• May 21, 2012
During a meeting of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, Toyota president Akio Toyoda offered a "Chapeau!" to his fellow CEOs by listing his favorite cars from other makers. He listed just one vehicle from five makers represented on the board, in alphabetical order: the Honda NSX, Isuzu Bellett, Mazda Cosmo, Mitsubishi Pajero (our Montero) and Nissan Skyline.

Toyoda didn't give his reasons for choosing these car beyond each being "memorable." Even so, going through the list any car enthusiast knows the Honda (Acura in the States) NSX needs no introduction nor explanation. The Mitsubishi Pajero is probably as well known for it's off-road excellence as it is for its name change in Spanish-speaking lands due to the word "pajero" – all the more intriguing when it's apparently named after an Argentine cat, Leopardus pajeros. And although the "Skyline" moniker was made famous overseas by the GT-R, the Nissan Skyline that Toyoda references has a long history and is our Infiniti G.

The Mazda Cosmo (pictured) was an Italian-esque little coupe produced from 1967 to 1995, the first series production vehicle with a two-rotor rotary engine. The Isuzu Bellett was that firm's in-house replacement for the English Hillmans it was rebranding, the first Japanese car to get GT badging (it would also get a GT-R version), and it would cover just about every segment with sedan, coupe, station wagon and pickup truck variants.


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  • 33 Comments
      paulwilson05
      • 2 Years Ago
      I too love the Cosmo.
      joemesmo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Want to know why Mitsubishi changed the 'Pajero' to 'Montero' in spanish speaking countries? It's actually obvious to anyone who speaks spanish... 'Pajero' is spanish slang for too much masturbation...
        Kai F. Lahmann
        • 2 Years Ago
        @joemesmo
        Same reason, why the Buick LaCrosse is the "Allure" in Canada. And I'd be very impressed, if a "Chevrolet SS" will find it's way to Germany…
      Brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought it was very classy of Mr Toyoda to recognize vehicles from competing automakers. I cannot imagine that there are many business leaders that would openly praise competitors products for all to hear. Mr Toyoda just earned a great deal of respect from me for doing what he did.
      Seph
      • 2 Years Ago
      I miss the Isuzu Bellett..
      789dm
      • 2 Years Ago
      He love all the Japanese cars that made Japan famous. Mazda Cosmos-The Japanese Rotary company NSX- Japanese Ferrari Mistu Pajero - First time Japanese SUV that won many Paris Dakar race. Nissan skyline - Toyota tried hard to beat this Godzilla but of course Godzilla still selling unlike Supra. So he respect the rival that still standing. Isuzu Bellett - Its one of those car collector dream car because of the history.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Datsun Z cars would also be a nice addition to this list.
      racerkid426
      • 2 Years Ago
      speaking of Isuzu cars, I saw an Impulse RS the other day. The guy had a license plate that said "1 of 799." nice car, I would drive one.
      caddy-v
      • 2 Years Ago
      In fairness, I've reluctantly decided to list all of my favorite Toyota's. Here they are: Give me a moment. Wait for it. Here goes. Awe, never mind. It's almost as bad as trying to name my favorite democrats.
        adam512
        • 2 Years Ago
        @caddy-v
        2000gt, Supra, Celica, MR2, SC400, LS400, Corolla AE86, Corolla Levin, IS300, GT86, Cressida, Land Cruiser. All very very very good cars, some have even change entire segments and how rivals make their cars.
        Andre Neves
        • 2 Years Ago
        @caddy-v
        As much as I dislike Current Toyota, I'm not ignorant in admitting their history of iconic cars over the decades, both in production form and in motorsport.
          k_m94
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Andre Neves
          I like how you call it "TRDyota". While thinking you're so smart in trying to incorporate the word "turd", TRD refers to Toyota Racing Development, and thus the phrase that took all 3 of your neurons to coin isnt even degrogatory.
          billfrombuckhead
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Andre Neves
          TRDyota spent a billion in Grand Prix and won not a single race. Their new 1/2 million dollar sports car gets beat by a leftover $80K Viper at Nurburgring where the LFA was developed and the designer was killed driving this junk box home. Toyota, the most overrated cars in the industry built in nation with the highest debt per capita in the world from buying down the yen for half a century.
        zchmcqn
        • 2 Years Ago
        @caddy-v
        I don't blame you, with a name like caddy, I won't be surprised you'd be suffering from the later stages of Alzheimers.
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @caddy-v
        If Toyota made an American designed and built CTS-V (and Cadillac didnt), I bet you would still find a way to hate it.
        Niels Marienlund
        • 2 Years Ago
        @caddy-v
        Typical conservative. Politicizing everything that has nothing to do with politics.
          wilkegm
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Niels Marienlund
          So one guy makes an unnecessary political comment, and you instantly lump all the conservatives here that keep their politics to themselves in with him. How progressive of you.
      Evan Hayden
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well, I have to agree with him. All good choices (I especially love the Cosmo!) Side note, I wish Isuzu still made passenger cars. They had some interesting ones. Bellett, Impulse...
        Brian
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Evan Hayden
        I agree about Isuzu having some very cool passenger cars. It is funny that you mentioned the Impulse. I was just thinking about that very car today. I was doing a bit of research on the Impulse and an article posted on Wikipedia mentioned that as of 2010 only 2300 of them were registered (I believe in the US) making them quite rare today. If that is true, it is quite a shame. I think that the Impulse was one of the coolest cars from the 80's. I especially loved those menacing-looking partially-covered headlights.
      Gubbins
      • 2 Years Ago
      "it's" off-road excellence? (sic) I see the copy editor has gone back to sleep.
      NewCotta
      • 2 Years Ago
      Mr. Toyoda listed his 5 favourite cars from orher car makers.
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