QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Toyota?

Toyopet Crown

This coming Saturday marks two very special events for Toyotaku. Not only is it the 19th annual All-Toyotafest, but it’s also the birthday of ToMoCo President Akio Toyoda! Therefore, we take this opportunity to ask a question:

What’s the greatest nostalgic Toyota?

Just look Toyota’s portfolio and you can see what a monumentally difficult task this might be. 2000GT, Century, AE86, Supra, Celica, MR2, Crown. But then, an eleventh hour report made us consider that perhaps the answer is Toyota USA itself. You see, a report just came out today that Toyota USA might move its entire headquarters to Texas. We’ll have more on this story as it develops, but right now our friends that work at Toyota are still reeling from the unconfirmed but likely true news. UPDATE: Now confirmed.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a toy. Click through to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s your best fuel-saving JNC story?

1980 Honda Civic

The winner this week is GEN2TWINCAM, who had this tale from the days when you could actually achieve the mileage written on the window sticker.

This one’s easy!

On my 18th birthday, I took the day off from work, drove my Opel Kadett to the Honda dealer and picked up my brand-new 1982 Honda Civic 1300FE. They kept the Opel.

FE stood for Fuel Efficient, and that it was. 42 City / 55 Highway was the claimed mileage – and I absolutely got that. Way back when, I lived in New Jersey and was a big Mini enthusiast (the real ones). I used to drive to all the annual Mini Meets. I remember driving home from the Montreal meet, filling up the tank on the way out of the city. I made it all the way home to South Jersey on one tank! Another trip to the Knoxville, TN meet resulted in exactly 55 mpg average. Imagine what the maximum mpg must have been!

And ponder this fellow JNC peeps, this was with a carburetor, no ECU wizardry, and not much in the way of aerodynamics! Cor Blimey! If they’d trim some of the butt-cosseting lard from today’s hybrids, just think what could be done with the numbers.

Oh, by the way, I still own my 1982 1300FE.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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10 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest nostalgic Toyota?

  1. Randy said:

    1974 Corolla.

    As I recall, Toyota first came over in 1958. A little too close to WW II, to have many people buying “one of those damn Jap-cars!” In the ’50s and ’60s, they had to contend with being the antithesis of American style/fashion, and the muscle car wars, and all that, -but-, in 1973, the first OPEC fuel shortage came about, and people were in shock, driving their sub-10mpg monsters around, and sitting in line to fill up – if the station even HAD gas – on either even or odd days (based on your license plate number, for those who don’t remember, and “no topping off!”). All of a sudden, an inexpensive little work car made a lot more sense. Reliability was much-appreciated gravy on the deal.

  2. AndyB said:

    Well it’s almost impossible to decide. Too many great Toyotas have left the production line to grace our streets. I can’t honestly argue for just one, but since I have to pick, I’ll pick the one I own.
    The Celica Supra Mk2. What a perfect flag ship for 1980s Toyota. Much more serious about performance than the Mk1, it was still a Celica at heart. It is surprisingly down to earth for a Sports/Touring car. Though you don’t really think so when you drive one. The inline 6, nicely built independent suspension, and limited slip differencial, always make you feel like a race car driver on his day off. The interior and ammenities like A/C and cruise control make it comfortable, but the chassis still keeps you connected with the road. The styling is flashy enough to get you the chicks, but doesn’t make you look like that cock in the BMW. :p It’s just so well balanced. Far more nimble and fun than a heavy overpowered luxury sedan, but not harsh and uncomfortable like a two seat roadster.
    I wouldn’t trade my ’84 P-type for all the Corvettes, Evos, and 3-series in the world!

  3. Ryan "J3wman" Senensky said:

    n b4 AE86!

    I would say the most popular is the AE86 but the greatest I would have to say is the KP61 Starlet. It was the last RWD subcompact hatchback from Toyota, I believe second to the Chevrolet Chevette for last RWD subcompact available in America. This car was slept on by almost all of its original owners but one day someone decided to put a 4A-GE into it and the rest was history, not to say the stock 4K is worthless by any means, but the 4A-GE in this car turned it from an econobox that could tear up an AutoX course to a Muscle car eating street racing machine. One of the original cars that put Import culture on the map. with a healthy offering from TRD in the way of the widebody kit, this is undoubtedly the greatest JNC Toyota.

  4. GSBoek said:

    For me it would have to be the Crown.

    Why? It could have met its demise after failing miserably to capture an audience on US soil with a puny overheating 1.5L engine on the original RS20/30 series. Toyota took it like a man and soldiered on, the Crown eventually becoming the longest running model in Japanese (Nostalgic) Car history.

    • pstar said:

      Uh, Toyota clearly didn’t need a US market for the Crown for it to be a smash hit, so why even bring up that little side story at all? Just some pointless US-centric thinking?

      • GSBoek said:

        No US centric thinking at all, I don’t even live in the US nor am I American. That little side story however is important to what the Crown became after the original RS20/30 series, because Toyota applied the lessons learned and came with a much better car that the rest of the world embraced, unlike the US. Don’t be too quick to judge.

  5. ACSK said:

    While I tend to prefer coupes, wagons, and the occasional sedan, I’d have to throw my vote behind what may be the single most iconic Toyota: the original Land Cruiser.

  6. pstar said:

    There are really only 3 contenders for this, and they are predictably obvious.

    The 2000GT of course: as the most valuable Japanese production car, one of the most beautiful cars made, and the fact that it was the singular car that heralded Japan’s arrival into the world of carmaking credibility. But it is just too rare, none of us will ever own one, and probably a lot of us have never even seen one in person.

    Then the A20 daruma Celica. The beginning of a sporty coupe dynasty. Wildly popular in Japan and all the major export markets. This car did in Europe for Japanese cars what the 240Z did in the US. And it reinforced the 240Z in the US, those 2 cars together are responsible for anybody thinking of Japanese cars as anything but appliances. If you were making an event poster for anything JNC-related, you could never go wrong with daruma artwork. The Z almost lacks credibility in comparison, so many of them have slot mags and fuzzy dice, or whatever junk passed for style in 1970s California.

    And finally the AE86 Corolla. The A20 Celica was the beginning of a sporty car dynasty, the AE86 was the end of one. The glorious pinnacle of the RWD Corolla coupes. A line that incidentally, though marketed as more “economy” and less “GT” than the Celica, actually always surpassed the Celica for sportiness and performance (in top trim levels of each model, at least) for the entire time that they both occupied the showroom floor. There’s too much to say about the AE86: it has one of the all-time best sorted chassis, came with one of the first 16V DOHC engines, and probably the first very reliable one, a 7500 rpm redline in 1985, and thats something still uncommon in cars in the 2010s. It has awesome styling. It had an international following before the internet age. It comes in a huge collectible but easy to remember set : Levin/Trueno; Coupe/Hatch, Zenki/Kouki, GTS/SR5. It wears 2-tone beautifully, at least as good as any other car ever. And for all that, it is a Corolla. The best Corolla ever made. The best iteration of the best-selling car in history.

  7. XRaider927 said:

    for me…the celica the very first generation celica…