Before the 21st century fixation on global warming, climate change, debt crises, zombie invasions and the heat death of the universe, people in general had a much more optimistic vision of the future. Car designers, specifically, had the best vision.

Patrick just beat me to the future with his great article on the 1981 Mercedes Auto 2000 concept wagon, but I think Japanese car designers in the '80s had the best vision of the future and it included electronic shock damping systems, digital dashboards and stickers that proclaimed to the world you had a twin-turbocharged engine with a millionty-four valves, and 256 camshafts. The future came to 1988 and it left this Toyota Soarer Twin Turbo currently bidding for $4,300 reserve-not-met with 5 days to go in Long Beach, CA.

The Z20 generation Toyota Soarer was the predecessor to the Lexus SC300/400 but it was not imported to the US. If you want one, you'll need to import it, get it Federalized and if you are in California, you'll need to navigate the complex maze that is set up by California Air Resource Board (CARB). You'll need to get the car tested for "compliance" to ensure it meets a year of manufacture requirements for emissions, but not on a simple rolling 15/25mph smog test; oh no, it requires full chassis dyno and running FTP-75 (Federal Test Procedure) which is what an OEM would have run back when the car was new.

The results from the FTP-75 test should be similar enough to the Japanese 10 mode test that this car was subject to when new, but emissions limits are different and emissions components experience significant degradation with age. As a bonus, you should expect to spend a few grand minimum to get this test run by one of the few authorized emissions capable sites in the Golden State...and people say California isn't business friendly - just look at all the business they are giving independent dyno shops!

Advertisement


The Soarer was available with several inline-6 powerplants, but this one is certainly the coolest; it is a 2.0 liter twin-turbo setup good for 211 horsepower and 208 ft-lbs of torque. It isn't the most powerful of Toyota's engines and had a reputation for spinning crank bearings, but small displacement and twin turbos makes for a sweet sounding and quick revving experience.

Advertisement

The Soarer's backlit LCD digital dash looks like something from a 1980s science fiction movie, in fact, I'm pretty sure a young Matthew Broderick used a Soarer dash to hack into the DOD mainframe in the 1983 classic Wargames.

See a better way to soar into the future with a trip from the past? tips@dailyturismo.com

Advertisement

Originally posted as 10k: JDiMport: 1988 Toyota Soarer Twin Turbo on Daily Turismo. Image credits; ebay.com