Well, folks, the Tercel restoration is complete. After ten years of updating this thread, twenty four years since locating the car in Idaho, a decade of storage and parts collecting, countless hours, dollars, memories, and learning, the car will debut at the Japanese Classic Car Show this Saturday, September 15 in Long Beach, California.
http://www.japaneseclassiccarshow.com/j ... -for-2018/
I’m grateful to everyone here who has been on this saga with me, contributes advice, offers opinion, or just quietly reads the discussions. A special bit of gratitude for Peter at Fix Auto in Paramount, CA. He understood the significance of the project and took it on when I was dealing with a shop that lacked enthusiasm for it was making a mockery of it (and subsequently lost out on a small fortune, frankly). It’s a feeling that defies description to see something I’ve imagined for so long finally come to fruition. This car inspired me to become a car designer myself as a little boy, and was the car that turned on the switch in my mind that made me realize cars were created by artistic and emotional decisions made by people, and that that’s what separates them from being merely appliances.
Here is the write up I will display with the car, and a composite visual to tell the story:
In 1983, when my folks were shopping for a new family car,
I locked myself inside this Toyota Tercel 4WD Wagon on the
showroom floor of Scott Toyota in Scottsdale, Arizona. At nine
years old I knew this was the car for my family. It was the car
that inspired me to become a car designer, and was the one that
turned on the switch in my mind that made me realize cars were
created through artistic and emotional decisions made by people.
As I grew and my love for design and cars evolved, I realized
that the design elements of the Tercel were inspiring my design
sensibility. From the way light floods the cabin through tall and
expansive glass, to the whimsical blue plaid seats, to the
unexpected asymmetry of the tailgate and the arguably
frivolous clinometer, these design elements ignited a spark in
my young mind that grew into the kind of obsession it takes to
become an actual car designer designing everyday cars for the
roads we travel on.
I’ve always loved the working man’s cars, the teacher’s cars, the
daily drivers that fill the roads during rush hour, more so than the
exotics, and a lot of that affinity harkens back to this very car.
These are the cars that make up the fabric of every day life, taking
us to soccer practice or to ballet. We may have dreamed of
Maseratis and Bugattis, but these are the cars that were living with
us, making the memories that inform who we are. They’re the silent
witnesses to our highs and lows, our passions and disputes. As we sing
at full-voice into the headliner or smash out our frustrations to a
drum beat on the steering wheel.
By the time they leave our driveways one could say they know us as
only man’s other best friend knows us.
In 2000, I found the car again. Not one like it mind you, but this very car!
It was abandoned, left crashed in a ditch in Idaho, a snow covered home
for mice. That began a 20 year restoration project that culminates in its
unveiling at the 2018 Japanese Classic Car Show today.
I first thought I would keep this car as a pristine time capsule of its day,
but then I was encouraged by my partner Paolo with these words:
“It’s not going to live as a time capsule, it’s going continue on new
adventures with the new memories that we will make in it!”
Please enjoy this labor of Tercel love.
Bryan Thompson | BryanThompsonDesign.com
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