The 10 Best Old Toyota Cars of All Time

From the very first to the utterly forgotten, here are 10 noteworthy old Toyotas worth meeting.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Toyota was the first Japanese automaker to export to the United States, and from a modest beginning arose an automotive giant. Everyone’s familiar with Camrys, Tacomas, and RAV4s, but here are some older models that are well worth learning about. 
There are a ton of old Toyotas that are unique, significant, or just plain cool. If you’re interested in automotive history, Toyotas, or collectible cars, read on for a primer on the Toyotas of old!
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What makes an old car great? 

The history of any car line is bound to have some shining stars and some shameful moments. Toyota has a long and well-earned reputation for reliability and quality—with a few missteps along the way. Let us never again speak of the unimaginatively named and…oddly shaped Toyota Van and its exciting tendency to lift the inner drive wheel on fast corners. 
Let’s move on to happier memories, shall we? Here, in no particular order, are 10 noteworthy old Toyota vehicles. Some are historic, some are revolutionary, and some you’ve probably never heard of—but all of them are a part of the fascinating history of the first Japanese automaker in the US. 

10. Lexus LS 400 (1990): the beginning of a luxury brand 

Toyota’s luxury brand
simply rocked the automotive world when it was first introduced in 1990. Built with outstanding quality and offering luxurious touches that were ahead of its time, the LS 400 was also priced in an exceedingly affordable range. 
Clearly designed to take the market by storm and put the old guard of luxury automakers on notice, the LS 400 was a phenomenal overnight success
Today, many car enthusiasts consider the
LS 400
one of the industry’s smash hits of the last 50 years, due to its revolution of the luxury car market, immediate popularity, and lasting brand performance. It remains well-regarded and sought after today for its quality, reliability, and status as an industry icon. 
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9. Toyota MR2 (1985-1989): an 80s collectible

The unique, origami-inspired, and totally 80s first-generation Toyota MR2 (aka Mr. 2, thank you) is a much-loved collectible. Looking perfectly at home on the set of Miami Vice circa 1985, this sporty two-seater has a reputation for being both fun to drive and incredibly reliable. 
The 1986 MR2 graced the cover of the inaugural issue of Motor Trend’s Automobile Magazine, beating out far more well-established brands like Ferrari. 
What makes it so special? The angular styling, sporty performance, and the fact that it was an extremely unexpected departure for Toyota all contribute to its enduring popularity. Throw in the rare mid-engine design (where the engine sits between the driver and the rear axle), and you’ve got yourself a cult classic. 
Fans of the MR2 will be excited to hear that there are rumors of it being brought back in 2024 or 2025 with a little help from

8. Toyota Stout (1964-1969): the rarest Toyota truck of all

The little workhorse that was the Toyota Stout was the first truck that Toyota sold in the US, and is the forgotten genesis of an enduring line of pickup truck production by Toyota. 
Available on the Asian market until the 80s, it was only sold for a few years in the US and was not at all popular—The Truth About Cars estimates that only four were sold in its first year. Not four hundred, not four thousand. Just four. 
As the name suggests, the Stout was boxy, basic, and rugged. It was also the start of something big: Toyota’s dominance of the compact pickup market. Its rarity and old-school styling make it a hot collectible today by vintage truck and Toyota enthusiasts alike.

7. Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 (1960-1984): beloved beast of burden

This is most definitely not your posh Land Cruiser of the 2000s—the FJ40 was rugged, industrial, and more suited to the battlefield or the ranch, not suburban carpools. 
Larger and more robust than its previous iteration, the FJ40 remained unchanged for the duration of its 24-year run, which is something of a testimonial to its brusquely efficient nature. Most models had two doors and bore a similarity to the classic
of the 1950s in their military styling. 
This Land Cruiser may not have any touch screen infotainment center or automatic anything, but it’s a venerable old beast and worthy of respect. 

6. Toyota Corona (1965): return to the American market

Toyota’s presence in the American market was marginal at best for the first few decades of the automaker’s run. Toyota briefly withdrew from the American market in 1961, and then returned with the third generation of Toyota Coronas in late 1964. 
This generation (T40 and T50) of Coronas was marketed as a trusty method of family transportation and was the beginning of the brand’s reputation for sturdy, reliable cars in the American market. Its distinctive, box-nosed styling and upright profile made it immediately recognizable as a Toyota, which helped to establish brand awareness in the marketplace for the new-to-most-Americans carmaker.
This generation of the Corona is the one that finally allowed Toyota to establish roots in the US. Car and Driver considers T-40 and T-50-era Coronas to be the reason that Toyota survived long enough to become the powerhouse in the US market that it is today.
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5. Toyota 2000GT (1967-1970): an ultra-rare sports car icon

This delicate, six-cylindered beauty was featured in the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice and is considered by many to be among Toyota’s best. Less than 360 were made between 1967 and 1970, with a mere 62 making it to the shores of the US
The 2000GT was Toyota’s very first foray into the world of sports cars, and if you can find one today, expect to pay a pretty penny for it. The 2000GT has fetched anywhere from $500,000 to $1.2 million at auction and is an exceedingly rare car collector’s gem. 

4. Toyota Celica ST (1971): start your engines

Toyota had focused its early US offerings on cars that were utilitarian and fairly ordinary. The introduction of the Celica in 1971 changed all that and was the first hint that the automaker had its sights set on being more than just a maker of reliable but ho-hum vehicles
The Celica was Toyota’s first sports coupe that was designed for mass production, and it was an instant hit. Many reviewers favorably compared the Celica to the original Ford Mustang, with Motor Trend declaring in its original review, “Somewhere, somehow, a Japanese automaker went and pulled a real sneaky—designing a car that is so apple-pie American—and amazing like the first Mustang—that it could fit in anyplace.”

3. Toyopet Crown (1955): first Japanese car exported to the US

In 1955, the Toyopet Crown became not just the first Toyota, but the first Japanese car to be exported to the US. While immensely popular in Japan, it didn’t fare well in the states. Ill-suited to fast-paced driving on blacktop vs. the rougher and more rural Japanese road system, the solid but underpowered Toyopet struggled to reach 60 mph, and then shook so much when it did that it was reported that the driver couldn’t see out the rearview mirror. 
Nowadays, the original American Toyopet Crowns are a beloved collector’s item and an important part of automotive history. The Crown nameplate is still in use in the Asian market and has the distinction of being the longest-running passenger car nameplate of the brand. 

2. Toyota Carina (1972-1973): the forgotten Toyota

The flash in the pan, blink and you’ll miss it Toyota Carina was based on the far more popular Celica and was only sold on the US market for two years
Following on the heels of the popular Corona and Celica, it seemed logical that the small, nicely designed sedan would fare well on the American market, but it was not to be. Carinas are pretty rare to find in the US nowadays, although they continued to be produced on the Asain market until 2001. 

1. Toyota Model AA (1936-1943): the first Toyota

We would be remiss to compile a list of old Toyotas and not mention the one that started it all: the Model AA. Never sold in the US, the AA was a four-door sedan that largely mimicked the design of Chrysler’s DeSoto Airflow. A chrome and steel beauty, the AA sported suicide-style rear doors and a windshield that could fold down on the engine compartment. 
Toyota had hoped to include a Model AA in its 50th birthday festivities in 1987, but no surviving ones could be found. A replica was built, but even that proved to be challenging, as there were no complete plans to be found either. However, one replica that is believed to be an accurate representation of the AA was assembled, and it’s currently on display at the Toyota Automobile Museum in Japan. 

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