Driving and Researching the Toyota Harrier Zagato

A lesson that I’ve learned about myself (and re-learned), is that I don’t enjoy writing reviews. Cars, products — whichever. Giving impressions and showing the features is like pulling teeth for me, and I feel obligated to cover every single aspect, which, coincidentally, I’m also bad at doing. But I like creating something else — telling the history, or measuring the impact. Framing something as a story or even a documentary opens up a million possibilities for me. 

It’s with this mindset that I eagerly approached the Toyota Harrier Zagato, a fascinating and weird collaboration between Toyota and Zagato that I’ve long been interested in. Someone could make a great car review, but to me it seemed like a better opportunity to trace the history and answer the question: how did this happen?

I traveled to Ohio to drive the only one in the United States, and to uncover some of the hidden history behind this car. 

It was a uniquely appealing challenge to research a car that has been entirely un-researched in the west. This car came and went in 1998, before the internet as we know it, so there’s almost nothing out there, and even the basic timing was a mystery when I went into this. 

I really aimed to put together the most complete English-language history, and in the process, I even found the design sketch of the Harrier Zagato in a book, which has never been digitized until now. 

Huge thanks to Myron Vernis and Bradley Brownell for the opportunity to make this happen. 

Toyota Harrier Zagato by Modellista in Super Chroma Red
Toyota Harrier Zagato by Modellista from above
Toyota Harrier Zagato by Modellista in Super Chroma Red front quarterToyota Harrier Zagato by Modellista in Super Chroma RedToyota Harrier Zagato by Modellista in Super Chroma Red

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