After the World War II, Toyota launched its first passenger car design as SA. The SA was regarded as the first in the family car before it was replaced by the Crown. There were a series of light trucks produced that shared the same chassis along with many other features with these passenger cars.
All these passenger vehicles were sold as Toyopet.
Toyota’s SA was its first passenger car after the WW II. It was far different from all the previous passenger cars produced by the company. For instance, all the previous models came with 6-cylinder engines, while SA offered with 4-cylinder engine. Similarly, all the previous models used rigid axles with leaf springs, while SA was offered with a four-wheel independent suspension. Also, SA offered as much smaller, aerodynamic body. The entire project was supervised by the Kiichiro Toyoda who followed the words of his father (Sakichi Toyoda), “Stay ahead of the times.” However, the designing was done by Dr Kazuo Kumabe.
The aerodynamic style of the SA was in close resemblance with the Volkswagen Beetle. These vehicles were offered as two-door sedan, hence making them inappropriate for the taxi market. Also, the two doors were opened rearwards. These doors were often referred to as suicide doors. These vehicles were offered as right-hand drive only.
Dates and Production Figures
Japanese regulations at that time didn’t allow the companies to produce passenger cars in larger quantities. However, in 1949, the permission was granted to make full production and prior to this point only limited numbers of production cars were produced. The design of the vehicle was prepared in 1945, while its first production model was revealed in January 1947.
The SA went into production in October 1947 and remained in production until May 1952. There were only 215 units produced, where 8 units were produced during 1948 while the rest 193 were produced between 1949 and 1952. Prior to the appearance of SA, Toyota had already produced a passenger vehicle after the war under the name AC (1943-1944).
The engine was powered by the Type S straight-4 water cooled engine, traditionally mounted at the front of the vehicle and rear-wheel drive. As for transmission, it featured a 3-speed manual gearbox and a Hotchkiss drive to a rear mounted differential.
The vehicle also featured an unusual backbone chassis and four-wheel independent suspension. The vehicle featured an A-arm suspension (short upper arm, long lower arm) with coils at the front and swing axle suspension with semi-trailing arms, Panhard rods and a transverse semi-elliptical leaf spring the rear.
SB was offered with a ladder chassis and solid axle front and rear, with semi-elliptical springs. It shared the running gear with SA. Where SB was popular among general public, the American occupied forces also ordered for SB in large numbers.
Though, it was offered mainly with commercial bodies, many dealers and owners ordered sedan bodies for them. For sedan body and wagon, Toyota singed an agreement with the Kanto Denki factory to manufacture both on SB chassis as SC.
The SB went into production in1947.
SB used the 1-L S series engine and shared the gearbox with SA. The engine produced 27 PS (20 kW) at 4000 rpm.
Toyota was given the authority to the Kanto Denki factory to produce sedan body and wagon on the chassis of SB as SC. Since SA was already in production, SC didn’t go into production straight away rather it went into production as a revised version of SC as SD after the SA was discontinued.
In 1948, three prototypes were built that didn’t go into production.
Except for independent front suspension, all the mechanicals were same as SB.
It was a 5-seater passenger car based on same chassis and suspension as SB. It remained in production from 1949 to 1951.
It shared the mechanicals with SB.
It was an updated version of the previous SD that remained in production from 1951 to 1953.
It shared the mechanicals with SD.
Although, it was an updated version of SB, it shared the features with SF. It remained in production from 1952 to 1954.
Mechanicals were similar to that of SF.
It was also an updated version of SF and commonly known as Super. It was offered as RHN and RHK where RHN’s body was made by the New Mitsubishi Heavy Industrial Manufacturing Company and RHK’s body was made by the Kanto Auto Work Ltd. It remained in production from 1953 to 1955.
Except for the new Type R engine, the rest mechanicals were the same as SF.
It was a fire appliance vehicle built on RH platform. Other vehicle in the series include FAJ –based on heavy duty FR truck; FCJ – based on medium duty FC truck; and FJJ – based on BJ Jeep.
Except for the Type F engine, the rest were similar to RH.
It was also a fire appliance vehicle based on RH and very much similar to the previous FHJ vehicle.
Apart from Type F engine, all the rest of the mechanicals were same as RH.
A completely redesigned and updated model of SF/RH, commonly known as RR Master remained in production from 1955 to 1956. When the company decided to replace the Super with RS Crown in 1955, they also updated the Super and renamed it as Master. Both Master and Crown then sold alongside each other. Crown proved to be a sales success and RR Master was dropped in 1956 and all its facilities were assigned to the production of Crown.
The Master RR16 pickup, the Master RR17 van and the Master RR19 double pickup were some of the model versions included in Master series.
It shared the same mechanicals with RH.