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Toyota Sports 800: Forefather of Fun

by Paul Strauss

Long before such sports cars as the Supra, 2000GT, AE86, Scion FR-S and the Lexus RC F, Toyota built their very first sports car for the Japanese market, the Toyota Sports 800. The guys at Petrolicious sat down with owner Scott Sylvester to check out this seldom seen compact sports car up close and personal.

Produced from 1965 to 1969, the Sports 800 had a diminutive 790cc (yes, that’s 0.79 liter) 2-cylinder boxer engine with dual carburetors, capable of producing just 45 horsepower. While it had a tiny engine up front, the rear-wheel drive car weighed only 1,268 pounds, which made for a fun ride. Part of how it achieved such light weight was its use of aluminum body panels and seat frames, and thin steel for the unibody. Measuring just 140.9 inches long and 57.7 inches wide, this tiny car offered a removable targa top two years before Porsche introduced theirs. And yes, it actually fit in the trunk.

Only about 3,000 of the cars were made, with only about 300 having survived to date. Another reason you never see Sports 800 on the road here in the U.S. is that Toyota exported very few of these cars. That said, this video is well worth watching to check out a cool car you have little chance of ever seeing in person.

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