13 Toyotas That Deserve A Second Look
It’s safe to say that at one point in your life, your family has owned a Toyota. While Toyota’s big sellers may be Camry’s and Tacoma’s, there have been many models helping to make the manufacturer such a household name around the world.
The Toyota Museum, holding iconic cars throughout its history, has been held in California alongside its U.S. headquarters. With everything moving to Texas, we nabbed one of the last opportunities to visit while these cars were still in California. It should be noted, these are not restored cars—they’re all original, save a couple. Join in by watching our LIVE video below or keep reading to see which top picks the Driving Line team made from the extensive collection.
Driving Line’s Top Picks from the Toyota USA Automobile Museum
1958 Toyota Toyopet
Kristin’s Pick: The Japanese taxi that made its way over to the U.S. with some extra bling. Suicide doors, chrome emblems, bench seat, it’s extremely cool.
Toyota Land Cruiser
Kristin’s Honorable Mention: The first Toyota ever imported into the United States. It also happens to be the only model sold every single year since it came to the states in 1957.
1983 Toyota Camry
Randy’s Honorable Mention: The very first Camry ever made… does more need to be said?
“2007” Toyota FJ40 Custom
Randy’s Pick: If the FJ was being used by hot rodders when it was first realeased, this is how it might have looked. NASCAR engine-powered, this custom FJ40 was built by Jeb Skullman to commemorate the 50th year of the Land Cruiser being in the USA.
1971 Celica ST
Philip’s Pick: The muscle car-inspired Celica symbolizing exactly what the Japanese spirit embodied—small, light, nimble, efficient and affordable. Fun fact: you can find many style cues from the Ford Torino built into this model.
1990 Celica All-Trac
Anna’s Pick: The Sega Rally king! AWD package in an ultimate sleeper Celica. Also, it kind of resembles a monkey.
1983 Tercel AWD wagon
Lane’s Honorable Mention: Plaid seats, All-wheel drive and Santa Claus-plus it’s a wagon! What’s not to love?
1983 Toyota Van
Lane’s Pick: Arguably the coolest van Toyota has ever made. Ice maker, cup holders, swivel seats and more glass than a fishbowl… all in 1983! And yes, it was just called “van.”
1989 Toyota 4-Wheel Drive Xtracab Longbed Truck
Matt’s Honorable Mention: 3.0V6, plus it’s the truck that inspired a generation of modern day pick-ups.
1981 FJ45 Land Cruiser
Group Honorable Mention: The most coveted of all Land Cruisers at the moment. Truck bed utility combined with classy Land Cruiser looks and practically unstoppable.
Twiggy’s 1968 Toyota 2000GT
Group Honorable Mention: With only 341 made—it’s the right-hand-drive supercar that James Bond used in the movie “You Only Live Twice” and the museum’s example happened to be the car that Toyota gave to the world’s first supermodel, Twiggy. Coined “Baby poop brown” by Philip, it also had one of the highest horsepower naturally aspirated 2.0L engine of its day.
1991 Eagle Mark III GTP
Mike’s Pick: It practically won every race it entered, 21 out of 25, and made over 900 hp out of a 2.1L 4-cylinder engine… in the 90s!
199x Baja 1000 Trophy truck driven by Ivan Stewart
Matt’s Pick: They call him the “IronMan” because he would do the entire Baja 1000 race himself in this truck. Not only is that a testament to Toyota’s reliability, but it most definitely earned Ivan Stewart that well-deserved title. T100 engine, independent suspension, cantilever shocks and a center seat—pretty amazing stuff.
Thanks to Toyota USA for giving us access to the museum during its final days here in California and giving us the opportunity to take as much time as we needed with the cars before they were shipped off to Texas. We can’t wait to see what other legendary vehicles Toyota will be putting out in the future.