Tim Shults
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Celebrating Five Decades of Calty Design Research

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five decades of Calty Design Research

The Toyota FT-1 Concept

Think back over the last five decades of Toyota design. Which vehicles in particular spring to mind? Probably the ’78 Celica Liftback, the FJ Cruiser, and most recently, the FT-1 Concept. All these vehicles—and many more—are the design brainchildren of Toyota’s Calty Design Research. And now, we’re celebrating five decades of Calty Design Research and the dozens of Toyota vehicles it helped create.

five decades of Calty Design Research

2012 Toyota Camry

Calty was established back in 1973, and was the first North American design center opened by a Japanese automaker. Originally, the organization, whose name is a mashup of “California” and “Toyota,” was based in El Segundo, California. In 1978, Calty relocated to Newport Beach in Orange County, where it resides to this day. That same year, the first production version of a Calty design—that gorgeous ‘78 Celica Liftback—was released for purchase.

five decades of Calty Design Research

1978 Toyota Celica Liftback

When Calty was first established, it was a small firm that was kept relatively secret. Locals in the area weren’t completely sure what Calty did, and wondered if it was a manufacturing facility, or even a business that sold T-shirts. Fast forward to 2014, and Calty now employs 65 people and comprises an 85,000 square foot space (and we all know exactly what the firm does!). Around 75% of designs from Calty have gone on to become production vehicles (including the Sienna, Avalon, Tundra, Prius, and Venza), and others are rumored to become production vehicles down the road (like the FT-1 Concept).

five decades of Calty Design Research

2013 Corolla Furia Concept

Here’s to another five decades of beautiful designs from Calty! I, for one, can’t wait to see which designs it comes up with next!