From Road to Rally to Road…
From 1980 (the end of the 2nd generation Kansai’s production) to 1981, TSR had nothing to sell. No cars, no anything… Instead, TSR took a hiatus for those 2 years. At 1982, TSR rose again, but only for rallying. More specifically, Group B. They took the chance to design a car. The result, the TSR Omega… An AWD rally hatchback.
1982 TSR Omega RS
They used a brand-new turbocharged inline 4. The motor was very unreliable even back then… And then, it was longitudinal-mounted, in a hatchback?! Pretty weird… It was one of the underrated Group B cars. It was never competitive. The rules said that if you want to update your rally cars, you need to make an evolution version and so they did! So in 1984, when the Omega got an update, the RS evolution.
1984 TSR Omega RS Evolution
It was more powerful, sportier and more importantly, it made more power in the rally-spec. More specifically, 546HP. It was quite competitive at first but soon, competition was on another level. TSR was now consistently getting 4th and 5th and soon faded away. And so, the spirit of the Omega was gone. But the spirit of rallying was not gone.
TSR took the spirit of rallying and lighten it up to a new car. It was called the project RX (Rally Experiment) or more specifically, the TSR Angel. The first generation was known as the wobbles as it looks very wobbly and round, maybe… This time, they took the engine from the Omega and tweaked it even more. More power and more fuel economy. The result, was this, the Angel S.
1985 TSR Angel S
It was a very good and fun car. It was very appealing to the market. A turbocharged engine and AWD as standard made it very tempting for buyers. TSR lost a lot of money for making the Omega, but gained some money from the sales of the Angel. As the name suggest, it was the Angel who saved TSR from getting bankrupt. Even with its low reliability, people seemed to enjoy it. It was a massive. A sportier option was this, the RS. It was fitted with 17 inch alloy wheels, a new body kit, sport compoud tires and a more powerful, but thirstier engine. It was a big hit.
1985 TSR Angel RS
Some say the 3rd generation Kansai exterior was inspired by the 1st generation Angel. But one things for sure, both names (Kansai and Angel) were very important cars in TSR’s history.
A new mid-engine car was in the works. Everyone expected it to be the Ultra. But it turns out to be the TSR Tora. Built for the Group S rally, unfortunately it was cancelled. Despite that, TSR still sold the Tora. They sold 60 of them total. 50 of them are the Touring and 10 of them are the RS. Both incredible vehicle. They also developed an all-new turbocharged inline 4 engine that had more fuel economy and more durability. The Touring was affordable, the RS was more expensive, but better. You see, the Touring has a basic radio, basic safety, hydraulic power steering and rear-wheel drive only. The RS has a standard radio taken from the Angel, standard safety, variable hydraulic power steering and all-wheel drive. That’s right, mid-engine AWD sports car. It was very advanced at its time.
1987 TSR Tora Touring
1987 TSR Tora RS
But they weren’t sold in the US because it didn’t pass regulations all though that would be easily changed. TSR certified importers actually made the Tora US legal. Only 15 Tora Touring were imported to the US. The TSR Import Certification were needed because somebody tried to import a Tora into the US and the car was illegal. They crushed it. The TSRIC (TSR Import Certification) allowed the importers to be given specialized parts to make it legal in both Europe and the US. The cars need to go through the TSR Importing Station like all other usual models. The Tora was given special caring. They gave it a special bumper and lights and increase the safety of the car. They’ve also added ABS. This was the result…
One of the 15 TSR Touring in the US. Also, pay attention to the changes in the bumper and the lights!
Then it was double checked. Then, when given the green light, the car was put to a ship and arrive at the TSR port in California where they dismantled the cars and brought it to either the TSR dealership or the importer’s dealership. The Touring was allowed for importing but the RS was not. TSR did not allow it as it is extremely rare and can’t be guaranteed to be legal if there are many mistakes.
Fun fact!: TSR made 50 TSR Tora’s as kit cars for schools that teach mechanical engineering. Students have their own extra-curriculum (if they want) of making the TSR Tora Kit Car. The chassis was a space-frame chassis with all the hardware, tools and mountings ready. And also, the US-legal parts.
TSR Tora (TRMK1) - RS.car (28.1 KB)
Please PM us if you want to test drive one of these cars. Thank you…