History of Toyota at the Tokyo Motor Show: 1954-1963

Toyota has been an integral element of every Tokyo Motor Show from its inauguration in 1954, and will continue that record when the 45th edition opens to the public at the end of the month.

To build anticipation for that event, we are going to publish four decade-sized posts that explain which important new models, ideas and concept vehicles Toyota revealed at each show. This post looks at the first ten shows, covering the years 1954-1963.

1954: 1st Tokyo Motor Show

The Motor Exposition that had regularly been organised by the Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun newspaper until 1953 was discontinued. It was reborn the following year as the Zen-Nihon Jidosha show – literally translated as the All-Japan Motor Show but officially called the Tokyo Motor Show in English. Of the 267 vehicles exhibited at this inaugural show, only 17 were passenger cars – a proportion that attests to the high demand for commercial vehicles at the time.

Venue Hibiya Park
Date 20-29 April 1954
Visitors 547,000
Vehicles exhibited 267
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Super RHK and RHN saloons, Toyopet FR bus, Toyota Model FA truck and tipper

1955: 2nd Tokyo Motor Show

The age of Japanese-made passenger cars was heralded with the introduction of the Toyopet Crown, while the commercial sector was shifting from its early preference for three-wheel cargo vehicles to traditional four-wheel trucks in a variety of sizes.

Venue Hibiya Park
Date 7-18 April 1955
Visitors 784, 800
Vehicles exhibited 232
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Crown, Toyopet Master, Toyopet Model RK truck, Toyota Model FA truck and tipper

1956: 3rd Tokyo Motor Show

Following the request by Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry for manufacturers to create ‘people’s car’ concepts, the 3rd Tokyo Motor Show further shifted the attention of visitors from commercial vehicles to passenger cars. In order to highlight this bias, the organisers decided to group the vehicles by category rather than by manufacturer.

Venue Hibiya Park
Date 20-29 April 1956
Visitors 598,300
Vehicles exhibited 267
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Crown Deluxe, Toyopet Masterline Crown van and pick-up, Toyota Land Cruiser, Toyota Model FA truck, Toyopet Model RK route bus

1957: 4th Tokyo Motor Show

Now in its fourth year, the annual show had become a vibrant sales opportunity for manufacturers rather than merely an exhibition. The organisers therefore created a special Automobile Information zone to assist visitors in their purchasing.

Venue Hibiya Park
Date 9-19 May 1957
Visitors 527,200
Vehicles exhibited 278
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Corona saloon and cross-section model, Toyota Land Cruiser and fire engine conversion, Toyopet 1500 truck, Toyoace SKB truck and panel van, Toyota robot

1958: 5th Tokyo Motor Show

There was a visible increase in the number of overseas visitors this year, most likely a reflection of the start of Japanese passenger car exports to the United States earlier in the year. Further changes included a switch from the Hibiya Park venue to the Korakuen Velodrome (now replaced by the Tokyo Dome), which also necessitated a date shift from spring to autumn.

Venue Korakuen Velodrome
Date 10-20 October 1958
Visitors 519,400
Vehicles exhibited 302
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Crown Deluxe, Toyopet Coronaline van, Toyota Model DR10 bus, Toyopet Route Truck with aerial work platform

1959: 6th Tokyo Motor Show

This year Toyota exhibited a small, high-speed diesel engine that had the potential to create new possibilities within the passenger car market. Following the success of last year’s partially covered venue, the show was moved to the Harumi Fairgrounds (now Tokyo Big Sight) to become an entirely indoor event.

Venue Harumi Fairgrounds
Date 24 October – 4 November 1959
Visitors 653,000
Vehicles exhibited 303
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Crown Deluxe, Toyopet Dyna micro bus, Toyota Truck, Toyoace cross-section model

1960: 7th Tokyo Motor Show

Noticeable improvements were felt within the Japanese automobile industry with the introduction of liberal trade and foreign exchange policies. While the Tokyo Motor Show remained an all-Japan event, it was now joined by a separate imported car show.

Venue Harumi Fairgrounds
Date 25 October – 7 November 1960
Visitors 812,400
Vehicles exhibited 294
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Crown Custom Station Wagon, Toyopet Crown 1900 Deluxe, Toyopet Coronaline van and pick-up, Toyopet Stout pick-up and van, Toyopet Corona see-through model

1961: 8th Tokyo Motor Show

As a reflection of the improving economic climate, this year’s show focused strongly on motorisation for the masses with many manufacturers exhibiting passenger cars with sub-one-litre engines. For those already on four wheels, there was a notable push towards sports cars – as exemplified by the Toyopet Sports X concept (below).

Venue Harumi Fairgrounds
Date 25 October – 7 November 1961
Visitors 952,100
Vehicles exhibited 303
Toyota exhibits Toyopet Sports X concept, Toyopet Corona 1500 Deluxe, Toyopet Crown 1900 Deluxe, Toyota Publica saloon and cross-section model, Toyopet Crown Airport Limousine concept, sky parking concept

1962: 9th Tokyo Motor Show

Public interest in automobiles continued to be on the rise in Japan, reflected in the number of visitors to the Tokyo Motor Show exceeding one million for the first time. Sports cars and convertible models were particularly popular this year, while the short two-year distance to the implementation of the liberal trade deal further stirred enthusiasm among exhibitors.

Venue Harumi Fairgrounds
Date 25 October – 7 November 1962
Visitors 1,049,100
Vehicles exhibited 284
Toyota exhibits Toyota Publica Sports concept, Toyota Publica Convertible, Toyopet Crown Deluxe, Toyopet Corona 1500 saloon and Deluxe model, Toyoglide panel, transistor television

1963: 10th Tokyo Motor Show

Following a couple of years with the attention drawn to sports cars, the focus of this year’s show returned to traditional passenger cars. Toyota exhibited the Crown Eight, the first Japanese car equipped with a Japanese-made V8 engine, along with convertible models of the Crown, Corona and Publica to demonstrate harmony between luxury and sportiness.

Venue Harumi Fairgrounds
Date 26 October – 10 November 1963
Visitors 1,216,000
Vehicles exhibited 287
Toyota exhibits Toyota Corona Sports Coupe concept, Toyota Publica Convertible, Toyopet Crown Convertible concept, Toyopet Corona 1500S Convertible concept, Toyota Dream Car concept, Toyopet Corona 1900S Sporty Sedan concept

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