Feature: Toyota MegaWeb a rally museum for everyone
- 21st February 2018, 7:20am
Passing through the double glass doors beyond Toyota Allee may be off limits to all but the privileged few, but imagine if just past that cave was another more accessible cave, one that required no ‘open sesames’ to grant passage.A cave with almost as many motorsport sparkling jewels that welcomed not just fans of Toyotas, but all motoring enthusiasts alike. Okay, Tokyo may not be “just past” Cologne, and in fact you may argue it is closer to Australia, but if you’re talking treasure chests of motorsport history then distance should be no barrier.
On a reclaimed island in Tokyo Bay, Japan, the Toyota MegaWeb provides all-comers the chance to get up-close and semi-personal with rally and race cars from its extensive collection. And it’s free.A short walk from the Tokyo Teleport station on the man-made island of Odaiba, the eager visitor can wander through the bizarre imitation Venetian-style “Venus Fort” shopping and entertainment complex. “Hey come on, there’s no rally cars here!” you might say. But persist and you will find your own double doors that invite you to immerse yourself in two floors of Toyota’s “History Garage”. Beyond these doors you will lose all track of time. This author visited in late 2017 and found displayed inside a beautiful Mazda Cosmo, then a 100-year old Daimler, followed by a corridor lined with three-metre high cabinets showcasing scale models of cars from auto manufacturers spanning the globe.
This is not a collection that only speaks the Toyota language, but a celebration of the automobile in all its forms.It’s on the lower level, however, that Toyota fans will go weak at the knees.
Just beyond the elevator were three ex-Safari Celicas spanning the 80s and 90s; TA64, ST165 and ST185. Driver names you may be familiar with too, such as Bjorn Waldegard, Juha Kankkunen and Yoshio Fujimoto adorn the flanks.While the cars are not to be touched, a kind white-gloved attendant noticed this inquisitive (read drooling) author and kindly opened the door of the 1985 Safari-winning Celica Twin-Cam Turbo. The interior smell was unmistakably that of an old rally car - a blend of African dust, petrochemicals, mud and sweat. Just beyond the Safari collection was a Corolla World Rally Car, around the corner a Group S MR2, or how about an ex-Le Mans TS030 LMP1 car (with much less fragrant Kevlar interior), or a 1957 Mobil Gas Round Australia Rally Toyopet Crown Deluxe. History is everywhere. Cars, engines, wheels, posters, photographs with stories of victories and near-misses line the walls, while beautiful scale models of road and competition cars will leave your credit card smoking in the gift shop.
Gaze through the glass-walled restoration workshop and see Toyota technicians bringing classic cars of all persuasions back to life.The author noticed a Nissan Skyline GC10 in pieces, along with a British Racing Green Lotus Elan, while café diners can tuck into meals in the outdoor area, watched on by a Toyota 2000GT, Datsun Fairlady Z432 or Toyota AE86 Sprinter. MegaWeb is Toyota’s way of sharing its own ‘man cave’ with enthusiasts. It’s everything you could ever want in your own cave, and more. It’s open now… sesame.
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