Loyal JNCers will know that Toyopet Crown came ashore in 1957, making it the first Toyota and first Japanese car to arrive in the US. If not, then you need to read our premiere issue, which looks back at the early days of Toyota USA, along with its trials and tribulations.
Fresh off the boat in Long Beach, the car received a small and rather unremarkable ceremony before being promptly whisked to the Los Angeles DMV by Toyota execs. After it was registered, this historic photo to the right was taken.
But apparently, if you zoom in for a closer look at the license plate, you can see that it actually reads “’56” in the upper right corner. So what gives?
According to Toyota, it’s because California was still issuing plates printed with 1956 on them and giving 1957 registrants a small sticker to place over the “’56.” However, affixing a sticker just didn’t seem as momentous as actually attaching the license plate.
Of course, it would appear that an easy solution would have been to put the sticker on first, before screwing the plate on, but they were probably just too excited about getting the first official Toyota in the US on the road. Plus, the cops were watching.
We also have to wonder, if this ’58 Crown can sell for over $22,000, how much would ol’ NRS 413 go for if it were suddenly discovered in a garage 51 years later?