Editor’s Note: Today marks Toyota’s 60th anniversary in North America, so, we’re dedicating this issue of Driver’s Seat to the last 60 years of cars and popular culture.
You can get a brief history of Toyota’s American roots by clicking here, and you can see what’s happened in America over the last 60 years by clicking here.
A few weeks ago, we asked you to let us know what cars you wish Toyota still made. The result? A lot of people gave us a lot of ideas. Here are some highlights:
Selena Stevens, Internal Communications, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky:
“I love my 2004 Cosmic Blue Solara. It’s like a member of my family. I love it especially because it was built right here at TMMK, in my home state. It was recently stolen from a car wash, and I nearly died! After a week, I tried to convince myself a new blue Camry would do. But I really like the uniqueness of the Solara. Then it was recovered and in nearly perfect condition (it needed some minor suspension and bumper work). I am so happy to have it back safe and sound. Now, if there were a 2018 Solara…I might need a bigger garage!”
George Hoyt, Field Product Engineer, Boston Region
“The Stout is a great pick-up truck with cool classic lines. With Toyota’s reputation for quality. Here is one we should still make.”
James Gilpatrick, Customer Experience Center
“The 1983-1989 Van (and yes, that’s the model name) is, quite possibly, the most peculiar vehicle ever sold by Toyota in the U.S. Driving this van is like riding around in a miniature school bus. The quirky mid-engine layout and available 4-wheel-drive make this van very unique in a market of predictable designs. Plus, it had an ice maker. How cool is that?”
Eddie King, District Sales Manager, Kansas City Region
“Supra is the most iconic model we ever produced in quantity. I am lucky enough to have a 1997 Mark IV that gets unbelievable amounts of attention just driving around and at car shows. People of all ages give a thumbs up when they drive by. It’s amazing that young people who weren’t even born when these cars were being sold just love it.”
Nelson Pimental, Field Technical Specialist, Central Atlantic Toyota
“I love the shape and silhouette of the 1975 Celica GT. Imagine the potential of a modern version. With all the retro-design vehicles available there is definitely a market. We could utilize the FR-S as a base. Front grill, spoiler, valance and taillight changes would be all we need to bring her back to life.”
Janet Graf, Super User CORE Receivables Project, Toyota Financial Services
“I miss the 1975-76 Celica hatchback. Mine was silver with racing stripes down the side with black leather interior. It looked different and very sporty.
Jenny Ray, Manager, North American Vehicle Operations
“You can park the xB anywhere, great city driving car, and you can fit a recliner in it!”
Mary Peace-DeVanzo, Planning Administrator, Central Atlantic Region
“I’ve had an xB as a lease vehicle since the model was launched and would keep ordering them when they were still in production. I have used this vehicle on a daily basis for work, helped friends move (put the seats down and just about anything can fit) and it was my daughter’s ride of choice in college for marching band because of the amount of people and equipment it hauled.”
Steve Reynolds, Technical Support Manager, Service Support
“My next-door neighbor wears me out about how he wishes Toyota would start selling again the ‘best car they ever made.’ The early 1980’s Tercel SR5 AWD model. He’s tall and said it provided the best head room of any car he ever drove. That’s a market niche of one consumer, I know, but he loved that car.”
Heather Trudell, Field Support and Training Analyst, Vehicle Services
generation MR2 was terrific for Autocross/Gymkhana, ProSolo and road racing. It handled like a dream, was perfectly balanced and easy to drive. We raced our 1991 model from 1994-2000.”
Brett Giesler, Senior Engineer Quality, Material Quality - Chemical
“With its mid-engine design, the original MR2 was a lightweight stepping into the ring with heavyweights like Ferrari. But, Toyota was able to make it in a small package, and at a fraction of the price of other vehicles. The lightweight fun roadster’s handling characteristics made it a hoot to drive, and the fast-revving engine made it fun to wring out all the way to redline.
Dan Nied, Corporate Communications
“I mean, look at that thing!”