Monday, 30 April 2012

The world's oldest Toyota

Toyota's first road car was called, rather appropriately, the AA. Representing a shift from the company manufacturing things like weaving looms, this foray into passenger cars was a strong start; 1,404 AAs were built betwen 1936-43. It was largely an exercise in copying - the shaped was informed heavily by the Chrysler Airflow (indeed, Kiichiro Toyoda bought an Airflow and stripped it down to see how it was made), and the chassis and electrics were copies of Ford designs - but it proved that the company could make and sell cars successfully.

When Toyota's 50th anniversary arrived in the eighties, they couldn't find a single surviving AA with which to celebrate, so they built a replica using old plans. However, it subsequently came to light that one sole AA had survived, tucked away for all those years in a shed in Vladivostok; on its discovery in 2010, it was snapped up by the Louwman Museum in Holland, who display it to this day in its derelict state. It may be tired but damn it, it's a significant car.
Of course, there's no way of knowing whether there's another one somewhere, collecting dust and cobwebs and biding its time...

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