Imagine the roads of today filled with colorful mid-engined two-seaters. That would make your daily commute a lot more exciting, wouldn't it?
This was Toyota's optimistic vision in 1970 when it presented the EX-7 concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, a high-speed touring car designed for intercity transportation in the near future.
The EX-7 was the fourth experimental car in the Toyota-developed EX concept family and showed the brand's desire to compete with European icons such as the Maserati Boomerang and Bizzarini Manta. In the late ‘60s Toyota was also becoming successful in racing, winning against European and American rivals.
This extrovert of a concept shows an increase in confidence by the Japanese company, and with a flat wedge-like nose aligned with the extremely raked windscreen slowly diving towards the neat Kamm tail, the prototype was clearly built to impress. It is even lower than a Lamborghini Countach with a height of just 1,050mm.
At a time when cars were as bright as the clothes, the EX-7 was no exception. A lemon yellow was chosen for the exterior decorated by a thick black central stripe, creating a visual link between the front and the back.
The mid-mounted engine was taken from the legendary Toyota 7 racecar that inspired the concept's name. The 800bhp of the racing engine was hard to manage on a concept car, so the two superchargers were removed from the 5.0L V8, reducing the power to a more manageable 450bhp. Double wishbone independent suspension and four vented disc brakes helped to keep the car on the road.
The door opening mechanism was also inspired, reminiscent of that on the Chevrolet Astro I concept presented three years earlier. The entire cockpit canopy was hinged at the rear of the roof section. As the canopy opened to the rear, the seats were also lifted to ease access into the tight cabin leaving only the windscreen in place.
Getting in would probably put your agility to the test but once seated in the cockpit, you were faced with a floating tubular IP that seemed like it could control time travel. The inner parts of the seats extended forward to create the two halves of a floating center console where you could play your latest Pink Floyd cassette.
Engine MR, 5.0L V8
Your author, Flavien Dachet is a UK-based, French-born car designer. You may know him as the purveyor of KarzNshit a photo blog that if isn't in your bookmarks, certainly should be.