The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Track Test -

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.

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