This is why blindfold slalom racing is a bad idea

This is why blindfold slalom racing is a bad idea

March 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Motorsports , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota Blindfold slalom racing sounds like a really dumb, albeit entertaining, idea. The concept is quite simple: blindfold a driver, find a co-driver to bark orders and see who can negotiate a set course the quickest. Of course, any time you have someone behind the wheel who has no idea where the car is going, there’s the potential for crashes, and this short video delivers. This video demonstrates how blindfolded slalom is supposed to go, as well as what it looks like when things go wrong. You even get a glimpse at the aftermath. It seems like it would be a lot more fun with beater cars you didn’t care about, not what looks like a pretty clean third-generation Toyota Supra . By running this event on a drag strip with retaining walls, these guys are putting themselves and some nice cars in harm’s way. That said, the video below would also appear to be a good reminder of one of life’s key tenets: Always pick a good co-driver. Fair Warning: the video contains some mildly explicit language. Scroll down to check it out, and let us know in Comments if you’d be willing to try blindfold slalom racing.

Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene

Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene

March 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Motorsports , Performance , Videos , Lexus , Toyota , Racing We all know that street racing is dangerous, and that motorsports are best left on the track or drag strip. However, that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t some outlaw allure among enthusiasts of racing on public roads. In this video, Vice Japan profiles Eikichi Nagayoshi of Japan’s island of Okinawa. He is a used car dealer by day and an illegal racer by night. Nagayoshi has a deep love for his highly customized Toyota Aristo (better known to us as a first-generation Lexus GS ) that he claims produces over 1,000 horsepower and has hit 205 miles per hour. He races his car both on drag strips and in drifting competitions, but says that he often has to ship the car to mainland Japan to compete. In the absence of those opportunities, he sometimes gathers friends and takes the racing to the public roads. While we’re not down with street racing, this Vice video is an intriguing personality piece, as well as a look into Japan’s fabled underground racing scene. Scroll down to check out the video, but make sure you have the “CC” button clicked, because several portions are subtitled. Continue reading Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene Vice chronicles Okinawa’s illegal street racing scene originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:45:00 EST.

Toyota renews Supra trademark, we renew frothing at the mouth

Toyota renews Supra trademark, we renew frothing at the mouth

February 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Coupe , Performance , Toyota , Design/Style Enthusiasts have been begging for a new Supra practically since Toyota stopped selling its fourth generation in the US way back in 1998. We’ve been hearing rumors about a successor for years, but the Toyota FT-1 Concept from the 2014 Detroit Auto Show is the first tangible sign from the automaker that a new generation may be on the table. To temp us even more, the Japanese company reportedly filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office last week to renew its 2010 trademark for the name “Supra.” Granted, these kinds of trademark updates aren’t uncommon, as automakers don’t want to lose their rights to nameplates (even if they have no immediate plans to use them). However, Toyota briefly abandoned its rights to the Supra name entirely. According to The Motor Report , the original trademark was continually renewed until 2006, but the Japanese automaker let it lapse in the US until applying for it again in 2010. The FT-1 Concept in Detroit was created at Toyota’s Calty Design Research center in California and carries cues from the 2000GT , Celica and Supra in an ultra-curvy body. Officials did not disclose anything about its powertrain. Toyota is also co-developing a future sports car platform with BMW that will underpin models from both companies, but few other details are konwn, and it isn’t yet clear that the joint venture has anything to do with a future Supra. Hope springs eternal. Toyota renews Supra trademark, we renew frothing at the mouth originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:01:00 EST.

Twice as Nice: Scion FR-S Again U.S. News ‘Best Sports Car for the Money’

February 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

TORRANCE, Calif., (Feb. 12, 2014) –

Scion trying to build business case for FR-S convertible as Subaru bows out

Scion trying to build business case for FR-S convertible as Subaru bows out

January 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Budget , Performance , Scion , Subaru , Toyota Hope may remain for a convertible version of the Scion FR-S , according to a report from Ward’s Auto . You’ll recall that rumors were swirling about the feasibility of a rear-drive Toyobaru convertible as early as October , and that back in November, Subaru – which makes the FR-S, Subaru BRZ and Toyota GT86 – essentially nixed the idea of an open-topped variant . “We make the car, so if we don’t make it, it can’t happen,” brand chief Yasuyuki Yoshinaga told Automotive News , according to Ward’s , at the Tokyo Motor Show . “Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change.” Despite Yoshinaga-san’s arguments against a droptop variant, Toyota is apparently still considering the model. Speaking to media at the 2014 North American International Auto Show , Scion’s US vice president, Doug Murtha, hinted that the rear-drive droptop was in the works. “It’s something we’re looking at internally from both a manufacturing standpoint – where do we build something that’s relatively low-volume, if not at Subaru – and from an engineering standpoint: Where are those resources going to come from to do it?” Murtha said. For now, it appears as if Toyota is merely doing its homework on the feasibility of a production version of the FT-86 Open Concept from the 2013 Geneva and Tokyo shows (show above). “Everybody’s had to pony up their volumes and we’ll see if we can make it happen,” Murtha told Wards . Whether the volumes check out or not, the question of how Toyota will get around the engineering issues – making a convertible safe – and figuring out where to build it, mean that while our hopes for an FR-S Convertible are higher, the car still faces a rather rocky road before reaching production.

Gazoo Racing hints at Toyota GT86 concept for Tokyo Auto Salon [w/video]

January 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Aftermarket , Coupe , Performance , Japan , Videos , Scion , Toyota , Tokyo Auto Salon Gazoo Racing has teased a new take on the Toyota GT86 (our Scion FR-S ) that it is bringing to next week’s Tokyo Auto Salon . Having only posted a picture of the coupe’s rear wing and backlight on its Facebook page, we have no idea what the rest of the concept will offer. If last year’s introduction is any guide, there should be plenty more bodykit and power to go along with that wing. Speaking of last year’s concept, Gazoo has released some new track footage of its twin-charged GRMN Sports FR Platinum Concept from last year’s Salon. It will return to this year’s show alongside the new car, and you can watch it drift deliciously in the new video below . Continue reading Gazoo Racing hints at Toyota GT86 concept for Tokyo Auto Salon [w/video] Gazoo Racing hints at Toyota GT86 concept for Tokyo Auto Salon [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 02 Jan 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota to shock with Supra concept for Detroit Auto Show?

Toyota to shock with Supra concept for Detroit Auto Show?

December 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Detroit Auto Show , Coupe , Hybrid , Performance , Toyota We’ve written about approximately 187,000 rumors about a return of the Toyota Supra to the land of living cars. There are a couple of good reasons for this: first, Toyota won’t stop dropping hints about a new halo sports car. Late this summer, Toyota sales guru Kazuo Ohara called a Supra successor “one of the options we have” – a comment followed by a hint that there would be “better news” on the subject in the future. The second reason for all the Toyota tales is, of course, that we all have missed the Supra since its departure from the US market in 1998. So, when a member of the Autoblog team is party to a nudge-and-wink-filled conversation about a new Supra concept headed to January’s Detroit Auto Show , we tend to listen up. A 400+ horsepower hybrid sports car would match up pretty well with the upcoming NSX. Recently, a few very well-placed members of the Toyota team indicated to us, in not-so-cryptic terms, that the Japanese automaker is ready to shock the world with a Supra concept car for this year’s shindig in the Motor City. Further, the indications we’ve been given are that this “concept car” will signal broadly about a production version still to follow. In 2007, the FT-HS concept (pictured) seemed like a perfectly promising Supra replacement, right before the economy fell off a cliff and everyone in the business shelved all non-essential product plans. This year, however, there’ll be about 16 million cars sold in the US and a 400+ horsepower hybrid sports car would match up pretty well with the upcoming Acura NSX from rival Honda , not to mention president Akio Toyoda’s mandate to shed his company’s staid image.

Toyota MR2 shows why we still love the 1990s

November 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Toyota Was there a better time for Japanese performance than the 1980s and 1990s? It seems like looking back, Japan was on a roll, producing cars that were affordable, economical, reliable, fast and lightweight. And while all the attention is – thanks to a certain film series – focused on cars like Toyota Supra and Mazda RX-7 , there is a lesser-known model that’s establishing its own enduring legacy without the help of Paul Walker and Vin Diesel . The MR2 , affectionately known as the “Mister Two” to fanboys, first arrived in 1984 as a lightweight, mid-engined sports car that proceeded to eat the lunch of the Pontiac Fiero in terms of performance. That car was replaced in 1989 with the more familiar, rounded-out MR2, which is the subject of this latest video from the team at Petrolicious . The video takes a look at a group of MR2 drivers, and attempts to explain what it is about the car that is destined to make it a future classic. Scroll down to see Petrolicious examine the MR2 Connection. Continue reading Toyota MR2 shows why we still love the 1990s Toyota MR2 shows why we still love the 1990s originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 27 Nov 2013 20:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink

Toyota FT-86 Open Concept leaves us feeling flushed

Toyota FT-86 Open Concept leaves us feeling flushed

November 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Convertible , Performance , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Toyota When last we checked in on our topless would-be hero, the Toyota FT-86 convertible had been reportedly placed on “indefinite hold .” That was back in early October, not long after Toyota had trotted out the rear-wheel-drive canvasback to Scion dealers as a possible future product carrot if they decided not to turn in their franchises. And yet, we’re here at the Tokyo Motor Show , where Toyota has taken the time to at least repaint the FT-86 Open Concept in “Flash Red,” if not build a whole other car (the original Geneva showcar was white ). It’s enough to make our heads spin like a teenager on the verge of a breakup. Will they? Won’t they? At this point, we still don’t know any more than you do – the last word we heard out of Toyota was not encouraging, although the story was that the program could still be fast-tracked if management had a change of heart. As the car has never been seen before in Japan, perhaps Toyota is merely extending its domestic audience a courtesy view before it lines this showcar in mothballs, or maybe they’re still trying to make a decision on its fate and gauging public reaction on the homefront. Interestingly, in a new story published today, Automotive News quotes Subaru brand boss Yasuyuki Yoshinaga downplaying the likelihood of a production model, saying flatly “We make the car, so if we don’t make it, it can’t happen.” The executive went on to note, “Our engineering department told me that losing the entire roof requires a complete redesign of the structure. It would need a big change.” Given that such a car would probably trade in rather small volumes, that sounds like a significant hurtle. Either way, this FT-86 Open Concept wears red paint rather fetchingly – and we think a Scion FR-S or a Subaru BRZ would look every inch as compelling, too.

Toyota reveals Tokyo Motor Show concepts [UPDATE]

November 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Hybrid , Performance , Japan , Tokyo Motor Show , Toyota , Specialty , Design/Style , Electric Toyota is getting ready for the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, and to tease us, the Japanese automaker has released photos and information about the concept vehicles it’ll be bringing to the show. In all, there’ll be four world premieres from Toyota (five if you split the Voxy and Noah minivan concepts), including some vehicles that’ll be released in the near future, and others that need more time to incubate. Let’s get the world premieres out first. Toyota is a pioneer of gasoline-electric hybrids, but it’s also pursuing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles. The clearest indication of this is the FCV concept , a hydrogen-powered sedan in the same vein as the the FCV-R that will bow at the auto show. (Read more about the FCV, here .) Other world debuts include the FV2 concept (pictured), a unique, one-seat future vehicle that emphasizes the “Fun to Drive” philosophy; the JPN TAXI concept , a next-generation taxi concept designed with Japanese hospitality in mind; and the Voxy and Noah concepts, next-generation minivans that differ most in exterior design cues and are scheduled to launch in the Japanese market in early 2014. The Aqua G Sports concept , based on the Prius C , will debut at the show and is a hybrid sports car that’s scheduled to launch in the Japanese market later this month. The i-Road , an electric trike that’s already been confirmed for production (check out our recent test, here ) will also be on display. We’ve been waiting for this next concept since the Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S was launched, and we’ve already seen it in person , but Toyota will debut the FT-86 Open Concept again as a Japan premiere. Toyota says it “was created to explore future sports car variations,” and while it hasn’t changed since our last viewing, the car now wears a new paint color, Flash Red, which was created specifically for the auto show.

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