In a method, I envy lots of you.
You see, rising up I used to be by no means actually into video video games. In consequence, I discovered myself trying on the TOM’S Angel T01 I shot final month in Kyoto, as simply one other tiny, bizarre sports activities automobile from Japan. Now I slap myself, as a result of it’s so far more than that.
My associates tried to get me into console combating video games once I was younger, however I wasn’t captivated by the pixels and energy ups they have been. I used to be extra fascinated by the true world of BMX and Nirvana. Plus, at any time when I used to be handed a controller, I would normally be maimed after lower than two minutes of gameplay.
If solely I had given gaming an extended shot although, as a result of I’m pretty dexterous and my reflexes aren’t horrible. If I did, I in all probability would have stumbled throughout this little legend within the PlayStation world.
Lots of you’ll know precisely what this automobile is, and will even have fond recollections of driving it within the digital realm. For these of you who’re like me or are too younger to recollect, I’ll carry you in control on the precise, one-of-one TOM’S Angel T01.
TOM’S (Tachi Oiwa Motor Sport) Racing has been round since 1974 and is a Toyota factory-supported race workforce and elements producer. Over the past 5 many years, TOM’S have left an actual mark on the motorsport world with too many victories to record. They even constructed System 3 engines and chassis for some time.
To have a good time 20 years in enterprise, most different tuning corporations would have simply rattled off a run of anniversary-badged gadgets. Not TOM’S. They determined to fulfil a long-time dream by constructing their very own mid-engine race automobile for the street.
The concept was to construct one Angel T01 idea, after which both supply the mannequin as a low-volume manufacturing automobile or promote the design and all rights to a different producer. In the end, neither of these eventualities panned out, so solely the prototype T01 – this automobile – exists.
The Angel T01 debuted on the 1994 Tokyo Auto Salon, having been constructed at TOM’S’ manufacturing facility within the UK, with design by Martin Oglivie, whose resume consists of the Lotus F1 T100. The Angel shares some design similarities with Lotus automobiles – lightness, compactness, a low centre of gravity and chassis rigidity.
The Angel T01’s dimensions might need you pondering there’s a kei automobile chassis below the FRP physique work, however that’s not the case – the automobile was designed from the bottom up.
It does use a bunch of OE Toyota elements to avoid wasting prices on manufacturing and improvement – the AE92 Corolla hatchback taillights maybe being the obvious – nevertheless it’s the bits that have been designed by TOM’S that make this automobile particular anyway.
Every little thing from its bathtub carbon composite monocoque to its gull wing doorways have been customized constructed. The T01 makes use of double wishbone suspension with adjustable Spax dampers all spherical, plus four-wheel disc brakes with bias adjustment.
The engine is a 1.6L 20-valve 4A-GE from an AE101 Corolla – outputting 160hp in inventory type – mounted in a rear-mid place and driving the T01’s rear wheels by means of the unique AE101 5-speed handbook gearbox. The radiator, which is mounted horizontally below the entrance overhang, is a Ford half.
Given the automobile weighs simply 700kg (1,543lb), it’s fast. TOM’S initially claimed a 0-100km/h time of 5.5-seconds, however later updates made to the engine imply it’s in all probability even sooner now.
Air con got here commonplace within the T01, nevertheless it wanted to because the doorways’ home windows are mounted polycarbonate items that may’t be rolled down. The windscreen was taken from a Lancia Stratos.
Whereas the T01 is perhaps one of many extra well-known idea automobiles on the market on account of its recreation look, it’s truly considered one of an extended record of one-off creations. Among the coolest fantasy-to-full-scale ideas embody Aston Martin’s Bulldog, the Saab Aero-X, Ferrari’s 512 Modulo, the Yamaha OX99-11, and Alfa Romeo’s TZ3 Corsa which, just like the Angel, was constructed to have a good time an anniversary, Alfa’s one hundredth to be actual.
Some, if not most idea automobiles or celebratory autos are constructed on current platforms, so TOM’S deserves additional brownie factors for having designed and constructed a whole automobile from scratch.
I’ll not have the nostalgia of infinite gameplay etched in my thoughts, however I don’t assume I actually wanted it to be smitten with this little purple unicorn.
I’m eternally grateful to the Angel T01’s custodian for giving me a more in-depth have a look at this ultra-rare piece of Japanese automotive historical past, and to TOM’S for creating such a cool anniversary current to themselves within the first place.
Extra tales from Japan on Speedhunters