Hand-made Art: More From Toyota’s 1:5 Collection

Last week I posted about the amazing collection of 1:5 scale design models that were put on public display as part of the Toyota 75 exhibit at Toyota’s Japanese museum in Aichi Prefecture. As mentioned in the first post, I ended up spending just as much time looking over the rare, one-off collection of ‘miniatures’ as I did the real cars at the exhibit and based on the response to the last week’s story, it seems you guys are just excited about these models as I was. So you’ll be happy to know I’ve got more scale magic to share from this exhibit.

Those who are familiar with car design will know that one fifth scale is a standard size for modeling purposes, but it was the fact that Toyota put 50 of them on public display that really made this such a unique event.

And even though I visited the museum on a quiet weekday morning, there were still several other fellow car nerds who were snapping photos and soaking up the intricacies of these highly detailed models.

And who could blame them? Now that the exhibit has closed, no one knows when, or if, this spectacle will ever be shown in public again.

While not every Toyota model was represented (I’m guessing there are many more hidden away in a secret basement somewhere), I think the curators did a great job with their selection of cars. A lot of Toyota’s most popular nameplates were represented, like the Corona which is seen here fourth generation two-door hardtop form.

Because cars like the Corolla and Crown were already well-represented by actual life-size examples at the exhibit, they were largely left out of the scale selection in favor of other models.

The historical lineage of Toyota’s popular Mark II, Chaser and Cresta was given a lot of attention in the 1:5 display. Here’s the late ’70s model Mark II hardtop, from the time when the Mark II began to split off from the Corona line to become its own model.

Moving on to the ’80s now, we have the Mark II four-door hardtop recreated in all of its beautiful two-tone brown and silver glory. It almost smelled like an old Toyota.

Also on display was a Chaser hardtop of the same vintage with its own slick two-tone paint job.

Jumping forward to the early 1990s, we have the familiar lines of the 90-chasssis Cresta…

… and even more modern, the 110-chassis Mark II. How cool would it be to somehow transform this thing into 1:5 replica of the Magician JZX110? Does anyone make one fifth scale TE37s or BN Sports aero?

Of all the Toyota models represented in the display, the Celica was perhaps the most plentiful. Not only were all the different generations on display, but also all of the different body styles.

Here we see the notchback version of the third generation car…

… along with the liftback version. I’d be happy with either for my model collection, thank you.

Also shown is the long-nose six cylinder variant of the Celica known in Japan as the XX.

I just realized that I’m talking about these models just as I would real cars, but I guess that’s a testament to how life-like these things are.

The Celica history doesn’t stop with the car’s move to front-wheel drive. The lineup continues right on through the late ’80s and ’90s to seventh generation car, which was seen in last week’s post.

The aforementioned Celica XX meanwhile would go on to become the Toyota Supra, which is seen here in the form of the ultra-popular fourth generation chassis.

Again, the details on all of these models are just outstanding, from the projector headlights to the alloy wheels and even the correct sidewall aspect ratio on the tires.

Also present is the unmistakeable form of the third generation Toyota Soarer – better known in the US market as the Lexus SC.

Whether it’s in scale or real form, I still stand by my opinion that this one of the most handsome looking car designs of the 1990s. Anyone agree?

The collection even includes a model of the Toyota Sera – the futuristic, butterfly door-equipped car that Toyota sold on the Japanese domestic market during the first half of the 1990s.

Here’s the third generation Corona – a car that saw great success in Japan and also in the US where it played an important role in helping Toyota break into the American market.

Here’s another view of the seventh generation Corona GT Twin Cam Coupe – another one of those great 1980s designs that doesn’t get enough love in my opinion.

The range goes all the way up to the eleventh and final iteration of the Corona, which left the market in the early 2000s.

The truly great thing about the display of these 1:5 replicas is that they appeal not just to Toyota enthusiasts or fans of scale models, but to anyone with an interest in cars.

With the immense physical size of these models and the even more impressive attention to detail, it was certainly one the most memorable museum experiences I’ve ever had.

Massive respect go to the Toyota Automobile Museum and the organizers of this exhibit for setting up the one-of-a-kind display.

So there you have it. While I’d like to say that you should go see this for yourself, that’s unfortunately no longer possible as the exhibit has already wrapped up. Hopefully though, this has given you guys a nice idea of what it was like to see this special display of Toyota’s secret model collection.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: speedhunters_mike

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hello Mike, we all look like kids in front of those incredible scale models!
I love the XX and the liftback Celica 3rd gen :D
I can only imagine the time and skills needed to make so many gorgeous works of art...
btw Mike, if you like scale cars, you should have heard of mini-Z


Unbelievable. I've seen smaller scale models of some of those cars but never seen a SERA. Too good


Thanks for article.