18 March 2019

More than an old car #98: Toyota Crown Coupe S70

A number of you may be familiar with the Toyota Crown--they are more commonly associated with people who are somewhat more wealthy and yet prefer something Japanese. I had no idea that this 1972 Toyota Crown S70 existed until I saw it at a car meet!

The Toyota Crown is a series of large executive cars which first appeared in 1955, and it is the longest-running passenger car nameplate under Toyota; the Corolla only appeared in 1966! Its name is a reference to a king's crown, which emphasized a state of luxury. Also, it is one of the few Toyota models to feature its own logo; other examples include the Alphard and Vellfire MPVs. The 4th generation of Crowns ie S60/S70 was launched in 1971 and was available in coupe, sedan, wagon and van variants. For the hardtop coupe, its styling strongly resembled those of contemporary American cars of its day such as the Ford Thunderbird and Ford Torino. Uniquely, it also has a vent on the top of the hood and the steeply-angled chin of the car gave rise to the "kujira" nickname (Japanese for 'whale').

Export models all featured the quad round headlights, while Japanese-market models had rectangular ones. There was a facelift in 1973 with the change to a chrome bumper, compared to the previous body-coloured ones. It was powered by a 1988 cc M i6 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 165 km/h. It was 4680 mm long and weighed 1310 kg, clearly befitting of its nickname.

Production of the 4th-generation Crown ended in 1974 with the introduction of the 5th generation model. This particular unit is currently the last one left in Singapore, and it still carries its original registration number. It was on sale back then before residing with its current owner, who has swapped the wheels with 'deep lip' rims. I really love how immaculate this rarity gleams, and the addition of the fender mirrors also lend a retro touch. According to newspaper clippings, advertisements for them appeared some time in 1973; evidently they were sold here previously. Old Crowns have all but died out due to exorbitant road taxes and lack of spare parts--it is impressive how this unit is the last man standing. If you are lucky, you may be able to see this whale ruling the roads just like yesteryear!

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