Section 8. Debut of the Toyopet Crown, a Full-Fledged Passenger Car
Item 4. Changes in the Automotive Market
The Crown London to Tokyo 50,000-kilometer Drive
Journalist Yutaka Tsuji and photographer Hajime Tsuchizaki of the Asahi Shimbun Company departed from London in a Toyopet Crown Deluxe on April 30, 1956. This was an event designated by the Asahi Shimbun Company as the London to Tokyo 50,000-kilometer Drive intended to depict the conditions of driving between London and Tokyo in a Japanese passenger car through a series of articles. The Toyopet Crown experienced extremely difficult conditions including mountain roads and deserts while traversing the countries of Europe and Asia and arrived at Koromo Plant (now Honsya Plant) on December 29 and arrived in Tokyo on December 30 of that year.
Nineteen years early, on April 6, 1937, a Kamikaze-go aircraft (the second prototype of the Model Ki-15 produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries) manufactured entirely in Japan and owned by the Asahi Shimbun Company took off from Tokyo for London to mark the coronation of the king of the United Kingdom. The plane arrived in London on April 10, after flying 15,000 kilometers in 94 hours, 17 minutes, and 56 seconds. Coincidentally, this was the year that Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. was established and the Toyota Model AA passenger car was presented as an extra prize for a winner who correctly guessed the travel time between Tokyo and London.
At the time of this accomplishment by the Toyopet Crown, there were likely many readers who remembered the Kamikaze-go from 19 years earlier. For Toyota Motor Co., Ltd., this event brought back old ties and brought to mind Toyota’s future activities in overseas markets, serving as an opportunity to consider the overseas development of business.