Toyopet Crown Comes to America, 1956 or '57?

toyopetcrown_licenseplate 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?

[Toyota Open Road Blog]

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This post is filed under: mazda, toyota.

5 Responses to Toyopet Crown Comes to America, 1956 or '57?

  1. Dan said:

    Haha great story! Can’t really fault them for being too excited to think about the consequences 51 years later when us nostalgifreaks got a hold of the photo =D

  2. Bob said:

    It’s true, CA issued plates with ’56 on them for many years before the black/yellow lettering plate came out. Maybe out of laziness? I’m not sure.

  3. Ben said:

    Maybe they over-printed and didn’t want to throw them out…

  4. In 1956 The yellow license plate with black lettering were issued until 1963 after this they were black with yellow lettering. My 1959 Toyopet has the original 1956 Yellow license plates front and rear. In 1957 only two Toyopet Crown were shipped to the Long Beach port on Actober 31 1957.

  5. Pete Gonsalves said:

    Google Troy Donahue images… you’ll find one of those ‘screamer pinup’ photos of him leaning over the hood of a fairly new looking ’59 Toyopet. The front CA plate reads “56”… it’s quite possible that only one current year registration sticker was issued from the DMV… for the rear plate.

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