IT COULD HAVE BEEN A LUCKY BRAKE
AUSTRALIAN designers from Toyota in Melbourne could have set the next direction for the 86 sports car.
Their dream for a mini wagon, a new-age Shooting Brake, has gone from a sketch and a good idea to a full-scale drivable concept car in less than two years.
The head of the 86 project, Tetsuya Tada, concedes the Shooting Brake is too late for the current model but could easily go ahead when the 86 is renewed in about four years.
He says it will take that much time to get it fully tested, developed, certified and ready for the production line.
Tada has failed to make a workable business case for an 86 convertible but believes the flexibility of the shooting brake concept means it is much more likely to clear the hurdles to production. The concept car has already been driven on a test track in Japan.
“Yes. Definitely not no,” Tada reveals. “Yes, there is more potential than the convertible.”
The Shooting Brake, developed under Nick Hogios of Toyota Australia’s design team, was shown to Tada as a clay model in 2014.
It’s remarkably close to the 86 sports car, with an extended roof and new three-quarter panels that create a hatchback-style boot and space for two rear passengers.
“Like kids in a lolly shop, we thought about restyling more of the car. However, like good parents saying ‘no’ to too many sweets, we made the conscious decision to keep as much of the original 86 as possible,” Hogios says.
The car was shown publicly in Canberra ahead of the Festival of 86, which drew more than 6000 people, and has already won support from Toyota in Europe.
Tada believes it’s more than just a good idea and is championing the Shooting Break with the man who put him in charge of the 86 program, Toyota president Akio Toyoda.
“My personal dream was a family of 86s. This car would be perfect for me,” Tada says.