After World War II, Japanese automobiles flourished. Despite the devastation the country suffered in the 1940s, it still boasts an extensive portfolio of passenger vehicles produced from 1950 to 1959. Exactly what models were available on the market then?
The Subaru 360 was the first mass-produced car from this Japanese brand. Interestingly, it was intended to be a vehicle whose engine would not exceed the capacity of 360 cubic centimeters. It was equipped with a four-speed manual transmission and originated from the Kei Car segment, i.e. microcars, although it was slightly larger than them.
The first model was presented and introduced in 1958, with production continuing until 1971. It is worth noting that as many as 392,000 models were created. Powered by a small, air-cooled two-stroke engine, it accelerated to about 97 kilometers per hour.
Another Kei Carem was the Suzulight, a Suzuki-branded model produced since 1955. All versions of this vehicle had transverse-mounted engines and front-wheel drive. The first models were based on the Lloyd 400 with a two-stroke and two-cylinder power unit. There were drum brakes, double wishbones on spring suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering.
Such technology was well ahead of its time when the Suzulight was produced. It should be noted that several variations of this model were created, including, among others, a delivery van under the name Suzulight SD, this was also the first ever Kei truck.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The Land Cruiser model from Toyota is undoubtedly the primary factor that has influenced such great popularity of the brand around the world. The groundbreaking Prius or Corolla cannot match this design.
The first Land Cruiser prototype was the one with the designation BJ, unveiled in 1951. It’s a truck with a clunky power unit with a simple design and 85 horsepower under the hood. The engine’s capacity of 3.4 liters is certainly impressive, there was no shortage of 6 cylinders, and torque at 1,600 rpm was 212 Nm.
Initially, the Land Cruiser was reserved for the services, but even then the thought was to bring the vehicle to individual customers as well. How the history of the model turned out, we all know, to this day it is still one of the most popular cars of the Japanese manufacturer.
Subaru 1500 is the first in terms of production car of the brand. Of course, the mass-produced one was the one already mentioned, that is, the 360 model. However, the described version was created four years earlier, in 1954. The vehicle had a one-and-a-half liter, four-cylinder OHV engine used in the Peugeot 202, among others. Only 200 copies of the Subaru 1500 were made, hence it cannot be said that it was mass-produced like its predecessor.
Last on the list is the Toyota Crown, which, interestingly enough, returns to the market in a completely new version. The first generation appeared on the market in 1955 and was intended to meet the demands of public transportation. Intended for private purchase, the vehicle had a 1.5-liter Type R engine under the hood. A sedan version and a four-door and two-door station wagon were introduced.
main photo: unsplash.com/Sam Manns