From textile looms to automaker, Toyota looms large

2012 Lexus LFA

Even though it has been well documented over the years that Toyota was at one time a maker of automatic textile looms and is now the largest and most profitable automaker in the world it’s good to look back once in a while and celebrate what has been an amazing run of a fantastic company.  Over the past eighty years Toyota has produced more cars than any other automaker in the world so picking just a few models as the best is a bit difficult, but here is a list of what looks to be a great collection of Toyota vehicles.

1999 Lexus RX300 – This could be said to be the mark of when the crossover SUV began to really take shape and SUVs were much more than just wagon bodies put on truck frames.  The RX300 brought the sales Lexus was looking for in the SUV market and was at one time more than 40 percent of the overall sales for the brand that became a dominant luxury brand on the market for many years.

2000 Tundra – As the first real full size truck from Toyota the Tundra represented Toyota’s goal to take on the big three in the F-Series, Silverado and Ram.  Toyota had given us the T100 but that was smaller in size than the three American models and was never a serious competitor on the market.  The Tundra has sold well but has not quite cracked the dominance of the other three to be at the top of the list.

2008 NASCAR Camry – In 2007 the Camry became part of NASCAR giving the Toyota name a position in the racing that is so popular in the US.  It wasn’t until 2008 that a race was won with the Camry that was dubbed the “Car of Tomorrow” that finally brought the name the notoriety it desired and deserved to propel the sales of the Camry across the country to new heights.

1985 MR2 – This was a two seat coupe with a mid-engine setup that offered a sporty drivetrain to be an amazing sports car to drive.  This first generation MR2 became an instant hit as an affordable mid-engine setup that was perfect for the drivers of the 1980s during a time when power was not allowed to be at the height it is today.

1984 Celica Supra – A fully independent suspension and a 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine make this an attractive car for any sport enthusiast to enjoy.  The Supra was built with wide wheels and fender flares to stick to the road better and offer a fantastic ride from behind the wheel.  This is still a car that is admired and sought after today.

1985 Corolla GT-S – You might not think of a sporty Corolla, but this was one that offered a lightweight build that made the most of the measly 112 horsepower this car had to offer from the inline four-cylinder engine.  This car became a dream for those who loved to drift and was one of the most admired cars for how it handled in tight spaces on tracks where maneuvering wins over straight line speed.

2012 Lexus LFA – At a high price tag, even with the luxury car name on it this was a car that would delight any driver as Toyota tried to build the best car in the world.  This car offered a 4.8-liter V10 and had a 9,000 rpm redline along with a 9,500 rpm fuel cutoff to bring in 553 horsepower to offer the power and speed you wanted to enjoy from a high priced sport luxury coupe.

1971 Celica ST – This was the first real sports car from Toyota.  Until the Celica ST showed up the expectation from Toyota was you would have ordinary and utilitarian cars to drive.  That was fine and has been the backbone of the success for Toyota, but we wanted a sports car and the Celica ST finally provided that sport in the 1971 model.

1990 Lexus LS400 – As the first luxury model from Lexus the brand started with a huge hit and hasn’t looked back at all.  This was built with a 4.0-liter V8 that coughed up 250 horsepower and asked for a low price (especially for a luxury model) of $25,000 which began the reputation for Lexus to offer more for the money as a luxury brand which has carried on for many years.

1993 Supra Turbo – This was a car that was sought after and stolen by many to create an amazing tuner machine.  As a car that came off the line with 320 horsepower and a built that offered a 3.0-liter straight six-cylinder engine the Supra was the most affordable super car on the market and every tuner wanted to see just how far they could take this awesome machine.  Many eventually made 500 horsepower with ease.

1965 Corona – To look at this car today you might think it as an ugly machine but this was the reason Toyota was able to succeed in the US.  When this car arrived the brand finally offered a rugged family car that had the reliability so many were looking for.  As one of the first cars truly identified as a Toyota on American soil this car carried the brand for several years and is the backbone of the success.

1967 2000GT – This was a car that found its way to a James Bond movie and was a fantastic sports car that became the first Japanese classic and is often referred to as the best made car from Toyota.  While it is an awesome car there were only a few made, under 400 to be in the range, which is a tiny number compared to the sheer number Toyota puts out each and every year.

1960 Land Cruiser FJ40 – This version of the Land Cruiser showed up in 1960 to give serious consideration to Toyota for the SUV world.  This was a tough machine that had no sophistication at all, but it wasn’t supposed to.  This beast stayed basically the same for twenty years which showed just how much we wanted and loved to have a machine that was more than capable of crushing other vehicles around it.

1964 Stout – This was the first Toyota pickup that was sold in America and was a midsized model when midsized trucks were tiny.  This truck was powered by an 85 horsepower 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine that was good for going into tough areas and setting the bar for the Toyota midsized trucks to come down the line several years later.  This truck was so popular it seemed there was one in every other garage in the US.

1992 Camry – This was the first truly American Camry that offered a comfortable interior and was tough as it could be.  This wasn’t a flashy model but was one of the best cars for what we do most often in a car; commute.  This car was built for the American market and was a true symbol of the fact Toyota has found its way to full acceptance in the US as this car offered the price and features we wanted to eventually become the best-selling car in America.

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