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.