Welcome to the heart of the name Aygo Crazy, by Toyota. Based on a cute city car perfect for hauling groceries at safe speeds, this modified 2008 version is the surprise “Hyde” alter-ego of baby “Jekyll” concocted by entertaining Toyota engineers.
If you’ve ever heard of the Aygo – in Europe it’s relatively common – it’s synonymous with short daily trips, city wanderers, and supermarket parking lots. It has less in common with motorsport or rock’n’roll.
First arriving in 2005, the current Aygo’s top speed is 100mph and 0-60mph times will vary around the 14-second mark.
The name ‘Aygo’ comes from ‘I-Go’, as it was a car that would give you freedom, but only for short distances, as you will often fill up the 35 liter tank even if you stand up at Declared fuel economy of 60 mpg.
The crazy little thing called love
When the team came up with the crazy idea of turning a microcar into a rally car, the first thing was to decide on the drivetrain. Already under the hood was a 1-liter in-line 3-cylinder engine with chain-driven dual overhead camshafts, variable valve timing and 4 valves per cylinder for a total of 12 in this unit. It all sounds good, and it is, but the peak horsepower will come in the form of 72 hp and pound-feet of torque just under 70.
Our team of slightly eccentric engineers raided the Toyota parts bin and came out with a 1.8-liter engine based on the same company’s MR2 and Celica. It is also a DOHC 4-valve per cylinder VVT-I engine, designed for larger engine bays from 120 to 140 hp according to Toyota and has been around since 1997 in various forms.
In the 1,000 kg Toyota MR2 (third generation), this 140 hp engine could lift the MX-5-inspired sports car to 100 km / h in just under 7 seconds. For the Aygo, this would pose 2 problems.
A big engine stuffed in the back
The first problem was that the engine would not fit in the Aygo’s engine compartment. Like the Renault 5 Turbo, the answer was to remove baby Toyota’s backseat and glue it there.
No option other than rear-wheel drive would be enough, as it would now be easier due to the location of the engine but also because it was supposed to be a crazy concept car. Hence the name.
It would also give the car an acceptable sporty ride for what was to follow. The second problem with using the 1.8 liter block of the MR2 was that it was only good for 140 hp. Sure, that was ok in the MR2 – it suited the nature and specification of this soft-top sports car – but here they were turning the dial all the way to 11.
From car parks to racetracks
As such, the 140 hp engine was pushed just south of 200 hp using a turbo.
With weight largely unchanged from the standard 2,200 lb Toyota Aygo, the much heavier engine meant that some weight reduction had taken place (the standard 1-liter engine only weighed 154 lbs).
The rear seats were gone and replaced by the engine, there was a full roll cage and a full aerodynamic kit was applied to the car which had wider wheels and increased its track.
Also on the exterior, a rear spoiler and dual-exit exhausts complete the look with the word ‘crazy’ to remind you of what this car was all about.
Performance now meant a 0-60mph time under 6 seconds and a supposed limit of 130mph, but apparently no one has yet. Pity.
It has things in common with other interesting machines
This car, launched at the 2008 London International Motor Show, cost US $ 135,000 at the time, which is even more considering inflation and was meant to be a one-off to show how… creative the team could be, with their technology.
Apparently the car was a bit of a handful; as Autocar put it – “Get into a corner and you are once again aware of the physical limitations of the Aygo’s odd setup, with the engine slung high over the rear wheels offering the potential for very quick oversteer.”
Statistics put this car at more than 60 mph than a 2019 BMW X4 X-Drive 30i, or faster than a Ferrari 250 GTO, depending on your preference. It’s a shame it wasn’t done but, of course, it wouldn’t have been too practical, but a lot of fun.
Similar cars include the previously mentioned Renault 5 Turbo, Turbo 2 and Renaultsport Clio V6. The latter, with 252 hp and a 3.0-liter V6, still got the same 0-60mph time as the Aygo Crazy but would have had a higher top speed of around 150mph.
Finally, perhaps, is the most interesting Frankenstein hatchback of all, and might be considered the devil, if the Aygo Crazy is indeed the Hyde to Aygo’s Jekyll. The Volkswagen Golf W12. With an Audi R8 platform, a rear axle from a Gallardo and a 640 hp 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine from a Bentley Continental. All of these cars took something that was already working fine, and made them a little more, well – crazy.
The Aygo, like its unusual name, is a very unusual car.
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