Reviving the Toyota Sports Car: A New Concept with Mazda Miata Roots

Saitama Automobile University students showcase car at 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon.

The 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon has showcased a multitude of extraordinary customized vehicles, such as the outrageous Liberty Walk Lamborghini Countach. Among these eye-catching builds, a Toyota-branded sports car with a subtly recognizable design has made its debut at the event. For those unfamiliar, this creation pays homage to the Toyota S-FR concept revealed at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show – a convertible that many had hoped would become a production reality and serve as a worthy rival to the beloved Mazda MX-5 Miata.

Sadly, the initial plan did not come to fruition. However, thanks to the unwavering efforts of pupils from Saitama Automobile University, the idea has been revived at the motor exhibition by utilizing the NC generation framework of its intended rival.

The outer appearance of the car closely resembles the initial Toyota S-FR model, with its circular headlights and taillights providing a unique touch. The back end, featuring a swan neck style wing, is reminiscent of the Alfa Romeo 4C’s design and adds a dash of sportiness. The construction can be perplexing to those who are unfamiliar with the original concept, so much so that it has even been shared on a Facebook group focused on exchanging front and rear bumpers.

What makes the Toyota S-FR concept stand out? This car was thought to be the third addition to Toyota’s lineup of sports cars, joining the ranks of the 86 and Supra models. Despite its smaller size, this concept vehicle was intended to fit in below the 86, replacing the traditional Toyota GR86.

This implies that the final model would have also presented consumers with a more economical choice for a Toyota sports car. With the Toyota GR86 starting at approximately $28,000 in the United States, a potential production version of the Toyota S-FR could have been on the market for an even lower price.

Currently, it appears that Toyota has no intention of reviving the concept. Nevertheless, it was a kind gesture from Toyota’s former CEO and current Chairman, Akio Toyoda, to make a visit to the display booth of the Toyota S-FR concept, which is based on the Mazda Miata. However, Toyota is placing its focus on producing electric sports cars in the future, as seen in the preview of the FT-Se EV concept at the Japan Mobility Show.

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