Toyota Sports 800
|Also called||UP15, Yotahachi|
|Body style(s)||2-door roadster|
|Length||3,580 mm (140.9 in)|
|Width||1,465 mm (57.7 in)|
|Height||1,176 mm (46.3 in)|
|Curb weight||580 kg (1,279 lb)|
|Related||Toyota Publica, Honda S800|
The Toyota Sports 800 was Toyota Motor Corporation's first production sports car. The prototype for the Sports 800, called the Toyota Publica Sports, debuted at the 1962 Tokyo Auto Show, featuring a space age sliding canopy and utilizing the 28 hp (21 kW) power train of the Toyota Publica 700, a Japanese market economy car. The Toyota Sports 800 is affectionately called the "Yota-Hachi," which is a Japanese short form for "Toyota 8".
In 1965, the car went into actual production,  with chassis code UP15 and an increase in engine displacement from 700 cc to 800 cc, and dual carburetors, which increased power from 28 hp (21 kW) to 45 hp (34 kW). This engine was sufficient to power the light 580 kg (1,279 lb) car around town at 45 mpg or on a race track up to about 100 mph (160 km/h).
The car had aerodynamic styling by Shozo Sato, a designer on loan from Datsun, and Toyota engineer Tatsuo Hasegawa. Hasegawa had been an aircraft designer in World War II and the resulting Sports 800 was a lightweight and agile machine. 
The Sports 800 was one of the first production cars featuring a lift-out roof panel, or targa top, pre-dating the Porsche Targa. The aluminum targa top could be stored in the trunk, when not in use.
Between 1965 (Showa year 40) and 1969 (Showa year 44) approximately 3,131 units were built by the Kanto Auto Works. Only about 10% of those vehicles are known to have survived, most being in Japan. 
Production Tables show 1,235 cars manufactured in 1965, 703 in 1966, 538 in 1967, 440 in 1968, and 215 in 1969.
The vast majority of the 3,131 cars were right hand drive, but some 300 were left hand drive models, built primarily for the Okinawa market (Okinawa, having been American occupied, drove on the "other side" from the rest of Japan). A very limited number of left hand drive cars were used by Toyota to "test drive" in the US, but Toyota made a decision not to import or sell the cars in the US market.
There are subtle design differences between the years. Change over from non-synchro to synchro first gear occurred in 1967; a grill and bumperette change in 1968; and side marker lights in 1969, are among the noticeable differences. The basic body design remained unchanged.
An air-cooled 790 cc horizontally opposed two-cylinder boxer engine powered the vehicle. The 0.8 liter 2U (45 bhp @ 5400) was produced from 1965 through 1969, while a similar 2U-B was produced from 1966 through 1976 (in 1975 the Dyna Coaster Bus manual shows that Toyota used the 2U-B as a separate auxiliary engine, just to run the air conditioning unit for the bus). The 2U was also used in the Publica (UP20/UP26) and MiniAce (UP100).
Weight was kept down by using aluminum on selected body panels and thin steel on the unibody construction. For the first few years of production even the seat frames were made of aluminum. Curb weight is 580 kg.
There are both Japanese and American Registries on the Internet. Owners are encouraged to register their vehicles.
Sports 800 GT[edit | edit source]
In 1977, Toyota produced a one-off prototype Sports 800 GT. The GT stood for Gas Turbine rather than Grand Touring. This was one of Toyota's early forays into hybrid technology.
Appearances in popular culture[edit | edit source]
Because of its timeliness, the Sports 800 was depicted in the anime Gate Keepers as its primary, future-themed car. It bears the license plate "AEGIS-01," and its hangar door bears the chassis code of the car, UP-15.
In the anime and manga You're Under Arrest, Kobayakawa Miyuki, one of the two main characters, enjoys working on cars and motorcycles and drives a Sports 800 as her personal car. The bulk of the story deals with her work life as a police officer, so the Sports 800 only appears in some episodes, and more coverage is given to her turbocharged Honda Today police car. However, while on a trip to a hot springs resort, she and her partner Natsumi Tsujimoto were able to capture runaway robbers in the Sports 800, and in the snow.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Toyota 2000GT Sports 800, Neko Publishing Co., Ltd.
- Toyota Publica & Sports 800, Miki Press.
- Toyota Sports 800 Production Figure Documents from Toyota Motor Corporation, Global External Affairs Division.
- 1968 Toyota Motor Sales, USA Press Release.
- 1975 Toyota Dyna Coaster Bus Manual.
[edit | edit source]
- North American Owner's Registry.
- Japanese Owner's Registry.
- Yahoo Groups Toyota 700 and 800 Publica and Sports 800 Group.
- Japanese Club Page.
- Yotahachi North American Resource Page.