Friday, February 1, 2008

Crowning Glory

Back in September of 1966, Toyota was 9th overall in import sales in the U.S. with 500 dealers nationwide, and hoping to expand with another 100 in the coming year. The Corona with its peppy 1.9 liter 4 cylinder was driving Toyota’s sales in the small car category, while their physically largest offering stateside was the Crown Custom wagon. With a 2-liter straight six pumping out 110 horsepower, acceleration in the 3000lb, three-speed on-the-column shift wagon was described at the time as “modest”. The biggest gripe about the whole package was a lack of stopping power from the 9.1” drum brakes. After a few panic stops, the brakes could only register 31% of a G, as the pedal effort increased from 65lbs to 190lbs. The Rambler-like looks were praised at the time by the U.S. media, but for me it signifies a turning point in Japanese styling – the last of an era of emulating American style in the literal sense.

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