GM and Ford had factories in Japan, back then. Now, the foot is firmly on the other shoe, ahem...
How to get that first model A1 to go that extra mile, in 1936 or so?
In my novel, Kamikaze to Croydon, I mention how young Iinuma Maasaki, the pilot of my novel, reacts to seeing one of these Toyotas in Tokyo.
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His sempai and navigator, Tsukagoshi Kenji, warns him that making such vehicles would require a lot of resources, that Japan did not have.
We were interrupted as a black car drove past on the broad street near the huge red burnt brick building that was such a symbol of this part of town, Tokyo Station. I almost pointed but just nudged Tsukagoshi's arm instead: “Look, that’s the new Toyota car from the Koromo factory in Aichi, they just released them.”
“What will they think of next?”
“Well, listen! That’s the AA 4 door sedan. It has a 3 speed floor shift gearbox. 6 cylinder engine, listen to that noise. I read that it weighs as much as 1,500 kilograms. They reckon it is almost as sturdy as the Dodge and even faster, some say.”
“I think I much prefer the cockpit of an aeroplane, but it would be fun to ride a car like that just once. Have you seen the Bentleys they have over at the British Embassy?”
“That one looks really comfortable. Leather seats!” I kept staring as the car drove off leaving a cloud of black smoke, after having let a suit-clad gentleman out from the rear, looking like he was in a rush to board a train.
How about it, dear readers of Kurashi, for a long, long time...
Meanwhile, here is how the 1980 movie caught our mid 1930s era.
Jay Leno liked the 1936 Toyota AA Replica this much "...and it drives quite nicely!":
If you like long-winded Japanese documentaries, here is more about Toyota, and how it got to number one in sales, world wide: