Toyota calty

Toyota Unveils Archive of Innovative Concepts on the Occasion of Calty Design Studio’s 50th Anniversary

This month, Calty, Toyota’s California-based design studio, is celebrating its half-century milestone. In commemoration of this special occasion, Toyota is showcasing a selection of intriguing concept designs that were previously kept within the studio’s walls, including a captivating mid-engine sports car named the MX-2. Could it have been a potential competitor to Acura’s NSX?

Toyota calty white

Calty, a blend of California and Toyota, represented the first U.S.-based design studio for a Japanese automaker. It operated discreetly, fostering an environment of creative freedom that may not have been as feasible in Japan, where budget-conscious executives closely monitored developments. Initially situated in El Segundo and later in Newport Beach, CALTY served as a sanctuary where designers could explore their imaginations without constraints.

Pictured as a 1/5 scale model alongside Toyota’s then-president, Eiji Toyoda, the MX-2 hinted at a future where SUVs would reign supreme. Though Toyoda stepped down in 1982, this concept never reached production. Nevertheless, its front end bears a resemblance to the original three-door RAV4.

Toyota calty

The MX-2 exudes the quintessential 1990s supercar concept aesthetic, featuring flowing contours, forward-hinged gullwing doors, and a liftable rear canopy. It draws inspiration from the likes of the McLaren F1 and Jaguar XJ220, yet its origins date back to 1983. During that period, Toyota was manufacturing the first-generation MR2, a production mid-engine car, but the MX-2 provided a glimpse into an alternate automotive future. Imagine a road-ready version of one of Toyota’s Group C racers from the late 1980s.

In contrast, Calty introduced the world to the 1989 Celica and the 1990 Previa—undoubtedly daring designs for everyday vehicles. Furthermore, Calty’s repertoire includes the 2006 FJ Cruiser, a model that seamlessly blended the timeless charm of vintage Land Cruisers with modern sensibilities.

Toyota calty

The MX-2 concept, characterized by its gullwing doors, is particularly tantalizing. It followed the MX-1, another creation from Calty, boasting scissor doors and a cockpit dominated by glass, reminiscent of the first-generation NSX.

Elements of Calty’s 1990s interpretation of the fourth-generation Supra bear a striking resemblance to the current Supra model. It’s worth noting that the current Supra, along with much of Toyota’s present lineup—including the Crown, Tacoma, and Grand Highlander—was designed right here in California.

To cap off its Calty anniversary celebration, Toyota unveiled the Baby Lunar Cruiser, a futuristic take on the classic FJ40 Land Cruiser.

Toyota calty design concept

Apart from the 2012 concept, one can’t help but wonder if hidden within the studio’s confines, away from public view, Calty’s designers are laboring on a modern successor to the MX-1 and MX-2. Perhaps a sleek, all-electric or hybrid masterpiece, poised to challenge the likes of McLaren and Ferrari. While it may never become financially viable, this is California, where dreams are realized.”

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