SHOWA SNAP: Everyone come see the brand new 1966 Toyota Corolla

The debut of the Toyota Corolla was a big deal in 1966. Though, it’s quite likely that even Toyota didn’t know how big of a deal the new model would be. The idea was a small but sporty compact that would slot between the Publica and Corona, but no one could have predicted that it would by 1974 become the world’s best selling car model and by 1997 break the Guinness world record for sales, outselling the VW Beetle. Did any of the salarymen passing this new Corolla display know the success they were gazing upon? Would they, as old men seeing “Corolla” become a household word around the globe recall, “I saw the first one on the way to work in 1968.”?

As Japan’s capital, Tokyo often hosts pop-up displays of new cars. TV commercials and magazine ads are great, but there’s still nothing like seeing a car in person. Here’s another display at Tokyo’s Yurakucho Crossing a few years earlier. The image is blurry, but it looks like a Prince Skyline GT. Again, how many people seeing the car could have guessed that how revered the Skyline name would be decades later?

Images: 2ch

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7 Responses to SHOWA SNAP: Everyone come see the brand new 1966 Toyota Corolla

  1. Mark F Newton-John says:

    Curious to see why Toyota decides against making a Corolla coupe when it seems that Honda does a decent business selling Civic coupes. Some kind of collusion, they don’t want to compete directly? You realize there are no direct competitors for the GT-R, Supra, 370Z, Civic Type-R, WRX… ?
    And another thing, why are Chinese Corollas called Levins?

    • Toyota did have corolla coupes in the 70s-90s, and they were generally good, but then coupe sales slowly declined across the board
      i guess the later celica and now the 86 kinda fill that void
      the civic coupe is the only one of its kind left in its segment, with the closest competitor imo being the veloster, but that’s a hatch
      even then, the sedan FAR outsells the coupe
      would not be surprised if Honda drops the Civic coupe in favor of the hatch and sedan for the 11th generation

      • nlpnt says:

        I fully expect the coupe to be kicked to the side to make room for 5-door hatch production in Marysville with Swindon closing.

  2. Thomas says:

    Fun Fact. The 1968 Corolla shares a clutch master cylinder with the 2000GT. Raiding the parts bin!

    • Corey says:

      Not quite, the Corolla used a cable clutch in K powered models. However it may well have used the 2000GT clutch master for its single circuit brakes!

  3. Scotty G says:

    Speaking of clutch cables, my 1971 E20 wagon used to have an issue with the clutch cable bending the “pulley bracket” under the right side of the dash and I’d have to take it off and reweld it. I heard that’s because it was made to be right-hand-drive but in the US, the clutch cable had to go back over to the right side and the pulley bracket under the dash was the solution?

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