In a means, 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 wanting 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 mates tried to get me into console preventing video games after I was younger, however I wasn’t captivated by the pixels and energy ups they had been. I used to be extra desirous about the actual world of BMX and Nirvana. Plus, each time 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 should 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 staff and elements producer. Over the past 5 a long time, 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 rejoice 20 years in enterprise, most different tuning firms would have simply rattled off a run of anniversary-badged objects. 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 provide 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 situations 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 unit within the UK, with design by Martin Oglivie, whose resume consists of the Lotus F1 T100. The Angel shares some design similarities with Lotus vehicles – lightness, compactness, a low centre of gravity and chassis rigidity.
The Angel T01’s dimensions might need you considering there’s a kei automobile chassis beneath 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 save lots of prices on manufacturing and growth – the AE92 Corolla hatchback taillights maybe being the obvious – however it’s the bits that had been designed by TOM’S that make this automobile particular anyway.
All the things from its bathtub carbon composite monocoque to its gull wing doorways had 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 kind – mounted in a rear-mid place and driving the T01’s rear wheels by the unique AE101 5-speed handbook gearbox. The radiator, which is mounted horizontally beneath 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 normal within the T01, however 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 could be one of many extra well-known idea vehicles on the market attributable to its recreation look, it’s truly one among a protracted record of one-off creations. A few of the coolest fantasy-to-full-scale ideas embrace 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 rejoice an anniversary, Alfa’s a centesimal to be precise.
Some, if not most idea vehicles or celebratory automobiles are constructed on present platforms, so TOM’S deserves further brownie factors for having designed and constructed a whole automobile from scratch.
I could not have the nostalgia of countless 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 better take 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.