Toyota CX-80

Just a short story today as we spend a few moments to appreciate this bright yellow block of cheese from Toyota.

While it may look like the most '80s car you've ever seen, almost as if Toyota had asked the cast of Weird Science to pen their new concept, it was in fact first seen at the 1979 Tokyo Motor Show as a preview for what the coming decade would bring.

And Toyota was pretty much spot on, no?

Sony's first Walkman, the TPS-L2, had just gone on sale a few months prior to this concept being shown, and I bet that the world's first low-cost portable cassette tape player was an influence on Toyota. Even though the effects of releasing the world's first personal music player into the world would not be known for decades, is it so difficult to imagine that Toyota also wanted to capture some of that "personal electronics" mojo to have its latest city car concept hit with show visitors?

With a front-drive layout (even though this is probably just a rolling chassis), the car was intended to show the way forward for small city cars, and I think Toyota did a pretty great job of including details that make city driving easier including a generous greenhouse for amazing visibility. I'm a fan of how the windshield curves around ahead of where the A-pillar would normally be.

Inside, a flat floor, well-padded seats, and 'centre-less' steering wheel show that Toyota intended to make driving as easy as possible. But which controls were placed closest to passengers? The stereo and air conditioning units, which were placed between the front seats—making switching mixed tapes that much faster. Having visited Tokyo, I will say that the traffic often looked so busy that the only things I'd really want in a car are comfortable seats and a great stereo.

Later in the year, Toyota re-released the car—with no changes to report—as the FCX-80.

But Toyota did take the CX-80's ideas to their natural conclusion a little more than a decade later, with the launch of the Toyota Sera—a two-seat commuter car with incredible visibility, great stereo…and butterfly doors.

It at least put that car into production, but only in Japan—I wrote about it in September 2014.