When Yamaha Manufactured a Sports Car

Introduction: The Yamaha brand is widely known for its motorcycles, musical instruments, and audio equipment. However, many are not aware of its involvement in the automotive industry. Over the years, Yamaha has collaborated with various automakers to develop high-performance engines and even designed its own sports car concepts.

Yamaha’s Automotive Collaborations: Yamaha’s involvement in the automotive industry dates back to the 1960s when it helped Toyota develop the 2000GT. The company also engineered engines for Ford’s SHO models and collaborated with Lexus on the V-10 engine for the LFA supercar. Yamaha’s engines powered various Volvo and Toyota models as well as the Lotus Elise.

Yamaha Sports Ride Concept: In 2015, Yamaha showcased the Sports Ride concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. Built around Gordon Murray Design’s iStream chassis, the lightweight coupe aimed to rival the Mazda Miata. The concept garnered attention for its compact dimensions and rear-wheel-drive layout. However, subsequent patent images suggested a shift towards an electric powertrain.

2018 Yamaha Sports Car Design: Yamaha’s trademark application for a new sports car design in 2018 revealed Gordon Murray’s involvement. Despite speculation of an all-electric setup, a video of the car undergoing testing in 2017, now known as the T40, showcased a combustion engine. The compact coupe promised high performance with a 1.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 200 horsepower.

Abandonment of Car Development: Despite the promising developments of the T40 sports car, Yamaha made the unfortunate decision to abandon all car development plans in 2019. This decision meant that the Mazda Miata competitor never made it to production. The discontinuation of the project was a disappointment for enthusiasts looking for an affordable sports car option.

In conclusion, Yamaha’s foray into the automotive world showcased the company’s engineering prowess and design capabilities. While the Sports Ride concept and T40 sports car held promise for sports car enthusiasts, Yamaha’s decision to step back from car development was a missed opportunity in the competitive sports car market.

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