1960s Toyota Race Car Receives Much Needed Factory Restoration
This Toyota is even cooler than a new Supra.
The first ever Suzuka 500-KM race was held back in 1966. Toyota dominated the event with its Sports 800 race car, setting a benchmark for others to follow. Not only did the minuscule racer clinch outright victory, but an identical model took second place as well. The Toyota ran rings around its competition, trumping Honda's S600 by almost 2 whole minutes.
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Weighing just 1279 Lb and boasting 70-horsepower, Toyota’s Sport 800 zipped around the track on a single tank of fuel, whereas competition had to stop for a refill. With heavyweight contenders such as the Lotus Elan, Datsun Fairlady, Honda S600, and Skyline GT, the winning Toyota Sports 800 caught rival manufacturers completely off guard. However, while the Sports 800 remained celebrated in culture, when Toyota’s Gazoo Racing team recently got their hands on the winning car, it had clearly seen better days.
This 1960s race car then received a complete restoration undertaken by the same factory that produced it. Rebuilding over half the body with new material, Gazoo Racing also reinforced the rockers and suspension mounting points, upgraded the ignition system, and updated its interior.
Painted white, red, and black to match Gazoo Racing’s modern livery, the race car is now presented in stunning condition. Thanks largely to the extra chassis and suspension reinforcement, paired with an altogether more advanced ignition system, the Toyota Sports 800 performs better than it did during its hay-day.
With the unveiling of the new Toyota Supra, expected to hit US dealerships in 2019, Toyota currently dominates the automotive headlines. But as exciting as this news is, with this restoration Toyota has proved it is not a one-trick pony.
While the brand's focus may be mainly on where they are headed, they clearly haven’t forgotten where they have come from and take great pride in their history. Toyota’s efforts in 1966 set the stage for their successful heritage in motorsports and the restoration of the winning Sport 800 pays perfect homage to that pedigree.
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