The retro-look has been in fashion for a number of years as buyers, especially those in Japan, want something unique. And there is much to be said about the designs of decades past that evoke emotions and memories. Most of the retro models have been small and aimed at the younger generation.
With the Origin, however, Toyota is targeting the more mature buyers who would appreciate ‘a masterfully crafted automobile’ reminiscent of the first-generation Crown which was a significant model in the company’s history (although it was also remembered as having failed to help Toyota get into the US market because its design could not cope with American driving conditions).
The Origin is an exclusive model intended to commemorate the 100 millionth Toyota produced in Japan (the milestone was actually reached last October); only 1,000 units will be available from November 1st 2000 and only for the Japanese market.
Though having ‘classic looks’, the Origin combines state-of-the-art automotive technology with the Toyota-cultivated and refined skills of superior craftsmen, whose workmanship is showcased throughout the vehicle. Only the ‘best of the best’ workers have been selected to put together the Origin and many of them come from the line that makes Toyota’s flagship, the Century.
The original Crown design is difficult to replicate using today’s high-tech mass-production techniques. Thus the front fenders and quarter panel trim are block-molded, guaranteeing that the seams of the exterior panels reflect both dignity and grace. Expert skill is the secret to connecting the front fender panels and front end panel to create a single seamless unit.
All exterior paintwork is carried out employing the same method used in creating traditional Japanese lacquerware. This allows for polished surfaces that are extremely smooth. The deeper shine and more lustrous finish resulting from this method is of the same high quality found in the Century.
The styling of the car has expertly and seamlessly adapted the tried-and-true look of the first-generation Crown to today’s tastes. A large bonnet panel and deep-set non-standard round headlamps create a unique frontal presentation. The radiator grille (an updated version of the first-generation Crown’s grille) and front bumper (with round fog lamps) combine to create a highly personalized and original look.
The rear doors are hinged at the back, a characteristic feature of the first-generation Crown. This means the doors open outward from the centre, much like those of a cupboard or display cabinet. Combined with a rounded roof panel and side panels that appeal to modern tastes, they create an updated lively side view.
A rear window that wraps around to the quarter pillars and a tail fin with an integrated vertical rear combination lamp create a classy rear profile in keeping with the look of the first-generation.
The Origin’s roomy interior combines traditional design with impressive functionality and comfort. Concern for detail, right down to the pitch of the stitching used in creating the genuine leather seats and door trim, underlines the Origin’s sense of elegance. Even the wood throughout the vehicle is carefully selected for the beauty of its grain.
The vertically patterned design and piping of the deluxe, ergonomically shaped seats are created by traditional methods. The finely grained wood used throughout the instrument panel is accented by the genuine leather of the steering wheel and gearshift knob. The instrument panel has an analogue clock and light-emitting dials and needles on the Optitron instrumentation(also used in the Lexus saloons) for crystal-clear readouts.
Of course, the original engine used to power the first Crown is no longer available and for the Origin, the latest 2JZ-GE petrol engine is used. This in-line 6-cylinder unit has a displacement of 3.0 litres and an output of 158 kW/215 ps. It features VVT-i (Toyota’s own version of variable valve timing) for maximum driving flexibility. A 4-speed automatic transmission which has electronically controlled flex lock-up delivers power to the rear wheels.
The Origin’s refined chassis with wishbone suspension all round is said to offer superior Active Safety, particularly emergency avoidance. Several of the latest preventive safety systems developed by Toyota and its associate companies are standard and these include VSC (Vehicle Stability Control). Radar cruise control detects a vehicle ahead and controls the distance to the preceding vehicle according to travelling speed. Additionally, the car’s navigation-assisted shift control feature uses route information obtained from the car navigation system to detect upcoming curves and shifts down as the driver brakes.
(Camry dimensions in brackets)
Length : 4560 mm (4760 mm)
Width : 1745 mm (1785 mm)
Height : 1455 mm (1420 mm)
Wheelbase : 2780 mm (2670 mm)
Kerb weight : 1560 kgs (1400 kgs)