Model SA passenger car and Model SB truck

Among vehicles equipped with the S engine, the Model SA passenger car was the farthest along in terms of design. However, because production of passenger cars was not allowed at that time, Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. decided to give higher priority to developing a truck and hurried to complete the Model SB truck. Designing of the Model SB truck commenced in December 1945, and a decision was made to utilize the same rear axle, differential carrier, and brake system as the Model AC passenger car.1

The Model SB small truck was announced in April 1947 and production commenced, with the driver's cab and truck bed mounted at Toyota Shatai. Table 1-25 shows the chassis specification.

Table 1-25. Specifications of the Model SB Truck (1948)

Item
Description
Engine
Model S (995 cc, 27 hp)
Length
3,800 mm
Width
1,600 mm
Height
1,725 mm
Vehicle weight
1,200 kg
Standard capacity
1,000 kg
Source:
Toyota Engineering Society's Toyota Technology, P.30, March 1, 1948

Meanwhile, the first prototype of the Model SA compact passenger car was completed in January 1947, earlier than the Model SB truck. While announcement of the new vehicle was delayed by 9 months to October of the same year for the reason mentioned above, the public was asked in August to suggest a nickname for the truck. "Toyopet" was selected and thereafter, the Model SB truck was referred to as the Toyopet Truck. Table 1-26 shows the specifications of the Model SA Toyopet passenger car.

Table 1-26. Specifications of the Model SA Passenger Car (1948)

Item
Description
Engine
Model S (995 cc, 27 hp)
Length
3,800 mm
Width
1,600 mm
Height
1,530 mm
Vehicle weight
940 kg
Maximum speed
80 km/h
Source:
Toyota Engineering Society's Toyota Gijutsu, March 1, 1948. P.30

The body of the Model SA has a flowing shape similar to that of the Volkswagen Beetle, and utilized a backbone frame consisting of a single pipe. The propeller shaft went through this pipe to be linked to the differential carrier, representing a brand new design for Toyota. Both the front and rear wheels used independent suspension, with coil springs used for the front wheels and a single horizontal plate springs for the rear wheels. Although this was an extremely bold design, it was not suitable for taxis (which constituted the majority of passenger car demand) and was criticized as being premature for privately owned passenger cars.

An interesting episode enhanced the reputation of the Model SA passenger car's performance. In a competition with a Nagoya-Osaka express train held on August 7, 1948, the Model SA passenger car beat the express train to Osaka. The Model SA passenger car, which took off at the same time as express train No. 11 leaving Nagoya Station at 4:37 pm, drove a total distance of 235 kilometers paralleling the Tokaido Line, including some rough, old mountain roads, at an average speed of 60 kilometers/hour, and arrived at the Osaka Station at 8:37 pm, 46 minutes before the express train's scheduled arrival time. Note that the rail distance between Nagoya and Osaka was only 194 kilometers.

While 12,796 units of the Model SB truck were produced by February 1952, Model SA passenger cars remained in limited production due to the restriction placed by the GHQ.

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