The Toyopet Crown – First Japanese Car Sold in the United States | Z…

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Toyota Tiara

The Toyopet Crown – First Car Sold in the United States

In 1950s, the United States itself in the midst of a sharp which caused a market towards small imported cars. One company who noticed trend in the United States was Motor Corporation, a then-small automaker that marketed its under an odd-sounding nameplate: In an effort to tap this potentially market, Toyota imported the Japanese car to be officially sold in the States: the Toyopet Crown.

catalog for the 1959 Toyopet Custom Sedan.

First to the United States in 1957, the Crown was designed for the small, but Japanese market, which was in the stages of its recovery from the of World War II. When the Crown was introduced, private automobiles rare in Japan because were too expensive for the average citizen to own and operate. In addition to much of Japan’s highway at that time still of rough unpaved rural and narrow city streets, of which permitted high-speed Such conditions put a strong on economy and durability.

In terms of design, the Toyopet was a thoroughly conventional small car for its It rode on a 100-inch wheelbase and a front-engine, rear-wheel drive Initially, power was provided by a 1.5 engine, which produced a modest 60 horsepower and gave it a top speed of 65-70 miles per Outwardly, the Crown was fitted a body shell featuring styling, which included a front end and small tailfins in the Its interior was surprisingly roomy, to seat 6 adults in reasonable The Crown was also notably for a small car, weighing in at pounds.

Trade catalog for the 1960 Crown Custom Sedan.

the first two examples of the Toyopet arrived in the United States in 1957, it was not released to the American public until July Unfortunately for Toyota, the car did not do well in the market. To start with, the was ill-suited for American driving Overweight and underpowered, it could not be at high speeds for extended without causing serious damage. The Crown was also costing at least $600 than the 1958 Volkswagen the best-selling import in the United at that time. From a point of view, its image was not by its use of the nameplate “Toyopet,” which potential customers associated toys and pets instead of

Although the Crown was heavily it did possess a number of desirable that were duly by some automotive critics of the It was praised for the high quality of its It was also found to be economical to capable of fuel mileage in of 30 miles per gallon. The Crown itself to be surprisingly rugged and in low-speed city driving Such attributes greatly Toyota’s position in the American a number of years down the

2,137 Toyopet Crowns sold in the United States 1958 and 1960 before it was by the Toyota Tiara for the 1961 year. Although unsuccessful in of sales, Toyota learned from this car’s in the American market. The Toyopet is credited with laying the for Toyota’s long-term presence in the automobile market.

Covello, Standard Catalog of Imported 1946-2002 ; Iola, Wisconsin: Publications, 2002, p. 772-773.

Toyota Tiara

Georgano, Nick, ed. The Beaulieu of the Automobile Volume 2: M-Z ; Norwich, The Stationery Office, 2000, p.

Toyopet Crown Custom world’s greatest automotive . Toyota: Trade Catalogs: Model: Crown Custom, n.d. Z. Taylor Vinson Hagley Museum and Library.

Crown Custom Sedan for 59 . Trade Catalogs: Specific Crown Custom, 1959-1961, Z. Taylor Vinson Collection, Museum and Library.

Toyopet “it’s a the big little car”, the little big car” . Toyota: Catalogs: Specific Model: Custom, 1959-1961, n.d. Z. Vinson Collection, Hagley and Library.

Kenton Jaehnig is the Archivist for the Z. Taylor Vinson at Hagley Museum and Library.

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