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Wellesley Toyota Sports 800: Toyota's First Production Sports Car

  
  
  

with special thanks to William (Doc) Fox & Gordon Tobias

Toyota Sports 800A few weeks ago, we got our hands on one of the coolest cars to ever grace the Wellesley Toyota showroom: the Toyota Sports 800, affectionately known in Japan as "Yota-Hachi". 

Debuting at the 1962 Tokyo Auto Show, this is Toyota's first production sports car, and lasted from 1965 to 1969. Although it never made it to the United States, approximately 3,131 units were built, with less than 10% surviving today. A lot of the Sports 800's you'll see for sale online are old, beat up, and have been sitting in a barn for years collecting dust and rust. 

While the Sports 800 mounts only a glorious 49 bhp 2-cylinder engine, it can still hit a top speed of 97 mph with an 18.4 second quarter mile, pretty impressive considering this car came out right after WWII. Even more impressive, this car can get 70mpg on open road driving! All this is made possible because of its featherweight 1,280 lb curb weight and innovative technology like its detachable Targa top and aluminum body composition. 

So you may ask, why do we have one of these awesome cars?

Toyota Sports 800It all started a little over a year ago with a good friend of ours: William (Doc) Fox. He happens to collect vintage sports cars, including his very own Toyota Sports 800, and actually offered to let us display it at our Grand Opening Celebration (which is coming up this week!). Obviously, we were honored to have the opportunity to show off Toyota's very first production sports car at the Grand Opening of our shiny new facility.

As fate would have it, Doc actually came across an individual in the vintage car collecting community who was offering a Toyota Sports 800 for sale, to which we promptly said YES.

After buying the car on November 14, 2011, we began the long process of restoring it to its former glory, with Doc putting us in touch with Gordan Tobias from Pennsylvania to do the restoration. After seeing his work on this car, Gordon Tobias is truly amazing and I think he can take any car and make it look beautiful. After nearly a year of Gordon working on the interior and mechanical restoration as well as some body work done at our sister store, Cambridge Auto Center, you can see the finished product below!

One of the mantras of Doc and our GM Nai (who sought out the car in the first place) is that you should only collect cars that we can DRIVE. Cars aren't meant to just sit inside and collect dust. The fact that this car can still look this awesome and drive great after 65 years is a testament to how reliable and durable Toyotas are and have always been. The car is also symbolic of how innovative Toyota was back then and still is today, with the revolutionary Targa top that pre-dates Porsche's version, lightweight aluminum and steel body composition, a horizontally opposed 2-cylinder engine, and unbelievable fuel economy.

Plus, it'll make for a fantastic showroom piece! Check out pics of the restoration and final product below:

Our poor Sports 800 looking sad all stripped down:

IMG 2167 resized 600

Engine looking a little worse for the wear:

Toyota Sports 800 Engine

The restored engine. Looks a million times better:

IMG 1759 resized 600

Driver's side looking beat up. Note the cracked glass in the steering wheel:

Toyota Sports 800 Steering Wheel

Driver's side looking GOOD:

IMG 1788 resized 600x

Beautifully restored leather and interior:

IMG 1792 resized 600

The Sports 800 on its way east from California:

Toyota Sports 800 Restored

At Cambridge Auto Center:

Toyota Sports 800 Restoration 

And our very own Toyota Sports 800 at Wellesley Toyota in all its glory:

Toyota Sports 800 Wellesley Toyota

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_Sports_800

http://www.bcchapel.org/pages/0003/S800/Index.html


Comments

Awesome report, love the story guys... keep it up!
Posted @ Tuesday, October 09, 2012 9:41 AM by Mitch
top speed of 97 mph with an 18.4 second quarter mile AND 70mpg on open road driving! 
HOLY SMOKES, I'll take four!
Posted @ Wednesday, November 14, 2012 5:59 PM by Brendan
I love my Yota-Hachi, but we only get about 50 MPG, WWII ended 20 years before the car was released, and only the roof, trunk deck and hood are aluminum.  
 
They are lovely to look at, and lovely to drive.
Posted @ Friday, March 08, 2013 11:09 PM by Matt Spielberg
Matt's correct except that many of the earlier cars, like mine had aluminum seat construction too. Additionally, Toyota revealed in their lit that the steel body panels were thinner and therefore lighter.
Posted @ Sunday, March 31, 2013 6:21 PM by scott sylvester
this car is an amazing vehicle, i have been looking all over the web looking for this little car and all i have been able to find are stories like this or some very questionable deals. but if anyone can find me a Toyota sports 800 anywhere for sale could they please contact me at dwyllie80@gmail.com. it would be greatly appreciated.
Posted @ Friday, May 03, 2013 3:56 PM by douglas
Car looks gorgeous. I have a 1967 and would like to restore it. I don't know of anyone who can restore a Sports 800. Could you please send me contact info for the guys that did yours and an approximate cost Thanks Paul
Posted @ Tuesday, July 23, 2013 4:37 PM by Paul Dibblee
Very sweet looking car, I love the two I have. Love to talk with those who have them, those used to have them, along with those who want to have them. I have restored one almost completely, having taken every piece apart minus rear end and tranny. I love restoring them seeing them change! James chinook254@yahoo.com
Posted @ Saturday, December 14, 2013 9:02 AM by James S Bock
I bought a 66 in Okinawa while stationed there in 73. It was a great little car, very fast and agile. The trunk was just big enough for my scuba gear. It was one of the few left hand drives manufactured for the Okinawa market. Loved that car!!
Posted @ Friday, December 20, 2013 12:41 AM by Gary Hughey
This is really a good article regarding Toyota sports car. Toyota is one of the leading car marketer in the Automotive market right now. Toyota particularly famous for luxury and sports car and it has been providing good and nice car models over the years.
Posted @ Wednesday, March 05, 2014 4:07 AM by Donald
Very sweet looking car, I love the two I have. Love to talk with those who have them, those used to have them, along with those who want to have them.
Posted @ Friday, March 14, 2014 5:33 AM by newportconvertible
97mph just after IInd world war!!!! Sounds impressive. Toyota were at pick sale at that point of time unfortunately this small wonder couldn't make it to USA because of the political scenario at that point of time but you ask any one of that age they will tell you what magic it had in there time. Its ability to get at 70mph on even open road was it's USP. Such cars paved way for the new generation Sports car. Its featherweight construction caused it to get so much of speed at a time when most of the car makers was togging around 5omph. This small wonder is something to be kept in Museum not in your garage.
Posted @ Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:33 AM by Magon
Its really appreciating, that Toyota has launched sports car and also we really like to enjoy the ride. But we need to know as many different options are there like Porsche, Land Rover in market for compete then it should posses some different feature in the car.And the other thing when we are going to buy this we just need to have a look about different service points and dealers available near by to look into our car when we face any problem. 
Porsche Auto Parts Los Angeles
Posted @ Wednesday, August 06, 2014 7:35 AM by Daisy Jackson
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