In the beginning, there was the Toyopet, the forerunner to the Toyota nameplate. The first cars were sold in the United States in 1958. Dealers carried two models, the Crown and the Landcruiser (as it was spelled at the time), the Japanese version of the Jeep. Sales of the Crown were not brisk. Only 2,200 cars had been sold in the United States by 1961, and the model was dropped. The Japanese automaker began making inroads here in 1965, with the introduction of the Toyota Corona. The rear-wheel-drive Crown had a three-speed manual transmission and an in-line four-cylinder engine. The only major options available were a $95 radio and whitewall tires. Crowns were offered as four-door sedans and as a two- and four-door station wagon for the 1960 model year.

THE SPECS

Price $1,999

Engine 88.7-cubic-inch

in-line four

Horsepower 60 at 4,400 rpm

Wheelbase 99.6 inches

Overall length 172 inches

Passenger capacity 4

HISTORICAL FACTS

Year 1960

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Median family income $5,620

Dow Jones industrial average (year-end) 615.88

Academy Award movie "The Apartment"

Milestone 10 percent of work

force is on the farm