Who are the ancestors of modern “light cars” and “taxi”? Game changers from 70 years ago[Oshisha]| MOBY [モビー]

It’s not just the appearance of a new car, it’s the “game-changer cars” that can “change the history” of industry and culture.

Even in the 1950s, when Japan finally became able to produce post-war domestic cars under a full-scale mass production system that led to today’s cars, it was accepted by users and changed society after that. There was a car that was a game changer.

This time, we will introduce three representative models.

Toyota Toyopet Light Truck SKB (1st generation Toyoace, 1954)

Destroy three-wheeled trucks with strategic price cuts!

Toyota Toyopet Light Truck SKB type (first generation Toyoace), which replaced 3-wheeled trucks with strategic price reductions and made 4-wheeled trucks the norm

Until the mid-1950s, light-duty trucks in Japan were mostly light and inexpensive three-wheeled trucks. At the time, Toyota believed that users were not satisfied with the lack of comfort.

Fortunately, the production of the new OHV engine “R type”, which was later used in the first-generation Crown, also got on track, and there was a surplus of the conventionally used side valve engine “S type (first generation)”, so the body was outsourced. Since it became possible to mount the bodywork in-house, it was possible to produce small trucks at low cost.

Even so, initial sales struggled, but in 1956, a large strategic price reduction was carried out, narrowing the price difference with the three-wheeled truck, and many users switched to SKB as planned.

It not only changed the small truck market, but also encouraged three-wheel truck manufacturers to enter the four-wheel vehicle market, which had a sense of crisis, and had a major impact on the Japanese automobile industry.

Toyota Toyopet Crown (first generation, 1955)

A full-fledged passenger car recognized by the taxi industry for its high reliability

The first Toyopet Crown (left-hand drive specification), which was adopted by all taxi companies in Okinawa before it was returned to Japan, and drove out imported cars.

At the time when the Prince Sedan (1952), Japan’s first full-scale 1.5-liter class passenger car, was suffering from reliability and durability problems, Toyota was also developing the first-generation Crown, a full-scale passenger car produced in-house, but there was still concern. It was durability.

In the 1950s, there were few paved roads in Japan, and there were still few general users, and the taxi industry, which dared to fly over rough roads, gave it a bad reputation as a “breakdown” and failed as a passenger car. is.

As a taxi car, the Master was developed with a conservative structure, and was released at the same time. It grew into an unnecessary hit.

The Crown was the first domestically produced vehicle to satisfy the taxi industry at a time when imported vehicles and domestically produced versions of foreign manufacturers’ vehicles were often used.

Subaru 360 (1958)

The original “People’s car” that was the first hit as a mini passenger car that could withstand use in rough terrain

Subaru 360, the first people’s car that expanded the range of activities of the Japanese people at a price that ordinary people could afford

In 1949, the first “mini vehicle” standard was established, and after several revisions, 4-wheeled mini vehicles appeared one by one in 1953. You can’t get anything, just a little luxurious motorcycle with a roof.

Suzuki’s first-generation Suzulight (1955) was somewhat decent, but the performance and price weren’t satisfactory for use in a country with a lot of ups and downs, and it can’t be said to be a successful mini passenger car yet.

Therefore, we put together a lightweight full monocoque, small-diameter tires, a compact rear power system, and an RR layout that maximizes the cabin. Subaru 360 is the first mini passenger car that has both price.

Despite its small size, it was highly practical and reasonably priced. It was a hit, and the kei car was qualified as a “people’s car.”

* The author information of the images used in this article is as of the publication date.

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