By Brian K. White
Jul 28, 2004, 08:39
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Image courtesy of Toyota.
Toyota Motor Corp. set themselves apart from American automakers in the 80's and 90's by designing quality vehicles absent of planned functional obsolescences. This decade Toyota made their mark by introducing the Prius, the first hybrid car to hit the market. Critics have praised it while still dubbing it a "gutless crackerbox", but now crackers have a sporty carriage of testosterone to choose while pretending to remain eco-friendly. Call it the hybrid Volta or the inbred Priapus, either way it still smells like raw pheramones.
Toyota's concept car, designed inside by the rigorous engineering team at Toyota, sports a flashy Italian design from the skin up as conceptualized by famed Italian designer Giugiaro of ItalDesign.
Forget the rickety Mexican taxicab style and performance offered by other hybrids. Thanks to a 3-liter V6 augmented by dual front and rear electric motors, this car boasts a breakneck 0-60 mph in just over four seconds while still offering around 30/mpg under normal driving conditions.
Critical sport enthusiasts feared the car would never reach production status and criticized Toyota as being the last car maker not to release a trophy sports car. Honda/Accura has it's NSX, Chrysler Motors has run the Dodge Viper and Plymouth Prowler. Even General Motors entered the game with their SSR pickup truck, but the wealthy Toyota remained the lone hold out.
Tuesday, Toyota Motors shocked industry analysts with the announcement that their critically acclaimed concept car, previously named the Volta, after the man who discovered electricity, redubbed "the Priapus" by both Car & Driver and Road & Track, will be available to consumers in Germany by Christmas 2004, and the U.S. three months later.
MSRP for the "three-plus-one coupe" is expected to be around $72,000 and is expected to revolutionize the independent racing circuit. Cylinder boring and other performance modifications are expected to be available on a very limited basis, but weekend race enthusiasts are no less prepared to embrace the vehicle. Orders are already being accepted so contact your local Toyota dealership to place a deposit on this piece of automotive history now. Production will be limited and no one doubts this will become an instant classic.
Experts suggest early models should be available on Ebay for prices from $120,000 to $165,000 within weeks of US market release.