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Small but Mighty: Rami Sasaki’s Impressions of the Toyota ‘Publica’ Test Drive

Small but Mighty: Rami Sasaki’s Impressions of the Toyota ‘Publica’ Test Drive

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TEXT: 西川昇吾(NISHIKAWA Shogo)  PHOTO: 宮越孝政(MIYAKOSHI Takamasa)

At first, struggled with the throttle operation of a carburetor

Rami was surprised by the compactness of Publica. When she drove the car, she struggled with its compactness at first.

“I found it difficult to operate the pedals. The brake pedal is closer to the front of the car, so if I am not conscious of it, I might end up stepping on the brake instead of the accelerator pedal. Also, because the car is so light, it feels as if it might fly away.”

She was also subjected to the unique mechanisms of old cars, such as air-cooled engines, carburetors, and ball-nut steering wheels.

“The throttle operation is also difficult. Perhaps it is because it is an air-cooled engine with a carburetor, but it responds differently depending on how it warms up, and the response seems to come out of nowhere. The steering also does not respond well in the early stages, giving the impression of being loose. Maybe it’s because of the low power, but when going uphill, I have to step on the gas pedal hard to get up the hill!”

Steering also feels more solid once you get used to it

However, after a while, when the car entered a winding road, it gradually changed to a mode to enjoy the test drive. During the restoration of this Publica, the front brakes were replaced with “S4F” calipers and the suspension with original dampers, and the driver could feel the ENDLESS tuning.

”The front end has been replaced with drum brakes and S4F calipers, and the suspension has original dampers. Also, the engine and gears operate like an old car, but the suspension has been changed, so the ride is very comfortable. I was also surprised at the loose steering wheel at first, but when I turned the steering wheel to take some of the play out of the car, the feeling became firm. Since there is no power steering, it is easy to grasp the feeling of firmness, and since the car is RWD, I feel a good balance in which the tires play different roles, with the front entering at the entrance of a corner and the rear kicking out at the exit of a corner. Because the car is light, it is easy to feel this sense of balance, and above all, it responds to my maneuvers in a way that is easy to understand!”

Although she was at the mercy of the old car’s unique points at first, she soon became accustomed to them and enjoyed the ride, a characteristic that is typical of racing drivers.

translated by DeepL