World’s Oldest Toyota Found in Russian Barn
Toyota is an automaker with a rich history dating back to the 1930s. But, until recently, very little was known about the earliest Toyota models, which had likely been melted down and repurposed as planes, guns, or piston rings during World War II. In fact, following the war, even the plans for Toyota’s first-ever vehicles were lost; that was, until a 1936 Toyoda Model AA was found in a barn in Russia.
The Toyoda Model AA was built between 1936 and 1942, and only 1,404 units were produced. But, after the war, all knowledge of this early model was lost. A replica was built for Toyota’s 50th anniversary in 1987 to display at the Toyota Automobile Museum in Nagoya, Japan, but with no complete plans remaining from the original car, there was a lot of guesswork involved. The automaker had no idea that, almost 20 years later, an original Model AA would be found in a Russian barn.
The Louwman Museum in The Hague, Netherlands, went to Vladivostok, Russia to investigate the alleged Model AA, and discovered that the car was the real deal. During World War II, the car had been imported to Russia and purchased by a Siberian farmer, who used it extensively on his land during his family’s 60 years of ownership. Over the years, the Model AA was modified here and there, with a replacement grille, Soviet-era truck wheels, and a radio being installed on the car. The Model AA had even been converted from right- to left-hand drive.
Gallery: 1936 Toyoda Model AA
Courtesy of Toyota UK
Once the Louwman Museum established that this was, in fact, a real Toyoda Model AA, it began the process of bringing it back to the Netherlands where it would be displayed for the world to see. But the process was complicated somewhat by the involvement of the Russian Ministry of Culture, under whose jurisdiction the classic car fell. It took seven months of negotiating, but eventually the Louwman Museum welcomed the 1936 Toyoda Model AA to its collection.
The classic Toyota is now part of a massive private car collection at the museum. If you’re ever in the Netherlands, it’s a definite must-see for any automotive enthusiast.
Watch representatives from the Louwman Museum bringing the Toyoda Model AA back to the Netherlands:
News Source: Toyota UK
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