Motorsport great Chris Amon's family 'humbled' by limited edition car
The family of Kiwi motorsport legend Chris Amon are "humbled" by Toyota New Zealand's production of a limited edition sports coupe in his name.
Just 10 bright orange GT86s have been built, each of them branded with Amon's name and a unique solar flare exterior paintwork, different wheels, updated brakes and shock absorbers, and new interior features.
James Amon said his father, who died last year, enjoyed a special 30-year relationship with Toyota, after once scolding the suspension of the 1980 Corolla on national television programme, The Motor Show.
That criticism led to Toyota employing Amon as vehicle development and motorsport consultant, where he played a pivotal role in the car manufacturer's international vehicle-testing programme
Amon said his mother Tish bought one of the limited edition cars, valued at $55,990.
"It's pretty awesome for dad," James Amon said. "There's some sentimental value there and... this is Toyota's way of recognising their relationship with dad over the years.
"The best thing is it's not about Toyota making revenue or flogging off another car. It's nice that they're not being mass produced."
One of James Amon's fondest memories growing up was thinking his parents ran a bed and breakfast for Japanese tourists. Little did he know the guests were some of Toyota's top engineers and car technicians working with Chris Amon to design vehicles.
"The one thing about dad is he didn't give much away. We just thought they were friendly Asian people. We didn't know who they were."
The Chris Amon Edition GT86 is powered by a two-litre engine producing 152kW of power. Standard equipment includes keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate-control air conditioning, a multi-information display, privacy glass, a six-speaker audio system, and satellite navigation.
It has seven airbags, vehicle-stability control, traction control, LED daytime running lights and headlights with automatic levelling and cruise control.
"He'd be pretty chuffed to see they've come this far," James Amon said. "It's nice that they've souped it up and made it a bit racier."
James Amon said the family had been kept up to speed throughout the car's production and he couldn't wait to get behind the wheel.
"I haven't tested it yet, so I can't wait to get behind the wheel. I don't think I'll be driving it the way dad would have, but it'll still be a bit of fun."
Toyota New Zealand spokesman Spencer Morris said the Chris Amon edition was named after the classic 1980s AE86 Corolla coupe.
"Chris enjoyed driving the 86 and we think he would approve of these changes to make it even better."