Rarities: 1971 Toyota Crown

On my way to the Sommer’s Car Museum in Naerum, north of Copenhagen before Christmas, this caught my eye.


This is a car which bears close scrutiny. It has distinctive high level indicators and running lights, set over a nicely demarcated lamp-and-grille assembly. 

And here is a little more.


The wheel is positioned in a satisfying way right under the c-pillar. The finish and quality of materials is very good, not what I expected. That’s true both inside and out. Japanese cars had a poor reputation in Ireland in the 1970s, due to insufficient rust protection. With electrophoretic paint treatment, differerent steel and some strategic zinc-coating this car would have been seen very differently now. The dislike people affected towards the styling is baffling: is this any more decoratively finished than equivalent Fords, Volvos or Mercedes of the day? Compared to a W-123 it’s quite reserved. Look at this DLO and its chrome frame.


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

19 thoughts on “Rarities: 1971 Toyota Crown”

  1. Like the way the floor tile lines up with the rear bumper chrome in the last picture Richard lol. Seriously though I saw one of these “on the road” at Luton Hoo, in white and I think it was the even rarer coupe version. As a child I recall being fascinated by the array of buttons the car had inside because my Dad owned a Ford Escort Mk2.
    The high level front lights do seem way ahead of the time and I notice the use of chrome to accentuate that people would have criticised then but yet think it’s the “best thing ever” to do now – note the chrome around the low front bumper lights for example.The bumpers seem to integrate as well whereas most cars of the time simply had bumpers added on – the chrome detaling s reminiscent of a bumper to wing join line on our later plastic bumper cars.

  2. What a stunner! One of my favourite cars, the estate model is even better (I generally dislike sedans for their utter uselessness and terrible shape).

  3. Interestingly, David Bache was thinking along similar lines with the stillborn Rover P8 saloon, which featured a notably similar frontal and canopy treatment. Both designs carried strong Detroit overtones.

  4. One oy favourite cars from Japan too. I can see some inspiration from other cars but it has its very own charisma. A quirky car with a sporty touch.

    The front has a bit of a Dodge Charger – an american muscle-car-look but still elegant.
    And the rear is a variation of the Ford Consul/Granada-theme with very delicate rearlights.

    Maybe black is not the best color for this car – and i would buy white-wall-tyres for this car.

    1. The Ford Granada from the early 70s also occurred to me. I wonder if there’s a US car where that feature originated?
      The side profile is quite purposeful and the straight, level bonnet and RWD proportions do indeed give it a sporty character which is quite absent from the successors.

    1. Not so sure Robertas … a similarity perhaps. However your suggestion has encouraged me to look at all the cougars and if a car ever got worse from the original concept – the cougar is it … a fine looking piece of US heavy metal made garbage over the following 2 decades. One for Richards disappointing thread.

    2. Good hint.
      You are right – a domestic Cougar for japanese families.

  5. I have a sad admission. In my late teens a good family friend bought a new white Crown Coupe. He was a most unlikely customer. A charming, tweedy, Rover-driving gent who had spent the entire duration of WW2 in a Japanese prison camp. My Dad and I teased him mercilessly about his flashy aquisition (which he took very well) and, being even more snobby and judgemental about motoring matters than I am now, I neither asked for a ride (or quite possible) a drive in it. Now I view the Crown quite differently and I realise what a fool I was.

    1. Hi Sean
      I think that is how the media drive us, we are pressured into either acceptance or rejection. Your reaction is not surprising, curious to know though – did your Citroen habit evolve on its own or did your family have Citroens. It is (like the Toyota) a little on the wild side though clearly there has been gallic influential pressure through the media for many decades, it isn’t a car the press hated but it is one for the individual – no matter what model.

      I also had a negativity towards Japanese cars – still do to some extent but the only cool teacher in my school (physics teacher) drove am early 70’s Celica (2 door coupe – not hatch version) in rust and yellow. That seemed like a great car as did my neighbours Opel (not vauxhall) Manta B.

    2. I was a subscriber to Car Magazine back then and tended to go with their dogma. Not that many Japanese cars didn’t deserve it but I should have been more discerning.

      As for the Citroen question, the answer is Yes in both cases. My family had Citroens, but only because I persuaded them to get them. First was a Dyane which I read a glowing review of in Motor, and that I ended up inheriting. Then I persuaded my Dad to get a CX Prestige. I also once persuaded my business partner to buy a new BX Estate, a very troublesome car that he’s never forgiven me for. I tend not to recommend cars any more.

    1. Richard. I bought that very magazine a couple of years ago myself, when I was thinking about writing an article on the Crown for some bloke in Denmark.

  6. Wow. My Dad bought one of these when I was a kid. Same year, but in dark green. I remember being fascinated by the switch to the right of the steering wheel which sent the aerial up and down electrically. It even had central locking. I used to stare at that car in the driveway and it held my attention for ages. Such detail. Oh – and it had the whitewalls too. Lovely.

    1. Hi Scott:
      Thanks for stopping by. I have a bit more on the Crown coming soon. A review of the station wagon/estate has landed on my desk and I will reveal choice excerpts when I get a chance to sit down and write something. The ashtray for the driver is hilariously badly placed, that´s one little detail.

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