First, the old

Chevrolets and Fords

Shiny as new?

Aero

Steamlining

Narrow eyes

Elegance

356

Gullwing

Plaid

Crown

Early kei

Early production

Not all Land Cruisers

Boxy

Two-tone

Into the '60s

Super 6

Fairlady

2+1

Honda S500

Classy

Toyota Sports 800

Mini-car boom

Sedans for everyone

Great design

100

Skyline

'70s

Honda CVCC

GTO and Celica

Datsun 240Z

2000GT

MR2

Celsior!

Modern era

LFA

Priuses

Miata/Eunos

Annex

Post-war

Rapid advancement

Music and TV

Finish line

Cool cars await. I just realized looking at the picture that the sign is a "T".

For the full story behind the tour, check out Take a tour of the Toyota Automobile Museum.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The tour begins with some seriously old vehicles. The one in front is a Benz Velo from 1894. It had a blazing 1.5 horsepower.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

A mix of Fords and Chevrolets from the Teens. Model T on the right, Series 490 on the left.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

On the right is a Cadillac Model Thirty, the first car with an electric starter. On the left is a Chevrolet Superior Series K.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

A Morgan Aero in the middle -- a British brand notable for still using wood in most of its vehicles. Behind is a Jaguar 100.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Moving into the 1930s, you can start seeing the first moves towards aerodynamics.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Typical French oddness, with headlights so close together on this Peugeot 402.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Cars of this era sure were gorgeous.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Pictures don't do the Porsche 356 justice. It looks bulbous in photos, but in person it flows very nicely. Hiding behind is not a Beetle. It's a Toyopet Model SA. It was Toyota's first small passenger car. The name "Toyopet" was picked in a public contest.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

What else is there to be said about one of the best looking cars of all time?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

I want a plaid interior in my next car. No, seriously. Don't you?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The 1955 Toyopet Crown Model RS, a very important car for Toyota. Suicide doors and a 1.5-liter engine.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Two early kei cars, A Suzulight SL by Suzuki on the right, and a Mistubishi 500 on the left.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Post-war Japanese vehicles, including the legendary Land Cruiser on the left.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Aiming for low cost and small size, many post-war designs look a little...odd to the modern eye. On the left, a 1955 Flying Feather, followed by a Fuji Cabin 5A then Subaru's first production car, the 360 Model K111.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

In this early era of Japanese domestic auto production, it's pretty obvious style wasn't high on the design checklist. Then again, this was true of most automakers in the '50s (US domestic not included).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The Nissan Austin A50 was built under license. Great paint job.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

As Japan's economy started to bloom, the cars started to reflect this. Most notably they got larger and more stylish. Up front, the Toyota Publica UP10 from 1961. Behind, the 1964 Prince Gloria Super 6 by Nissan.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

After rows and rows of boxes, this one's got some style. Could be the gold paint that really draws the eye.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The Datsun Fairlady SP310, Japan's first mass-produced sports car.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

A classic, simple interior with some lovely big gauges. At the bottom you can notice the top of the third seat, which faced sideways.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Honda's first passenger car, and what a way to start. The 500cc engine revved to 9,500 rpm. Can't imagine what type of machines it made before this car...

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

It's a simple interior, but looks great. Masterful work the museum has done to maintain it -- it looks brand new.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

This one was new to me: the Toyota Sports 800, Toyota's first production sports car. It borrowed many pieces from other Toyota models to keep costs low. Great looking in person.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

On the right is another competitor to the S500 and Fairlady, the Daihatsu Compagno. Next to that are two of the popular mini-cars of the '60s, the Suzuki Fronte 360 and Honda N360.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

On the right, the Datsun Sunny B10. On the right, the Toyota Corolla, which did pretty well for Toyota over the years.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The olive-green coupe is the Nissan Silvia, which was popular over many generations. The Mazda Cosmo is even cooler looking, and was the world's second car to use the rotary engine.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The big 1967 Toyota Century. This is a fascinating car. It's Toyota's flagship car in Japan. It's only been redesigned once in its nearly 50 years in production. It basically doesn't export it. It even comes with a V-12, made by Toyota, and not used in any other vehicle.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

It may not look like much, but this is the granddaddy of the modern Skyline GT-Rs. It's a Prince Skyline 2000GT-B. Nissan did what has often created legends in the auto world: took the engine from a bigger car and squeezed it onto a smaller one.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The '70s certainly saw Japanese auto manufacturing come into it's own. That's a Honda Civic on the left, with a Toyota Corona behind. On the right, the green monster is a Subaru.

I also did a short 360-degree video of this room, if you're interested.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The Honda Civic was available with the CVCC engine, which was able to pass emissions regulations without catalytic converters -- no small feat.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

I hadn't heard of the Mitsubishi Galant GTO or this era Toyota Celica. They looked familiar, though. Probably from Gran Turismo.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

There are a plenty of these still rattling around Los Angeles (my home base), but none are as spotless as this.

The Nissan Fairlady Z, or Datsun 240Z as we got it.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Probably the first Japanese car that could easily be called "beautiful." Only a handful were made and they're exceptionally expensive now.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

I've come so close to buying one of these so many times. Supercharged, of course. This one is from 1984, a few years before that was an option.

The MR2 was Japan's first domestically produced midengine car.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

As boring as it looks, this is a pretty important car. The Toyota Celsior, or Lexus LS400 as it became known in the States. This one is from 1991, two years after Lexus' US launch.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The magnificent LFA looks over all.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Jeremy Clarkson said the LFA was the best car he'd ever driven.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Hybrids and hydrogen galore.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Best-selling sports car of all time. The description of this one was one of my favorites:

"After the lightweight sports car in Europe had become extinct because of their failure to adapt to the times, Mazda developed..."

I think it meant to say "...failure to not rust to the ground in a month and occasionally start."

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

A short walk on a skybridge brings you to the Annex, where there's an exhibition on how the car influenced Japanese culture through the decades.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Each section covers a different decade, with period electronics, cars and other notables.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

Pretty big difference between this 1960 Datsun 211 and the 1953 Mazda three-wheel truck behind it.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

My favorite part about this diorama is that the CRT TVs were fake, just plastic gels of images. The TV showing old footage was an LCD.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow

The Toyota Automobile Museum is a great way to spend an afternoon.

For the full story behind the tour, check out Take a tour of the Toyota Automobile Museum.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison/Roadshow
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