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Monday, February 28, 2022

Mystery of the Toyota' first racing cars were revealed

The 1st Racing Cars The Japanese automotive giant Toyota Motor Company (TMC) was initially founded by Kiichiro Toyoda on August 28, 1937 as the automotive division of Toyoda Loom Works, and is also known as the first Japanese brand to take part in the motosports arena. In historical records, the Japanese manufacturer first took part in racing event of the Australian Rally Round 1957.
Here's the Toyopet Racer duo are known as the Toyota's first racing car which involved by Kiichiro Toyoda back in 1950. (Picture from: Modoc)
At that time the Japanese manufacturer was in a state of financial recovery after the Second World War, and at the 19-day endurance race in Australia, Toyota fielded the Toyopet Crown Deluxe, so then history wrote it was the first racing car of the Japanese manufacturer Toyota. But who would have thought that there was another mysterious racing car made by those Japs company that had been built several years earlier was not widely known and even the Toyota's documentation.

The mysterious Toyota race car that not many people know about, even the people at Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is the Toyopet Racer. It was so mysterious that the evidence for the existence of the car that was made based on the company founder intention, turned out to be only widely known in the last three years.
The Toyopet Racer was believed to be a pet project of Kiichiro Toyoda, the man who founded the Toyota Motor Company. (Picture from: Modoc)
Its history was revealed when retired TMC employee and automotive historian, Hideo Matsumoto, published his book entitled 'Prehistory of Toyota's Motorsport Activities' in 2018 which included snippets of the racing car story which was later published by Toyota's official website in January 2022, which mentions that the Toyopet Racer was the only race car which had involved Kiichiro Toyoda in its development around the spring of 1950 when TMC was facing the biggest financial crisis in the company's history at the time.
The Toyopet Racer built based on the chassis of this 1949 Toyopet Model SD saloon. (Picture from: Modoc)
In that time Kiichiro is doing what he can to help TMC overcome the crisis. One of them is by dividing the company into two separate divisions, namely sales and manufacturing. Although it was unprecedented, one of the advantages of this move was that it created the financial conditions for the company so that Kiichiro could made racing car project later known as Toyopet Racer.
The Toyopet Racer built based on the chassis of this 1949 Toyopet Model SD saloon. (Picture from: Modoc)
According to Matsumoto's book, the development of this race car was revealed to the public for the first time in November 1950 in the 'All Toyota' magazine published by the company's marketing department, sales division. The article in the photo above shows that Toyota intended to use the Toyopet Racer competitively. In fact, since June 1950 Kiichiro Toyoda is no longer in charge of the company.

Then what are the figures and specifications of the racing car? The Toyopet Racer is a handbuilt race car based on the ladder frame chassis of the 1949 Toyopet Model SD saloon sedan. Initially Kiichiro had plans to build six cars, in the end only two units ever made. They were named No. 1 and No. 2, built by Toyota regional dealership companies Osaka Toyota and Aichi Toyota, both engineered for unpaved roads, durability and ease of repair took priority over agility.
Only 2 units ever made in which the Toyopet Racer No.1 made by the Osaka Toyota and another one No. 2 built by the Aichi Toyota. (Picture from: Modoc)
Well, due to the bodywork design is left to the engineers of each dealership respectly, so no wonder there is no visual similarity between the two. On both race cars were then embedded with a Type S four-cylinder petrol engine with a capacity of 995 cc capable spewed power of only 27 hp, coupled with the gearbox was taken from the same car. Those such engine power considered enough to propel the car to a 77.2 kph top speed.

It’s not surprising that the Toyopet Racer never finished its intended production run. The early 1950s was a tumultuous time for the company, with labor strikes, recession, and supply chain issues slamming the country’s auto industry. According to Japanese Nostalgic Cars sites, Kiichiro Toyoda took the unprecedented step of splitting the company along manufacturing and sales divisions. The action gave the sales side more freedom, and in turn the ability to fund the race car program.
The SD employed an all-steel body and the vehicle weighed 2700 lbs in total, but with a single-seat setup and race car bodywork, that may have been significantly reduced. (Picture from: Modoc)
Apparently, even though the company was able to save money, in the other hand many employees were forced to be laid off even though the company had promised there would be no reductions in staff, which eventually sparked strikes from labor unions and made significant impact of production. In short, Kiichiro Toyoda was finally forced to retire early on June 5, 1950 as president of Toyota due to he felt responsible for such the company's situation.

This seems to have had an unfavorable impact on the Toyopet Racer and moreover the Japanese motorsport authority was also in a bad situation. So they are not in a position to help and push the progress of Toyota's racing cars by creating racing events and so on. Therefore the development of the racing car then stopped.
It has a completely different exterior shape, even though both uses the same chassis and is powered by a Type S four-cylinder engine. (Picture from: Modoc)
In addition, when Kiichiro Toyoda died in March 1952 at the age of 57 years, Toyota's sales division felt it was inappropriate to continue the Toyopet Racer project. Since then, according to Toyota, no further information about those Toyopet Racers have ever been published.Both car was never given the opportunity to become an official Toyota race cars in motorsport and never known whereabout.😢

Reportedly at this time the Japanese car manufacturer plans to make the replica mentioned race cars, and was also said the plan initiated directly by Toyota's current boss, Akio Toyoda who is none other than the grandson of Kiichiro Toyoda. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | JAPANESE NOSTALGIC CAR]
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