoo Autos was the first to identify a ‘con’ in the 2016 Miata. Yep, they rightly pointed out that the car makes “all the sacrifices necessary to make it a pure driver’s machine.” But then again, Yahoo’s biggest pro for the car is that it’s “a pure driver’s machine, at a blue-collar price,” so this ‘con’ is tongue-in-cheek at best. Our favorite part of Yahoo’s review is where they list the Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ and “the death of fun” as the car’s biggest competitors.

Are you starting to get the picture? According to all major sources, the 2016 Mazda Miata absolutely lives up to the hype… And then some.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2010 Fiat 500

2010 Fiat 500

Although the Fiat 500 isn’t technically a roadster in the same way that the Miata is, it’s still one of the sports car’s biggest competitors currently on the road.

2010 Fiat 500 rear

It isn’t so much that the cars are in the same segment, but that they attract the same niche of drivers… Drivers who want something fun and emotional to drive, unique to look at, and budget-friendly.

2010 Fiat 500 interior

This is a 2010 model year, which would make it the third model year after the car’s 2007 revival. It’s actually in superb condition for being five years-old with an auction rating of 4.5, a total of four minor blemishes on the exterior, and an A-grade interior to boot. You can get more details from the auction sheet translation below:

2010 Fiat 500 auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered February 2010, 1.4 16V Lounge model, AT, AAC, original AWs, power steering, power windows, leather, airbag, one owner, service book, HDD navigation system with digital TV and DVD playback, reversing camera, AM 16 inch AWs, half-leather seats, electrical opening, chrome mirror covers, 2 x keyless keys, spare key, first time in auction, some service history (5 pages), official dealer RHD import, interior trim has minor scratches, wheels scratched, marks as per map”


Nissan Officially Kills Our IDx Dream

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Nissan IDx Concepts

It’s a sad day.

Remember the Nissan IDx concepts we originally saw a couple years ago at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show?

At the time, Nissan told us that they were definitely going to make the cars as long as enough fans got behind the design. They didn’t specify a production date or anything like that, but they did make two different iterations of the concept – the Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept and the IDx NISMO Concept.

Nissan IDx Freeflow Concept

After the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, the automotive blogosphere went wild. Everyone loved these two retro sports car concepts. Just as Nissan intended, they “exemplified Nissan’s fresh approach to contemplating car design and kindled a fire in the hearts of people fond of the good old days of high-performance cars.” Nissan didn’t even try to build hype for the cars; there was no pre-show teasers or press campaigns or anything like that. The two concepts literally showed up in Tokyo out of nowhere and charmed the world.

Then, two months after the cars were shown in Tokyo, Nissan officials came out saying that they’d heard the loud praises of their fan base… They virtually promised that there would be a production model coming from the two concept cars. In our coverage, we optimistically hoped to see some sort of prototype in the first half of 2014.

And yet, here we are.

Nissan IDx NISMO Concept

At the beginning of this year, Nissan told us they still had the IDx cars on the table, but that they were “shifting priorities” to volume cars. Now, we’re almost halfway through 2015, and Nissan has finally come out and admitted that they will NOT be developing production models from the IDx Concepts.

The news comes from an interview between The Truth About Cars and Nissan NA’s VP of Product Planning, Pierre Loing. In the interview, he lamented, “The IDx is an interesting project; a show car that received good reception. But, to go from concept to production, the reality always kicks in.”

Indeed it does, Nissan. Indeed it does.

Apparently, the problem is that both IDx Concepts were designed and developed for a compact rear-wheel drive platform… Something that neither Nissan nor their sister company, Renault, currently have available in any of their production models. Or at least, not in a size small enough for a low-displacement coupe. They have several front-wheel drive platforms available, and the much larger platform they use for the 370Z, but that would require a total redevelopment of the IDx models.

That means that the only way the IDx can happen is if Nissan devotes substantial resources to developing and manufacturing an all-new platform for a car that, sure, the public loves, but ultimately wouldn’t sell in any real volume. Just look at the likes of the Scion FR-S… It’s a great little sports car that had great reception, but three years after its launch, sales are already starting to wane.

Be sure to pour one out for the officially axed IDx sports car this weekend.

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2009 Nissan Fairlady Z NISMO

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z

If we can’t have a new IDx retro car, we can at the very least celebrate the sports cars that Nissan does have available. Although the GT-R is probably the first Nissan sports car that pops into most folks’ minds, the Fairlady Z has been a long-time favorite as well.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z rear

As you can see, the Fairlady Z (aka. the 370Z) certainly isn’t a retro-styled car, but it still looks great and drives great too.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z interior

This particular find is for a 2009 MY and has been tuned up by NISMO. It’s also in pretty good shape with an overall rating of 4. You can get more details from the auction sheet translation below.

2009 Nissan Fairlady Z auction sheet

Interior B, exterior B, Nismo Version, first registered October 2009, six-speed manual gearbox, AAC, one owner, Carwings compatible navigation system and digital TV, half-leather seats, original 19 inch alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, ABS, airbag, intelligent key, pushbutton starter, original CD, reversing rearview camera, seats scratched, wheels scratched, door mirrors scratched, front windshield scratched, interior grime and scratches, minor scratches and minor dents, marks as per map


The Toyota GT86 Is Getting a Little Brother

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

2014 Toyota GT86

Last week, we got our first look at the facelifted 2016 Toyota GT86 sports coupe. This weekend, we learned that this isn’t the only piece of GT86/FR-S related news Toyota’s been hiding… Apparently, Toyota is currently developing a compact sports car that would slot below their joint venture coupe.

The news comes from Australian automotive blog Motoring, who apparently first heard the news from “a source close to Toyota”. They say that the new compact sports car will be a two-door rear-wheel-drive coupe that will have a starting price of about $20,000. It will run on a 132 horsepower 1.5L petrol engine and come in under 1,000 kg.

Toyota Sports 800

Motoring also says that the car will compete with the new Mazda MX-5, but let’s be real… Given Toyota and Mazda’s recently expanded partnership, we all know that this is going to be a Miata-based vehicle. In fact, we’d say there’s a decent chance it will be built on the same platform and use a SkyActiv-inspired engine too. The rumor right now is that the engine will be a modified direct-injection version of the 1.5L four-cylinder Toyota uses in some international Corolla models (2NR-FKE), but we’re not convinced.

Even if the new sub-GT86 coupe is largely built on Mazda components, the car will still be inspired by an old Toyota model. Toyota’s source said, “The new coupe’s exterior look was inspired by the Toyota Sports 800 (pictured above) of 1965, but reinterpreted for the 21st Century.” The source also said that the new coupe is codenamed 69DZ, if that tells you anything. Aesthetically, it’ll be based on the Toyota 86 Cb Concept from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show (below).

2013 Toyota 86 Cb Concept

The new baby coupe will serve as an entry-level offer to Toyota sports car lineup. Other rumors say that Toyota plans to develop another larger coupe that will slot above the GT86/FR-S, which would give them three solid sports car offers. As the cheapest of the bunch, the 69DZ will have a heavy emphasis on fun, agile driving, and not as much on interior quality. We hope that Toyota opts for a simple two-seat coupe for the superior cabin space, but empirical evidence points to a cramped 2+2 seating arrangement.

That being said, Toyota is taking extreme measures to make sure the mini-86 kicks butt on the road… Apparently they’ve enlisted the help of World Rally Championship racer Tommi Makinen to test and develop the new sports coupe. With that kind of real on-track experience behind the project, we sincerely hope that this new sports car will go from prototype to production before the end of the year. It’s certainly possible; Motoring’s source said, “Designers have a final prototype that could very well go into production as is.”

Here’s to hoping!


Sixth-Generation Chevrolet Camaro Finally Unveiled

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Camaro

Okay, we know it’s not every day that we cover non-Japanese cars here on the Integrity Exports blog. But, this is a special occasion. After several months of buildup, Chevy has finally unveiled the all-new sixth-generation Camaro which will go on sale in the US by the end of the year, and everywhere else in Q1 of ’16.

First things first, you can see that Chevrolet has kept the classic Camaro image of the last few model years almost fully intact. The new car still looks very much like the Camaro you’d see on dealership floors today. However, Chevrolet has logged a solid 350 hours of windtunnel tweaking to hone the old Camaro into a sleeker, more aerodynamic machine.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro rear

Also, even though you wouldn’t be able to tell from the design, Chevy managed to trim a full 200 lbs. off the Camaro, which makes it noticeably more agile AND improves fuel economy up to 30mpg. They did that by making the car a tiny bit shorter and narrower, and it also rides a bit lower to the ground.  And you can’t see it, but the underpinnings are reportedly 28% more rigid too.

Mark Reuss, GM’s executive VP of product development, expanded on the car’s design by saying, “For Camaro enthusiasts, it retains the iconic design cues and offers even more performance.”

What exactly does he mean by ‘more performance’?

2016 Chevrolet Camaro engines

Looking to stay competitive with the Camaro’s arch nemesis – the Ford Mustang – Chevrolet will offer three different engines in 2016 and onward. First, the baseline trim will ship with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine (pictured right) with 275 horsepower. Then, the mid-range model will come with a 3.6L V6 outputting 335 horses (pictured middle). The top-of-the-line Camaro SS gets an updated version of the Corvette Stingray’s LT1 V8 – 6.2L of raw combustion power that outputs a blistering 455 hp.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS interior

The SS also gets some big ol’ Brembo brakes. All plants come with driver’s choice of a six-speed manual with a Magnetic Ride Control system to help match rev speed during downshifting, or with an eight-speed Hydra-matic automatic transmission (complete with paddle shifters).

Japanese Car Auction Find – 2002 Chevrolet Camaro

2002 Chevrolet Camaro

It’s not every day that you’ll find a decent Chevrolet Camaro up for auction in Japan, but today is our lucky day. What we have here is a 2002 model that’s in surprisingly good shape. This is probably one of the most nostalgic sports cars that you will still occasionally see on the road, which speaks well of the older Camaro’s longevity.

2002 Chevrolet Camaro rear

As a 2002MY, this Camaro would’ve been the last model in the fourth-generation before Chevy halted production of their sport coupe between 2002 and 2010, making this an extra special model.

2002 Chevrolet Camaro interior

For more information, get a full rundown of the specs from the auction sheet translation below:

2002 Chevrolet Camaro auction sheet

“Interior A, first registered July 2002, Camaro model, FAT, AC, original alloy wheels, power steering, power windows, airbag, Yanase official dealer left-hand drive import, 2002 model, rust on suspension parts, light scratches on roof, other marks as per map”