The Toyota Classic is the weirdest car you'll see today
In 1996, Toyota introduced a limited run car, simply called the Classic. The Classic resembled Toyota’s first car, the AA which itself was a copy of the Chrysler Airflow.
The Classic was based on the chassis of the 5th-generation Hilux of all things but incorporated a rear-wheel drive layout fitted with a 2.0 litre inline-4 diesel engine. Said engine produced 96bhp and 118lb ft of torque. The power was sent to the rear wheels via a 4-speed automatic gearbox. It weighed 1480kg too, meaning that the Classic was not a performance car by any means.
Exterior wise, it harks back to the original Toyota AA with exposed lights, 1930s influenced bodywork, a fake rear mounted spare wheel, huge grille and a two-tone paint job. Interior wise, it’s just as 1930s as the interior with plenty of leather and a forest’s worth of wood.
Toyota only sold 100 Classic’s at $75,000 apiece. That equates to just under $121,000 when you take inflation into consideration. That’s right, this car cost more than a top of the line Lexus in 1996. That’s insane when you consider that this is a posher Toyota Hilux.
However, the Toyota Classic was both a celebration and a cash grab. Yes, it may have celebrated Toyota as a car company but also cashed in on a craze that was taking Japan by storm in the 1990s. This was the “retro” boom which had many Japanese manufactures giving then new cars retro styling. Good examples include the entire Mitsuoka range, Subaru Impreza Casa Blanca and Nissan Figaro.
Toyota also built a model called the Origin but that's a story for another time.
What do you think?
I'm not sure what to make of this mid-90s creation but I want to know what you think. Feel free to leave a comment below.