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The Toyota Classic Was an Ultra-Rare Japanese Retro Car

I recently found out about an unusual car that I have never heard about before and that I suspect most people don’t know about. It’s a retro-styled car Toyota made in 1996, and it’s called, simply, the Toyota Classic. It was only sold in Japan, and Toyota only made 100 examples — and it’s just about the strangest thing I can imagine.

Here’s the basic gist: Back in 1936, Toyota’s first vehicle was called the “AA.” Six decades later, Toyota decided to celebrate the anniversary of the AA with a vehicle called the Classic, which was designed to resemble the AA — right down to the 1930s details. There are many strange things about the Classic, but maybe the strangest was the fact that its frame came from the Toyota Hilux pickup truck, as did its engine — which made just 96 horsepower. Perhaps they really wanted to revive that 1930s feel of acceleration.

Another odd thing about the Classic is that Toyota sold a mere 100 examples of the vehicle, which means they strangely went to the trouble of developing this retro-styled car just to build a few dozen for sale. And then there’s the pricing: Wikipedia claims the Classic was sold for a U.S. equivalent of $75,000, meaning they had to find 100 people willing to fork over that much money for a retro-styled Toyota on a truck chassis with less than 100 horsepower.

The Toyota Classic certainly isn’t common, and I strongly suspect I’ll never actually see one — but it’s definitely one of the weirdest Toyota models of the modern era.

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Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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