Automaker CEOs don’t often comment on how much they like a vehicle from a competitor, but then again Toyota President Akio Toyoda isn’t a conventional boss.
Shown above in his racing suit and standing side-by-side with fellow “enthusiast CEO” Aston Martin boss Ulrich Bez, both men are some of the few at the helm of a global automaker that not only enjoy hitting the race track, but do so competitively.
Recently appointed as the new chairman of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyoda singled out one model from each of the other member automakers. The list says a great deal about the taste Toyoda has in vehicles and includes: the Nissan Skyline, Mazda Cosmo Sport, Mitsubishi Pajero, Isuzu Bellett and, not surprisingly, the Honda NSX.
Cars like the iconic NSX and Skyline are far from surprises and rank among the top on any enthusiasts list. As for the others Toyoda picked, there are some surprises.
The Cosmo Sport is a front-engine rear-drive machine from the 1960s and was the first to use the brand’s iconic rotary engine. The Isuzu Bellett is another oddity, though it was an extremely popular model made in the 1960s and ’70s and was the first Japanese car to wear a GT badge.
And finally on Toyoda’s list there’s the Mitsubishi Pajero (certainly no Evo), a large SUV that has been in production since 1982.