Toyota Sports 800
The Toyota Sports 800 is Toyota's first production sports car. The prototype for the Sports 800, called the Publica Sports, debuted at the 1962 Tokyo Auto Show, featuring a space age sliding canopy and utilizing the 21 kW (28 hp) power train of the Publica 700, a Japanese market economy car. The Toyota Sports 800 is affectionately called the "Yota-Hachi" (ヨタハチ), which is a Japanese short form for "Toyota 8". In Japan, the vehicle was exclusive to Toyota Japan retail sales channel called Toyota Public Store alongside the Publica.
|Toyota Sports 800 (UP15)|
|Also called||Yotahachi (ヨタハチ)|
|Assembly||Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan (Kanto Auto Works)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||2-door coupé|
|Engine||790 cc 2U-B H2 (petrol)|
|Power output||33 kW (44 hp; 45 PS)|
|Wheelbase||2,000 mm (78.7 in)|
|Length||3,580 mm (140.9 in)|
|Width||1,465 mm (57.7 in)|
|Height||1,176 mm (46.3 in)|
|Curb weight||580 kg (1,279 lb)|
In 1965, the car went into actual production, with chassis code UP15 and an increase in engine displacement from 700 cc to 800 cc, as well as dual carburetors, which increased power from 28 to 45 PS (21 to 33 kW). This engine was sufficient to power the light car around town at 70 km/h (45 mph) or on a race track up to about 160 km/h (100 mph). Production started after the introduction of Honda's first car, called the Honda S500, and joined the market segment that was already represented by the Datsun Fairlady, and the Daihatsu Compagno.
The car had aerodynamic styling by Shozo Sato, a designer on loan from Datsun, and Toyota engineer Tatsuo Hasegawa. Hasegawa had been an aircraft designer in World War II and the resulting Sports 800 was a lightweight and agile machine. The Sports 800 was one of the first production cars featuring a lift-out roof panel, or targa top, pre-dating the Porsche Targa. The aluminum targa top could be stored in the trunk, when not in use.
The vast majority of the 3,131 cars were right hand drive, but some 300 were left hand drive models, built primarily for the Okinawa market. (Okinawa, having been American occupied, drove on the "other side" from the rest of Japan.) A very limited number of left hand drive cars were used by Toyota to "test drive" in the US, but Toyota made a decision not to import or sell the cars in the US market.
There are subtle design differences between the years. Noticeable differences have included: change over from non-synchro to synchro first gear in 1967; a grill and bumperette change in 1968; and side marker lights in 1969. The basic body design, however, remained unchanged.
An air-cooled 790 cc horizontally opposed two-cylinder boxer engine powered the vehicle. The 0.8 liter 2U (45 PS at 5,400 rpm) was produced from 1965 through 1969, while a similar 2U-B was produced from 1966 through 1976 (in 1975 the Dyna Coaster Bus manual shows that Toyota used the 2U-B as a separate auxiliary engine, just to run the air conditioning unit for the bus). In a less tuned form, the 2U was also used in the Publica (UP20/UP26) and MiniAce (UP100).
Weight was kept down by using aluminum on selected body panels and thin steel on the unibody construction. For the first few years of production even the seat frames were made of aluminum.
There are both Japanese and American Registries on the Internet. Owners are encouraged to register their vehicles.
Toyota produced a one-off prototype Sports 800 Gas Turbine Hybrid for the 1979 Tokyo Motor Show. The body of the Sports 800 also served as basis of the Sports EV and Sports EV Twin electric concept cars, both unveiled in 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Toyota Sports 800.|
- "TOYOTA SPORTS 800's page". Ne.jp. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- "トヨタ自動車東日本株式会社". Kanto-aw.co.jp. Archived from the original on 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-10-28.
- 愛される車づくり。トヨタはあすにいどみます。 [Lovable car manufacture. Toyota dares to defy tomorrow.] (catalog) (in Japanese), Toyota Motor Co., 1972, pp. 3–4
- Japanese Showcars 2 Tokyo Motor Show 1970~1979. Japan. 2008. ISBN 978-4-544-91033-9.
- Toyota 2000GT Sports 800, Neko Publishing Co., Ltd.
- Toyota Publica & Sports 800, Miki Press.
- Toyota Sports 800 Production Figure Documents from Toyota Motor Corporation, Global External Affairs Division.
- 1968 Toyota Motor Sales, USA Press Release.
- 1975 Toyota Dyna Coaster Bus Manual.