Friday Video: Gene Hackman, Toyota Celica racer

The most famous celebrity driver raced under Nissan’s white-red-blue colors, but their main rival had an Oscar-winner of their own flying the red-orange-yellow. Yes, Nissan may have had Newman, but Toyota had Hackman. After competing in the SCCA Formula Ford series in the 70s, Little Bill Daggett raced Dan Gurney‘s ’81 Toyota Celica in the 1983 Pepsi 24 Hours of Daytona.

Sadly, even Popeye Doyle couldn’t prevent the car from incurring a DNF thanks to a failed gearbox. However, one of Hackman’s co-drivers, Masanori Sekiya, would later become the first Japanese racer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a spokesman for the JZA80 Supra.

Unlike Newman, Hackman never became a Toyota spokesman. Having Lex Luthor himself hawk for Lexus is a missed opportunity if you ask us. Gurney’s All American Racing team would go on to dominate GTO and GTP a few years later, and in the meantime Gurney was featured in several ads for the A60 Supra.

[DasVarza via Jalopnik, jsrambler, xntryk1]

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7 Responses to Friday Video: Gene Hackman, Toyota Celica racer

  1. E-AT_me said:

    i think toyota should do retro car adverts.. these are way better than whatever is on tv now.. just one.. maybe with the FRS.. i think that would be cool..

  2. Nigel said:

    The question is, who would make a good spokesperson ?

  3. mister k said:

    howbout george clooney?

  4. Kevin Truong said:

    How about Charley Sheen?!?

    • chris said:

      Kind of funny you mention that..Martin Sheen, Charlie’s father, was Toyota’s spokesperson from the late 80s until 1997 or so.

      Toyota definitely needs a spokesperson today. Hyundai has Jeff Bridges, GMC has Will Arnett, Chevy Tim Allen.

  5. Ljn71 said:

    How about Zooey Deschanel? Who can resist a product fronted by little blue eyes?

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