Discovering the Toyota AB: The first Toyota convertible

Discovering Toyota’s First Convertible

From its modest beginnings as a manufacturer of automatic looms, to becoming one of the giants of the global automotive industry, Toyota has left an indelible mark on the history of the automobile. Among its many milestones, the Toyota AB, the first convertible produced by the Japanese company, stands out.

Origins: Toyota’s Evolution to Passenger Cars

The Toyota AB did not emerge in a vacuum, but is the result of decades of innovation and determination on the part of the company. In 1935, Toyota completed the first passenger car prototypes, known as the A1, marking the beginning of its foray into the automotive market. These prototypes laid the groundwork for the development of the Toyota AA and its convertible version, the AB.

Toyota’s transition from loom manufacturer to automaker was driven by the vision of Kiichiro Toyoda, son of the company’s founder. Inspired by the potential of the automotive market, Toyoda directed the company’s efforts toward mass production of passenger cars, giving birth to the legendary Toyota AB.

Foto: Wikipedia

Technical Innovation and Avant-Garde Design

The Toyota AB, introduced in 1936, was a milestone in the history of the Japanese automobile. Based on the design of the Chrysler DeSoto Airflow, the AB combined elegance and modernity in an attractive and functional package. Equipped with a six-cylinder engine and an all-metal body, the AB stood out for its performance and durability, becoming a symbol of quality and reliability.

The production of the AB represented an unprecedented challenge for Toyota. A total of 353 AB convertibles, including the ABR military version, were produced from 1936 to 1942. There was no direct replacement. However, thanks to its meticulous focus on quality and innovation, Toyota managed to overcome the obstacles and successfully bring the AB to market, earning the recognition and respect of the automotive industry in the process.

Lasting Legacy and Global Recognition

The Toyota AB remains a coveted piece for classic car enthusiasts and collectors around the world. Its timeless design and historical significance make it an object of desire for those who appreciate craftsmanship and period engineering. Although its production run was limited, the AB left an indelible mark on automotive history and continues to inspire future generations of motoring enthusiasts.

In short, the Toyota AB is much more than just an automobile: it is a symbol of the determination and vision of a company that dared to dream big and change the course of automotive history forever. Its legacy lives on in automotive culture and in the admiration of those who recognize its importance in the evolution of the Japanese automotive industry.

Toyota AB Technical Specifications

SpecificationDetail
ManufacturerToyota
Production1936–1943
AssemblyKoromo, Japan
ClassFull-size car
Body Style4-door sedan (AA)
4-door convertible (AB)
Engine LayoutFront-engine, longitudinal
Engine3.4 L Type A I6 (original)
Transmission3-speed manual
Wheelbase2,851 mm (112.2 in)
Length4,737 mm (186.5 in)
Width1,734 mm (68.3 in)
Height1,737 mm (68.4 in)
Curb Weight1,500 kg (3,307 lb)
PredecessorToyota A1
SuccessorToyota AC