Toyota SA

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The SA was Toyota's first new passenger car design (as opposed to updating the AA) after World War II. It was the first in a family of vehicles before the introduction of the Crown. A series of light trucks also shared the chassis and major components of these passenger cars.

All of these vehicles were sold under the Toyopet name.

Contents

SA


SA
Toyopet Model SA
Automotive industryToyota
Production1947 to 1952
AssemblyJapan
PredecessorAE
SuccessorSD
Car classificationlarge family car
Car body stylesedan
Automobile layoutfront-engine, rear-wheel drive
Automobile platformbackbone chassis
Internal combustion engineType S
Transmission (mechanics)3 speed manual
Wheelbase2400 mm[1]
Length3800 mm
Width1590 mm
Height1530 mm
Curb weight1170 kg
RelatedSB, SC
Automotive designDr Kazuo Kumabe

The SA was Toyota's first true post war design. It differed from all previous Toyota cars by having a 4 cylinder engine (previously a 6 cylinder was used), 4 wheel independent suspension (previously using Live axle with Leaf springs) and a smaller, aerodynamic body. The project was driven by Kiichiro Toyoda under the wisdom of his father's (Sakichi Toyoda) words, "Stay ahead of the times"[2] but most of the design work was done by Dr Kazuo Kumabe.[3]

The body was aerodynamic in a style similar to the Volkswagen Beetle. Only a two door Sedan (car) was made, making it unsuitable for the taxi market. The doors were arranged to open rearwards (often called Suicide doors). The front window was a single pane of flat glass with a single wiper mounted above the driver. Only Right hand drive was offered.

Toyota engineers (including Dr Kumabe) had visited Germany before World War II and had studied the 16 cylinder Auto Union racing car (independent suspension) and Porsche and Volkswagen designs (independent suspension, aerodynamic bodies, backbone chassis, rear mounted air cooled engines, economical production cost)[4]. Many Japanese companies had ties with Germany during the war years but most partnered with British or American companies after the war and thus used technologies commonly used in Britain or America. But Toyota did not partner with a foreign company, so it was free to use German designs. Many features of the prototype Beetle were subsequently put into the SA, although the Beetle's rear mounted air cooled engine feature was not used. Later on, Toyota revisited the economic principles exemplified by the Beetle when designing the Publica and the Corolla.

Dates and Production Figures

Although permission to begin full production of passenger cars in Japan was not granted until 1949, limited numbers of cars were permitted to be built from 1947, and the Toyota SA was one such car [5] [4] [6]. Design work started at the end of 1945 when the GHQ let it be known that authorised commercial production of vehicles for the general public would be commencing soon. This model was introduced in January 1947, with a prototype (which had been under development for more than a year) being completed at that time.[2]

Production occurred from October 1947 through May 1952 (overlapping with the 1949-introduced SD), with a total of only 215 being built [7]. The first car to be produced by Toyota in the postwar period was the AC, which had first been produced in 1943-1944. Fifty were built for government and military use in 1947, and three more were assembled in 1948. Since only 54 cars were built by Toyota in 1947, this leaves four Model SA production cars to be built at the end of that year, not counting the prototype.

Eighteen SA cars were built in 1948, and from 1949-1952, 193 more were built. No breakdown exists between models after 1948; only yearly passenger-car grand totals are extant.

Mechanicals

This model introduced the Type S Straight-4 water cooled engine, conventionally mounted in the front of the car and driving through the rear wheels. Two small grills at the front allowed air for the engine's radiator. Transmission was by a 3 speed manual gearbox and a Hotchkiss drive[4] (previous Toyotas used a Torque tube) to a rear mounted Differential (mechanical device). The final drive gear ratio was 7.17:1 .

More unconventional was the use of a Backbone chassis and four wheel independent suspension. A-arm suspension (short upper arm, long lower arm) with coils was used at the front and Swing axle suspension with Trailing arm, Panhard rod and a transverse semi-elliptical Leaf spring was used at the rear.

SB


SB
Automotive industryToyota
Production1947 to 1952
AssemblyJapan
SuccessorSG
Car classificationlight truck
Automobile layoutfront-engine, rear-wheel drive
Automobile platformladder frame
Internal combustion engineType S
Transmission (mechanics)3 speed manual
Wheelbase2400 mm[1]
Length3950 mm
Width1590 mm
Height1725 mm
Curb weight1125 kg
RelatedSA, SC, BJ

A light truck using the Running gear from the SA but with a ladder chassis and solid axles front and rear, both with semi-elliptical springs. The SB was popular with the general public and also with the American occupation forces, which ordered it in large numbers.[4]

The SB was offered with commercial bodies only but many dealers and owners had sedan bodies made for them.[4] [2] Toyota contracted the Kanto Denki factory to produced a sedan body and wagon on the SB chassis as the SC.

A small number of police cars were made by adding a special body with a canvas top, 4 canvas doors and a fold down front window for the Japanese Police Reserve Force but they were not popular.[8]


Dates and Production Figures

Produced from 1947.

Mechanicals

The SB used the same engine and gearbox as the SA. A conventional ladder frame chassis was used with conventional semi-elliptical springs and solid axles front and rear.

SC


SC
Automotive industryToyota
Production3 prototypes in 1948
AssemblyJapan
PredecessorSA
SuccessorSD
Car classificationlarge family car
Car body stylesedan
Automobile layoutfront-engine, rear-wheel drive
Automobile platformladder frame
Internal combustion engineType S
Transmission (mechanics)3 speed manual
RelatedSB

The SB light truck was offered with commercial bodies only but many dealers and owners had sedan bodies made for them.[4] [2] Toyota contracted the Kanto Denki factory to produced a 4-door sedan body and wagon on the SB chassis as the SC.[9] However, production of the SA sedan continued and the SC was not put into production. When production of the SA stopped, a revised version of the SC was made as the SD.

Dates and Production Figures

3 prototypes were built but the SC did not go into production.

Mechanicals

Same as the SB except for independent front suspension.[9]

SD

A passenger car using the same chassis and suspension as the SB.

Dates and Production Figures

Produced from 1949 to 1951.

Mechanicals

Same as the SB.

SF

SF
Automotive industryToyota
Productionfrom 1951
AssemblyJapan
PredecessorSD
SuccessorRH
Car classificationlarge family car
Car body stylesedan
Automobile layoutfront-engine, rear-wheel drive
Automobile platformladder frame
Internal combustion engineType S
Transmission (mechanics)3 speed manual
Wheelbase2500 mm[1]
Length4280 mm
Width1590 mm
Height1600 mm
Curb weight1250 kg

An update to the SD.

Dates and Production Figures

Produced from October 1951[2] to 1953.

Mechanicals

Same as the SD.

SG

SG
Automotive industryToyota
Production1952-1954
AssemblyJapan
PredecessorSB
SuccessorSK
Car classificationlight truck
Automobile layoutfront-engine, rear-wheel drive
Automobile platformladder frame
Internal combustion engineType S
Transmission (mechanics)3 speed manual
Wheelbase2500 mm[1]
Length4195 mm
Width1595 mm
Height1735 mm
Curb weight1170 kg

An update to the SB, sharing components with the SF.

Dates and Production Figures

Produced from March 1952[9] to 1954.

Mechanicals

Same as the SF.

RH

A further update to the SF but with the newly designed Type R engine.[9] The RHN's body was made by the New Mitsubishi Heavy Industrial Manufacturing Co. and the RHK's body was made by Kanto Auto Work, Ltd.[10]

The RH was also made into BH26 Police Patrol Car and the BH28 Ambulance by using the Type B 6 cylinder engine and a longer front end. The RH was succeeded by the similar 1955 RR Master and the much more modern 1955 RS Crown.

The RH was also known as the Super.

Dates and Production Figures

Produced from September 1953 to 1955.

Mechanicals

Same as the SF except for the new Type R engine.

FHJ

FHJ
Automotive industryToyota
AssemblyJapan
Car classificationlight truck
Car body stylefire appliance
Automobile layoutfront-engine, rear-wheel drive
Automobile platformladder frame
Internal combustion engineType F
Length4540 mm
Width1680 mm
Height1870 mm
Curb weight965 kg
RelatedRH

The FHJ was a fire appliance vehicle built based on the RH but with the much larger Type F engine. [11] This was sold at the same time as the FAJ (based on the heavy duty Toyota FA truck), the FCJ (based on the medium duty Toyota FC truck) and the FJJ (based on the BJ Jeep).

Mechanicals

Same as the RH except for the Type F engine. There were no doors and the rear of the body was heavily customised with typical fire appliance accessories (eg hoses, axes, ride-on steps, grab bars). In spite of looking like a small truck, the FHJ still used the single rear wheels of the RH passenger car.

RR

The RR Master was a further update to the SF/RH with an updated body.

The RS Crown was designed to replace the Super in 1955 but Toyota wasn't sure if its independent front coil suspension and its suicide type rear doors were too radical for the taxi market to bear. So the Super was updated, renamed the Master and sold alongside the Crown. When sales of the Crown proved worthwhile, the RR Master was discontinued in November 1956. Production facilities for the Master were transferred to the Crown.[9]

The Toyopet Master range also included the Master RR16 pickup, the Master RR17 van and the Master RR19 double pickup (with two rows of seats).[12] These replaced the SG.

The RR Master's body panels were used in cut-down form as an economical and fast way to design the new ST10 Corona in 1957. A later variant of the Crown was called the Masterline to distinguish it from other variants of the Crown.

Dates and Production Figures

Produced from January 1955 to November 1956.

Mechanicals

Same as the RH.

Timeline

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "The Japanese Automobile Industry: Technology and Management at Nissan & Toyota", Michael Cusumano, Cambridge (Mass.) & London: The Harvard Univ. Press, 1985, ISBN 067447256X
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Toyota: Fifty Years in Motion", Eiji Toyoda, Tokyo: Kodansha International, 1987, ISBN 0-87011-823-4, p119
  3. "Fifty Years of Toyota Concept Cars", in "the wheel extended", vol 17, no.3, 1987, Toyota Motor Corporation, ISSN 0049-755X
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 "Autos Made in Japan", Jan P. Norbye, Gerlingen: Bleicher Verlag, 1991, ISBN 3-88350-161-1
  5. "The Complete History of the Japanese Car", Marco Ruiz, New York: Portland House, 1986, ISBN 0-517-61777-3
  6. "Toyota seit 1936", Joachim Kuch, Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag, Artikelnummer 17060
  7. "The New Encyclopedia of Motorcars: 1885 to the Present", G. N. Georgano, New York: E. P. Dutton, 3rd revised ed., 1982, ISBN 0-525-93254-2
  8. "Old Iron" column, February 2005, in the "Off Road Adventures" online magazine, http://www.oramagazine.com/pastIssues/0502-issue/050215d-old-iron.html
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 "Toyota: A history of the First 50 Years", Toyota Motor Corporation, 1988, ISBN 0-517-61777-3
  10. "Toyota Automobile Museum", http://www.toyota.co.jp/Museum/data_e/a03_08_5.html#2
  11. "Toyota Fire Engine", Toyota brochure No. 323, Japan
  12. マスターライン
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