Tuesday, April 13, 2010

1968 Toyota Crown - An Unmolested Survivor

Toyota called this car "the most luxurious medium-sized, medium-priced car from Japan". That wasn't saying much. In 1968 most cars coming to the US from Japan were small, inexpensive, and sparsely equipped.

1968 was a breakthrough year in the US for Toyota. Sales jumped from 38,000 cars in 1967 to 70,000 in 1968. That was still far behind Volkswagen's US sales of 582,000, but it was a sign of what was to come. In 1969 they sold over 100,000 vehicles. It just kept increasing from there.

While Toyota had started to figure out the US small car market, it hadn't yet figured out the US medium car and luxury car market. The Crown didn't sell very well.

In the 1960s (really until the mid-late '80s) Japanese cars were not known for their styling. This car is no exception. From the back it sort of looks like a Rambler, the front has a sort of "Italian sedan meets Humber Super Snipe" look, and from the side it could be almost any inexpensive 1960s American sedan. It doesn't look bad, it doesn't look good. It looks generic.

The interior is somewhat better. It has bucket seats, a center console and a well laid out dash. It's not as nice as anything that came from Europe, but it was better than a lot of 1960s American sedans.

The engine was an unexciting, but very durable and well engineered, 137ci inline 6. The suspension was leaf springs in the back and coils up front.

Most older Toyotas have rusted away. Of the few that survived, many wound up chopped, lowered, bagged and covered with body kits (among other things). This one is as it was when it left the factory. The engine was rebuilt some time in the 1980s and a few things were recently rebuilt or replaced, but all-in-all this is an unmolested car.

The seller says the car has just under 85,000 miles on it. It's rust free and shows a lot less wear than you would expect to find on a 42 year old unrestored car. It could use some paint in order to be perfect, but it's probably cooler to keep it as is. This car is a survivor.

Located in Minneapolis, MN, click here to see the eBay listing.

1 comment:

Shaun Pond said...

I had one of these in the early 70s, a hand-me-down when I got back to the states.
I drove it for the year or so that I had left on my enlistment in the Marines. It didn't have any street cred on the base, where V8 muscle cars were the rule. But it was the vehicle of choice when we went on liberty: you could fit 5 people in the thing comfortably and it attracted zero attention from police and MPs.
And it was bulletproof, surviving impromptu off road forays into the Mojave and very haphazard maintenance. When I passed it on to my sister, it had just turned over 200,00 miles and still ran like a top. She drove it for three more years.