Calty Design Research Incorporated is turning 50 this year, prompting Toyota to dust off some concepts penned by the design studio over the years. These had been kept a secret until now, including an early Land Cruiser FJ40 proposal that was left on the proverbial cutting room floor. There was also a travel trailer concept in 1975, but it's the pair of supercars that caught our attention.
It's 1983 and Calty decides to envision a mid-engine performance machine with scissor doors. The white supercar was called "MX-1" and was more than just a design sketch since it was built as a full-size scale model. Some of the higher-ups at Toyota were given the opportunity to see the car but the project was never approved for production. It's worth noting the original MR2 came out a year later and it too had the engine behind the seats, but it wasn't on the same level as the MX-1.
Unseen Toyota concepts
Another performance-oriented design with a Mazda-esque name was the "MX-2" created a couple of years later. It too had the engine behind the seats and was conceived with gullwing doors part of a swoopy body made from fibreglass reinforced plastic. Its sloped, elongated roofline makes us think of the Dodge M4S from "The Wraith" movie starring Charlie Sheen. Inside, Toyota installed a swing arm steering wheel to easily accommodate both left- and right-hand-drive configurations, à la Mercedes Unimog with its VarioPilot system.
But wait, there's more. Calty also worked on a design for the fourth-generation Supra. It wanted to make the A80 a "pure sports car" with an elongated bonnet and a bulge to fit a large-displacement inline-six. As a refresher, the Supra Mk4 was offered with the legendary 2JZ in naturally aspirated (GE) and twin-turbo (GTE) flavours. Although rejected, some of the design's traits did make it to production in 1993 when the fourth-generation model was launched.
By far the quirkiest of the lot was a conceptual city car for the defunct Scion brand. Created in 2012, the NYC was a green oddity in which the driver stood almost upright behind the wheel. It had an unusually tall greenhouse and looked pretty much like a frog on wheels.