1958 Toyota Toyopet Crown

Styled for American tastes, the first Toyota Toyopets were imported to the United States in 1958 and featured chrome trim, whitewall tires, and fins. Although Toyopets could be well-equipped in comparison with other imports of the 1950s, they were too small for the average American consumer and could not maintain the high average cruising speeds needed to drive safely on America’s growing network of freeways. As a result, Toyota temporarily withdrew from the American market only to return in 1965 with the Corona, a vehicle that established new standards of comfort and economy. This example is a tribute to the Toyopet that participated in the 1957 Round Australia Trial, making Toyota the first Japanese manufacturer to compete in international motorsport.

COURTESY OF VICTOR MONTOYA