Feast your eyes on the Yamaha sports car that never was

The Yamaha Sports Ride was the closest that Yamaha came to launching a genuine sports car – sadly for us, it never came to be…

IF there is one motorcycle manufacturer that has blown hot and cold with the idea of making cars more than any other – it’s Yamaha.

One of their early cracks at it was the bonkers OX99-11. A tandem seating sports car with a 400hp, F1 derived V12 engine. It was fast, unusual looking and in the end, too expensive to become reality.

But there is another, more recent attempt that Yamaha have made to crack the world of four wheels. Only this one, might have slipped under the radar a bit.

The Yamaha Sports Ride was a collaboration between Yamaha and F1 and road car genius designer, Gordon Murray. His job was to turn Yamaha no doubt rambling design brief – I’m not being mean here, there is a space for a Trumpet on the parcel shelf! – and turn it into a car that would work for the consumer and the manufacturer.

Built around a carbon fibre tub, the svelte bodywork of the Sports Ride is to clad in super light and strong carbon fibre. The car had some nifty details too, flush-fit door handles, aerodynamic fins at the front and a downforce inducing venturi at the rear. All signs pointed to this thing being actually pretty bloody good.

Yamaha even went to the trouble of mocking up a full-sized version of the car (above and top) and taking it along to the Tokyo Moto Show in 2015. And the result of even that concept was pretty good, with even the interior finish looking production-ready.

Why did the Yamaha Sport ride get shelved?

Sadly, as Yamaha often does with their four-wheeled exploits, the board decided their pockets were too deep and their arms too short, and the project was canned due to lack of funding and an inability to make the car profitable.

We can now share with you what the car would have looked like, as these patent pictures from the time of the show. Many of the swoopy lines of the concept have gone, in favour of a cleaner and more crisp design. In fact, to us in the office, we think it looks a little bit like the Lotus Evora.

It’s a shame really, a four-wheeled launch would break up all the bike stuff a bit!


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