TOYOTA, Aichi Prefecture--A replica of a really cool concept classic sports car from 50 years ago is up and running thanks to the efforts of a group of die-hard fans.
It took about 30 people, including retired engineers of Toyota Motor Corp., five years and countless man hours to recreate the Publica Sports.
The vehicle was unveiled at the auto giant's head office here on July 13 after being taken out for a spin.
The automaker built only two prototypes, neither of which still exist.
The Publica Sports eventually became the Toyota Sports 800, which was introduced to the market in 1965 and is commonly known as "Yotahachi."
The Publica Sports was light weight and aerodynamically designed to cut down on air resistance.
For instane, the roof of the vehicle slides like the cover of a cockpit on a fighter jet so the driver and a passenger can climb in and out.
Kazuo Morohoshi, 71, who was involved in the design of the hugely popular Corolla and other models, got together with former colleagues around 2007 to recreate the car in their spare time.
Makoto Mitsuzawa, who had a hand in the design of the Publica Sports, also helped out.
"We are a group of fools who are crazy about cars," said Mitsuzawa, 82.
Toyota, as well as Yotahachi enthusiasts across the nation, cooperated by providing tools, car materials and parts.
The replica is to be exhibited at the Toyota Automobile Museum in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture.
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