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Toyota Will Crush Land Speed Record-Setting Prius From Its Museum: Report

The automaker is apparently destroying a classic Cressida that lived alongside it, too.

byJames Gilboy|
2003 Toyota Prius land speed record car at Bonneville


Retirement to a museum is pretty much the best end a car can meet. But becoming a historical artifact isn't always the end of the line, because disasters can still happen. One's about to for a historic land speed record Toyota Prius and a classic Cressida, which Toyota has reportedly pulled out of its collection with the intent of crushing—and there's probably nothing any of us can do.

The cars in question are a 1978 Cressida and a 2003 Prius that are believed to be former exhibits of the Toyota USA Automobile Museum before its closure in 2017. The Prius is the more significant of the two, having taken part in the 2004 Bonneville Speed Week where it set a pioneering record. With a longer final drive, moon-disc wheels, special tires, lowered suspension, and an overclocked inverter, the Prius reached 130.794 mph—and in doing so, carved out a new niche in land speed record racing. It's a milestone car for hybrids in motorsport, and that's why it was in the museum in the first place.

Record-setting 2003 Toyota Prius Bonneville car. Toyota
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But it seems that isn't enough to save it. Japanese Nostalgic Car reports that a reader photographed the Prius and Cressida in a dispiriting place: a recycling yard near Dallas, Texas. The cars were reportedly being prepared to be crushed, with no apparent chance that they'd be sold or parted out.

The Drive has reached out to Toyota for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

This is a common fate for cars an automaker can't sell, such as pre-production cars, prototypes, or show vehicles. It's not known whether the Prius is such a vehicle, though it has modified high-voltage electronics that could be hazardous to someone who doesn't know how to handle them. Toyota may just not want the potential liability, so it's crushing the car instead.

But the Cressida? By all accounts, it looks like the car was previously registered. There's probably an owner out there aching for a piece of its interior trim or mechanicals—though Toyota would rather sell them a reproduction part through its heritage program. If it ever gets around to supporting that gen of Cressida, that is.

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