$22,000 Crown Finds Home in Tupelo, Miss.


A couple of months ago we told you about a 1958 Toyopet Crown with a very unique history, having served as one of the cars of the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco, that sold for a record. $22,322. It’s one of the first Japanese cars imported to the US and its sudden appearance in the marketplace caught many by surprise. The winning bidder has now been revealed.

The car’s new home will be the Tupelo Automobile Museum in Tupelo, Mississippi. On its way there, the engine was dropped off for restoration with Frenchy Dehoux, whose own restored ’58 Toyopet won Best in Show at ToyotaFest 2008. The restoration process is expected to be completed in mid-2009.

Why Tupelo? Because in 2007 the city was chosen as the site for a new Toyota factory, where the company will soon begin to manufacture the 2010 Prius. As a show of support and testament to the city’s partnership with Toyota, Tupelo community organizers banded together to purchase this important piece of the company’s US history. You can follow the progress on the Tupelo Toyopet website.

Thanks to the Classic Toyota Town Yahoo Group for the tip!

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This post is filed under: museum, toyota.

12 Responses to $22,000 Crown Finds Home in Tupelo, Miss.

  1. Dan said:

    This is awesome news! And here I was hoping it’d find a good home with a car collector/Toyota enthusiast.

  2. zulu said:

    Great about the Crown. Not so much bout the Prius. I love toyotas, but I hate the Prius!

  3. El Kimico said:

    Nice to know the Toyopet found a good place to be restored and be taken good care of.

  4. Toyotageek said:

    I love that this car found a good home, that is is part of a community project, and that people will be able to enjoy it.

    But the fact that a town in Mississippi is doing something for one car, and a new factory in town, and that the big T doesn’t do something more with their own collection, in a town that has been home for almost 50 years – THAT fact hits a nerve for me. The big T could do something that both the community (Torrance, CA) and that Toyota could be proud of. I know this isn’t Japan, but an offical Toyota USA Museum, done right, would be a destination for a lot of people…

    I’ll keep waiting, but I’ve given up on holding my breath. In the mean time I’ll happily keep watching the progress of the Tupelo Toyopet. :)

  5. Ben said:

    ^ Agreed 100%. :)

  6. Burabuda said:

    that’s pretty cool news! on a related note, i hear that the automaking behemoth will cease production on certain fuel-guzzling trucks & suv’s in order to focus on prius production. i say amen to that …

  7. Toyotageek said:

    @ Burabuda – I agree with you.

    FYI – Toyota won’t actually be ceasing production completely of said SUV’s and Trucks, but they are temporarily halting production and reconfiguring plants and retraining workers. The Mississippi plant was actually supposed to build Highlanders, but that changed after this summers gas situation. I think they put a freeze on 4Runners and some Tundras until November and they are restructuring their entire North American production plans.
    http://www.toyota.co.jp/en/news/08/0710.html

    Personally I could never understand why Toyota went the Tundra route, although I do see the business end of it (at that time, they gave Americans what they wanted – but in my opinion, it was too late). At the time I personally felt Toyota should increase small car & hybrid production – but, hey, I’m just a small guy at a local dealership and not one of the guys at HQ. I’d love to see Kei cars come to America – maybe the tide has begun to turn and Americans are starting to see bigger isn’t always better.

  8. coupeZ600 said:

    @ Toyotageek: This is something that always nagged at me: Would the JDM guy’s all move their Factories over here for political reasons, all those years ago, so they could, with a lot less effort and shipping, create the same crappy cars that the shut-down Detroit Factories couldn’t produce, just to show they weren’t at prescient as they seemed?

  9. toyotageek said:

    @ coupeZ600

    Good question, and one I’m not equipped to answer. However, from what I understand, one reason for the move to produce in the US was economically driven by import taxes. I’m sure the full story is out there, I just don’t have it.

  10. Ben said:

    It was also driven by an effort to give back to the community, combating anti-Japanese sentiment at the time. Also, it was to shield the companies from currency fluctuations. Right now the weak dollar is really cutting into profits for the Japan-built cars but not so for the US-built ones.

  11. Jaime said:

    This Toyopet is a great car. It is rare and stylish, certainly worth a lot more than the $22,322.00 it got sold for.

  12. gary said:

    WOW. another Crown re-surfaces, as a kid my uncle had a repair garage and he got a Crown in trade, everybody hated it nobody would buy it and kids smashed the windows outa it till he put in the garage in back yard, we would drive the heckouta that car in summer and as a 10 yr old I learned to drive THREE on the Tree with it, still can smell the aroma of Japanes plastic and the hot summer sun in my nostrils…

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