Yamahas Abandoned Car Design

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By Dennis Chung

We all know Yamaha as one of the world’s leading motorcycle manufacturers, but what’s often forgotten is the Tuning Fork company’s work in the automotive sector. Yamaha has a long history of producing engines and other components for automakers such as Toyota and Ford.

In 1984, Yamaha developed and supplied the 60° DOHC V6 SHO (Super High Outout) engine for the Ford Taurus, and in 2010, Yamaha co-developed the V10 engine of the Lexus LFA. Years earlier, Yamaha helped Toyota develop the 2000GT sports car in 1967, which was the closest we came to seeing a Yamaha car.

The Yamaha Sports Ride Concept at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.

We came close in the last decade, however, as Yamaha began showcasing a number of car concepts developed with Gordon Murray Design, a firm founded and named after the former McLaren and Formula 1 race car designer. First came the Motiv, a two-seater compact car that resembled a Smart car that was showcased at the biennial Tokyo Motor Show in 2013. Two years, later, Yamaha showed a sportier-looking car called the Sports Ride Concept, pictured above.

Both concepts were built around Gordon Murray Design’s iStream chassis, a lightweight modular aluminum frame with composite panels. The Sports Ride Concept was said to weigh in the neighborhood of 1,650 pounds, svelte for a car. At the time, Yamaha said it was making “steady development progress toward models for production and commercialization,” with the Motiv undergoing on-road testing.

And that was pretty much the last we heard about progress. At the 2017 Tokyo Show, Yamaha revealed a pick-up truck called the Cross Hub Concept, but it did not use the Gordon Murray iStream chassis and appeared to be a completely unrelated project. This past fall, at …read more

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