NEW IMPORTS FOR ’59 (Oct, 1958)

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JAPAN is leading with a heavyweight in its first attempt to sell cars in the U. S. Now on sale in California and soon to be available throughout the country is the Toyopet, made by the Toyota Motor Co., Tokyo. Both four-door sedan and station wagon are offered with the boast: “Big car comfort with little car economy.” The Toyopet has a four-cylinder, OHV engine with 88.66 cu. in. displacement. Maximum hp is 60 at 4,-400 rpm. Delivered with heater, white walls, dual sun visors, set of tools, etc., the price in L.A. is $2,222, plus tax. •

  1. Beagledad says: July 7, 20091:31 pm

    Interesting that “set of tools” is standard with the car. Does this refer to the jack and tire iron set, or was it expected that the owner would do maintenance and repair? It reminds me of the days when I could look under a car’s hood and identify and understand what I was seeing. (It also reminds me that the only “tools” I needed for my old Ford Pinto in college days were a couple of coat hangars, a pair of pliers, and a big roll of duct tape.)

  2. Jari says: July 7, 20092:02 pm

    Beagledad, It was common, that there were a tool set at those days. Usually they had at least jack, wheelnut wrench, spark-plug wrench, a couple of other wrenches, monkey wrench, screwdriver or two. No tire irons any more, though due to spare wheel. Some even had grease press and hammer. Usually the quality of the tools weren’t that good. Well, maybe Ferraris and Rolls Royces had better quality toolsets…

  3. Bob says: July 7, 20098:51 pm

    Ford offered a tool kit as an accessory available with the Pinto (I had a ’72), though it wasn’t standard equipment. I think it cost only about $25 but the quality of the tools were good. I still have a few of the sockets in my tool kit.

  4. Al Bear says: July 7, 200910:16 pm

    Expensive car for the time,

    (From the inflation calculator)…

    What cost $2,222 in 1959 would cost $16,236.82 in 2008.
    Also, if you were to buy exactly the same products in 2008 and 1959,
    they would cost you $2222 and $313.13 respectively.

    Do you want to do another calculation?

    If you liked the Inflation Calculator, you might enjoy my new web site, Smugopedia: Pretend you know better. I’d love to hear what you think of it!

  5. nlpnt says: July 8, 200912:03 pm

    A new, similarly sized, base model Corolla lists at $15,350 according to the Toyota website- this includes A/C and a radio but no power windows or locks.

    $1800 for the Datsun works out to $13,153 – the smallest car in Nissan’s current US lineup, the Versa, starts at $9990 and is much bigger than the ’59 but truly stripped by modern standards (no AC, no radio). $13,100 would get you a Versa SL with AC, power windows/locks/keyless entry, a choice of sedan or hatchback bodies for the same price and more power than the base model.

    More directly, in 1959 a VW bug would’ve cost around $1800 and you could get a bare-bones two-door Ford, Chevy or Plymouth, maybe with a few options, for the $2200 figure.

    All of these prices are for manual transmission cars and exclude shipping fees.

  6. Torgo says: July 8, 20099:34 pm

    I think my father paid $2000 for a Dodge Dart in the early 70s.

  7. Toronto says: July 8, 20099:50 pm

    I paid $2000 for an orphaned Mazda 323 in ’79 or so – they were supposed to be badged “GLC” over here. Unfortunately, it had an engine no one had ever seen in North America, so cost a bit more in the long run.

    And it came with a tool kit. Not that it needed much – you could pretty much take the whole car apart with a 13mm wrench and a Phillips screwdriver.

    Early ’80s Ladas not only came with tools, but a tire pump and a hand crank for emergency use.

  8. Eli says: July 9, 20091:30 pm

    And so began the demise of the US auto industry…

  9. Don says: November 23, 200911:16 pm

    It should be noted that this Toyota failed miserably. It was horribly underpowered and extremely unreliable. They had not studied the needs of American motorists. The company stopped selling cars in America for several years, but continued selling some pickups and Land Cruisers in the Western USA. In the meantime, Datsun roared up the import sales charts and toppled Volkswagen in the early 1970s.

    Toyota came back with the Corona in 1966. A car tailored for America. Within three years it was in the top five of import car sales. They surpassed Datsun just a few years later, and have only recently begun to lose momentum.

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