(first posted 1/12/2016) Back in the early 1970s, Toyota started to put some different thinking into recreational transportation. The 1971 RV-1 was the first of a series of concept cars that seem like a dead-end in of themselves, but played their part in anticipating the current trend for cross-over vehicles.
The RV-1 was based on the Celica launched the year before. It came with its own trailer – the lid of which could be flipped and used as a boat with an outboard motor attached.
The rear owes something to the Triplex Scimitar with its fixed rear-side windows, and came before the Chinetti/Panther Ferrari 365 GTB4 shooting brake with its gullwing application. Can anyone think of an earlier example than this Toyota?
The 1972 RV-2 was built over Crown underpinnings. What I find really interesting about this shape is how handsome it is up to the b-pillar. With a better grille treatment, and deletion of that side swage, this could have been a saloon or coupe to rival anything on the market in looks.
It shared a similar body configuration to the RV-1, but with a completely different application. And apparently it could sleep four; two in the rear and two occupying the folded back front seats. Somehow.
The 1977 CAL-1 was the product of the newly opened Toyota CALTY Design Research out of California and this… er… riva’d rumbleseat derivative of the A40 Celica Supra was prepared as a concept car first shown in Japan.
The 1983 CQ-1 cared little for the outdoors. This was a ‘concept in automobile communications technology’. I’m not sure whether any of that technology included gaming, but it certainly signals the movement towards the great indoors and all the life experience we can binge upon without even leaving the home. Or the car.
What’s with the naked, and possibly dead, couple in the photo above? Does this vehicle double as a hearse?
I know right!!?? Bizarre!!
LOL…I thought the same thing…why are they posing as if they were dead?
You guys are unfamiliar with the concept of “sunbathing”? I guess it’s not as big a thing anymore, what with skin cancer and global warming.
In northern European countries, folks would flock outside on sunny spring days and strip to lay in the sun, in the city parks and all over the countryside.
Women being topless at the beach and pool was also very common, but that’s changed too in recent years. Not everything changes for the better. 🙂
Yes I have heard of sunbathing but I have never known anybody to be doing that in the middle of the woods
Skin cancer is a bastard for more than one reason. I had late teen and 20 something neighbor girls that would lay out in the yards on both sides of my parents house. I was too young to ever date them, but I’m still enjoying the mental image 40 years later.
I would have expected them to be laying on towels or lounges, at least. I’m itching just looking at the picture of them laying on what looks like dead bark and leaves.
I believe that picture came from a Penthouse article on the car.
That explains it.
Aha. It struck me as bit too risque for a factory promo pic.
Those pictures are from a Penthouse photo shoot, and the first publicity for the car.
The lead photo kind of had me, a very American style front clip and it looked good until….I saw that full side profile. Ouch! AMC had less awkward designs in the early ’70s.
Is that photo of the all but fully nude couple a factory promotional photo? Was that acceptable in some markets at the time? Topless never would have made it in the U.S. Not that I’m complaining.
Hmmm, I would have thought from the picture that the RV-1 was Crown based.
The green RV-2 looks like a variation of an El Camino done as a factory optional package.
I can almost see that CAL-1 being featured in a James Bond movie as a car that turns into a boat.
The CQ-1 wasn’t the only example of “an office on wheels”, about the same time frame VW had a similar “idea car” in the works based on their van.
If you really look at it, the Celica’s roof and greenhouse is very obvious.
I was also seeing some Crown in the front end.
That second version of the FV-2 really is quite an attractive vehicle. I’m in agreement with the author in that it would have made a very handsome coupe. The design cues are particularly impressive when taken from the perspective of the TVR Tasmin we saw the other day, which was considered pretty cutting edge for its time nearly a decade after this concept was shown.
(Not to shift the focus from what’s intended, but yeah…WTF is up with that couple? The toplessness and swimwear choices seem pretty period correct and would have been fairly acceptable in much of Europe at the time, but why are they sprawled out in the dirt like that? Were they dropped from space or something?)
Wow; wonderful and strange 70s stuff there, Don. What an era, especially in Japan. I probably saw some of these in the magazines, but have long forgotten them. Thanks for the vivid flashbacks!
Pontiac has a very similar connect car to the white and green cars above.
I saw this, too, Chuck! Completely agree with you – it’s kind of a ringer for the RV-1.
I think the Pontiac concept is way better looking – but that rear end with its gullwing doors looks like some kind of Logan’s Run device to store “protein or plankton” LOL! Oh, those crazy ’70s!
Heavens yes. Pontiac made the idea look good. Toyota, not so much.
Yep, I considered this too but as with the Daytona it came later than the RV-1. I agree the poncho looked the best of the three though.
Is that James Garner from the “Rockford Files” TV show??
Of course it is! As Jim Rockford’s ride was a Firebird (the one in the background), it only makes sense that GM would want to have him in promotional photos.
I do think they really should have made that Firebird Shooting Brake…and really, if you think about it, the gullwing windows aren’t all that impractical as long as you fit a regular liftgate window in back for bad weather. Probably would have been worse than a t-top in terms of long term leak resistance though.
I think the white rv-1 looks like a modified dodge colt/Mitsubishi mirage wagon conversion
Especially from the front.
It does have a sort of “Colt-y” look about it.
From the side, I find the RV-1 and the RV-2 quite attractive cars with the potential to be a vehicle for recreational use. Who needs a pickup truck, when a car provides the sleeping room you need.
The cover of the trailer can be used as a boat! Have any other readers every tried to pilot a boat whose beam is almost as wide as its length? It can be quite an experience. Think of the tea cups at Disneyland.
I love that RV-2, actually…especially the 1991 Cadillac headlights.
Women can still go topless if they choose on the French Riviera towns but fewer choose to do so these days… 🙁
There are still some topless-permitted beaches here in oz. Maslin’s Beach in South Australia comes to mind. It’s a different era now that everyone has cameraphones though.
Maslin’s is bottomless too!
North Myall at Cape tribulation is a nude beach has been for 30 years or more.
in 1978, British Leyland tried to join in with this style, although without the gullwing rear windows and on a four door rather two door donor – the Leyland Princess. There never was a Princess estate, but the potential for something was clearly there.
The design was by Ogle of the UK, who designed the original Triplex Scimitar, though the stripes were copied from elsewhere!
I like that shape a lot.
That is one seriously good-looking wagon. Would have made a great production model!
A shame Ogle didn’t design the whole car in the first place.
Interesting as always Don. I have a feeling I’ve seen something like the CAL-1 before, with a ‘flying bridge’ rumble seat, but I can’t place it. Probably would get about as much use as any other rumble seat…
Perhaps a coincidence, but the Spectrum Patrol Car in Gerry Anderson’s 1967 TV show ‘Captain Scarlet’ had twin opening glass doors: http://img11.deviantart.net/d4de/i/2015/237/5/f/captain_scarlet_spectrum_patrol_car_by_arthurtwosheds-d9734k0.png
I believe his TV series were very popular in Japan.
Bingo! Great catch.
GREAT feature. Don’t forget about what is, perhaps, the best of the lot: The 1982 Toyota RV-5, which introduced the world to the Tercel 4WD / Sprinter Carib.
Ford planned to offer the Bronco II with rear side windows that could be opened gullwing-style for loading (I think) in addition to being opened a couple inches from the bottom for ventilation or taken out entirely to make a semi-open-air setup. I’d assume the possibilities of it falling on a kid’s fingers led to all production models having fixed windows. Ads were printed showing the removed windows and it was canned at the very last minute before production.
Whether or not the Firebird was considered, when it came to the S-10 Blazer GM went for prosaic if Nomad-like sliders while Jeep’s solution to rear passenger ventilation for the XJ Cherokee was to offer an option of four doors with roll-down windows in them. You probably already know which one ended up being the right answer.
The Toyota RV-1 is giving me serious late-’80s Nissan Pulsar Sportbak vibes. I wonder if one of the designers of the latter car had studied it.