Toyota Crown

The Toyota Crown is a line of full-size luxury sedans by Toyota. The range was primarily available in Japan and some other Asian countries, originally designed to serve as a taxi. Throughout the Crown's production, there has always been available a minimal-content Crown in the sedan bodystyle platform used as a taxi, and in the mid 1990s, Toyota created an offshoot of the Crown sedan to serve specifically as a taxi, called the Toyota Comfort. The Crown also serves as a police car nationally, as well as transporting government officials at all levels.

In Japan, it is only available at Toyota Store dealership retail channels. The Crown is Toyota's oldest sedan still in production. It is outranked only by the Century and the Majesta in social status. The Crown is used by many Japanese companies as the company limousine. In many markets the Crown had become very expensive and was replaced by the Cressida in some international markets when it became available for export in the early 1980s. Most models are distinguishable by a unique "Crown" badge on the front grille, in place of the normal stylized 'T', but the normal Toyota badge is usually used on the rear.

It was sold in the United States during the late 1950s and up until 1971. Exports to Europe began in 1964 with the first cars going to Finland. Other European countries which saw imports of the Crown included the Netherlands and Belgium. The United Kingdom was another market until the early 1980s. It was also exported to Canada for a few years—1965–68. Australia was another important export market for the Crown—to the extent that it was manufactured there from the mid-1960s until the late 1980s using many local components. Trinidad and Tobago was also another country where the Toyota market had a successful run, which saw some productions between 1960 and 1980.

The Crown has existed in some form post World War II, and Toyota uses the "Crown" name as inspiration for their primary sedans, the Corolla which is Latin for "small crown", the Camry a phonetic transcription of the Japanese word kanmuri that means crown, and the Corona which is Spanish for crown.

First (RS Model-S30 Model: 1955 to 1962)

The Crown was introduced in 1955 in Japan to meet the demand of public transportation in the form of a taxi,with the same 1.5 L Type R engine used on their previous car, the Toyopet Super. The front doors open conventionally, and the rear doors open from the center "B" pillar to aid entry and exit from the back.

Its coil and double wishbone independent front suspension was a departure from the leaf sprung live axle front suspension used on most previous models but was similar to the independent front suspension used on the 1947 Toyopet SA. The live axle rear suspension was similar to that used on most of the previous models (unlike the trailing arm rear suspension used on the SA). Taxi versions were produced and commercial versions of the vehicle were also available as an estate wagon and a 3- or 6-seater coupe utility. The "Crown" name was previously in use by the Imperial limousine manufactured by Chrysler in the early 1950s.

The Crown was designed to replace the Super but Toyota was not sure if its independent front coil suspension and its "suicide doors" on the rear doors were too radical for the taxi market to bear. So the Super was updated, renamed the Master and sold alongside the Crown. The commercial models (utilities, wagons and vans) were known as the Master Line. The body panels were altered slightly in style as well as function but were otherwise the same as the rest of the Crown range. When sales of the Crown proved worthwhile, the Master was discontinued in November 1956 and production facilities for the Master were transferred to the Crown.A six door wagon known as the Airport Limousine was shown as a concept car at the 1961 Tokyo Motor Show. It did not go into production. The initial RS model received a cosmetic update in 1958 to become the RS20. In 1961 the 1.5 L R engine was replaced with the similar 1.9 L (1896cc) 3R engine to become the RS30.

Exports of the first Japanese car to the United States began in 1957 and ended in 1960. The reception of the car was horrible. As a publicity stunt to demonstrate the car's reliability, Toyota did what many American automakers had done earlier; they staged a coast-to-coast endurance run from Los Angeles to New York. As things turned out, the Toyopet was barely able to limp into Las Vegas before the project had to be called off.

Since the car was designed for the muddy, slow, unpaved Japanese roads, it failed the mass urban landscape of the US because of its inability to keep up with traffic on the faster interstate highways. Unknown to Toyota, they just designed a very high quality sedan on a truck like chassis. The overbuilt heavy body was no match for the original 1.5L 4-cylinder. To try to remedy this, a newer, more powerful engine was expected to be the solution, but the improvements did little to help. A total of 287 Crowns were imported to the US with only five known to have survived.

In 1960 the first generation Crown stopped being imported to the US market. Many unhappy dealers were left with unsold Crowns. The Tiara and Land Cruiser would be the only cars imported until the second generation Crown was available five years later.

In November 2000, Toyota released the Origin, a retro version of the RS series Crown to celebrate 100 million vehicles having been built in Japan.

Second (S40 Model: 1962 to 1967)

Due to the introduction of the Corona, the dramatically restyled and enlarged Series S40 was launched in 1962, and saw the introduction of the Custom model. According to the Japanese Wikipedia article for the Crown, the styling was said to be influenced by the recently introduced Ford Falcon in 1960. The front grille approach has a similar appearance to the 1960 Imperial Crown (Chrysler), which speaks to Toyota's aspirations that the Crown be a large, comfortable sedan. The station wagon body style first appeared with this model. Headlights were integrated within the boundaries of the greatly enlarged grille, providing a clean, modern appearance. A 2-speed automatic transmission was introduced, called Toyoglide, with a column shift. A bigger and better car than the previous S30 series, it initially had four-cylinder R-series engines before the addition of the "M" six-cylinder engine in 1965. Deluxe and Super Deluxe models were available with added features. The sedan and wagon were known simply as the Crown while the commercial vehicles (pick-up, double cab pick-up and van) were known as the Masterline. There was also a limited run of the sedan known as the Toyota Crown S (MS41S) which featured a twin carburettor intake manifold on the 2.0L M in-line-six engine and disc brakes on the front.

The MS41L sedan was available in the US for $2,305.00 poe while the MS46LG station wagon was available for $2,525.00 poe. Some optional features include an automatic transmission for $160 and a radio for $60.

A 2-door Crown Convertible was displayed at the 1963 Tokyo Motor Show, based on the Crown 1900 sedan. It was not put into production.

This Crown generation was the first to be assembled in Australia, from CKD kits, by AMI in Port Melbourne, with significant local content. AMI, which assembled numerous brands including Triumph and, for a short time, Mercedes-Benz, was to become the basis of Toyota's current Australian manufacturing operation.

Crown Eight

The longer, wider and more upmarket Crown Eight (トヨタ・クラウンエイト) was introduced in 1964 for the Japanese market, powered by a 2.6 L V8 engine. However, it had a different model designation, VG10. The car was first introduced at the 1963 Tokyo Motor Show and introduced for sale April 20, 1964, nine days before Emperor Showas birthday and the beginning of Golden Week in Japan.

The Crown Eight was designed primarily to replace full-sized American automobiles that were commonly used by major corporations. The Crown Eight represents the first Japanese mass-produced vehicle with an 8-cylinder engine. The main rivals at the time were the Prince Gloria Super, and Nissan Cedric Special, both equipped with a six-cylinder engine. It was the first Crown to exceed vehicle size classification regulations in length, width and engine displacement capacity. The width at 1,845 mm (72.6 in) compares to the Century at 1,890 mm (74 in), and as such no Crown before or since, including the Crown Majesta, has matched the width dimension of the Crown Eight.

The Crown Eight was considered as a possible submission for use by the Japanese Imperial Household Agency as a car to be used by the Royal Family, but it lost out to the Nissan Prince Royal. The Crown Eight was replaced in 1967 by the first Century with the model code VG20. Approx 3,800 Crown Eights were produced. Some of the items that were exclusive to the Crown Eight were electrically powered windows, cruise control, a three-speed "Toyoglide" automatic transmission, and electromagnetic door latches, which were also installed on the Crown Eight successor, the Century. Reference for 1964-1967 Toyota Crown Eight (Japanese)

Third (S50 Model: 1967 to 1971)

Launched in 1967, the mechanicals were much the same as the previous generation, but additional equipment was included. Higher specification models used the 2.0-liter M engine or the 2.3-liter 2M engine while lower specified models were equipped with the R-series four-cylinder engines. The range included the 4-door station wagon, pick-up (rare), double cab pick-up (very rare) and the new two-door hardtop. In 1969 the Crown received a face lift for the headlight, grill and trim arrangement. The Crown S used the two-litre 'six', but due to sportier tuning it produced more power than the larger 2M, 125 PS (92 kW) at 5,800 rpm versus 115 PS (85 kW) at 5,200 rpm. The commercial versions were fitted with the six-cylinder "M" engine (M-C) produce 105 PS (77 kW), while the four-cylinder 5R had to make do with 93 PS (68 kW).

Crown's that were equipped with the 2,253 cc 2M engine were no longer classified as compact cars under Japanese vehicle size classification regulations, even though the length and width were still in compliance. Toyota offered the larger engine so that buyers who were traditionally served by the Crown could now choose the all-new Corona Mark II in 1968. This allowed Toyota to reposition the Crown as the top level privately available luxury sedan, with much nicer interior treatments, more spacious accommodations. They were also eventually to discontinue the pick-up truck versions of the Crown.

This generation was imported fully assembled into New Zealand from 1968 to 1971.Australian models were assembled in Australia by AMI.

Notable features on the wagon were:

  • 7 or 8 passenger seating (2 on front buckets or 3 on a bench seat, 3 on a rear bench seat and 2 on a fold up cargo seat),
  • a powered rear window,
  • a side swing tailgate.

Fourth (S60 & S70 Models: 1971 to 1974)

Launched in Feb 1971, the 4M 2600 engine was introduced with this generation, as was the luxurious Super Saloon trim level, followed by the Super Deluxe and Deluxe. The top of the line Royal Saloon was first introduced in the face-lifted Crown from 1973. The 2.0-liter 5R engine and the 2.0-liter M engine were also available in certain markets.

The Sedan and Wagon are coded MS60/MS65 and MS62/MS63. The Hardtop Coupe is MS70 (2.0-liter), or MS75 (2.6-liter). This generation was the first Crown marketed as a Toyota in Japan, as previous models were marketed as Toyopets. Also, in Japan, this model was known as the "blue whale" or "kujira" Crown. While the domestic market Hardtop has rectangular headlights, all export models come with twin round headlights. This model sold very badly in the US, possibly related to the futuristic styling with flush bumpers that was a bit ahead of its time. Only the first 2 years were exported. This is the last Crown to be sold in the USA. The Corona Mark II, replaced the Crown in North America.

The trunk could be opened remotely by turning the ignition key to the far left, and a button on the floor caused the radio to engage the signal seeking feature. A separate signal seeking feature was installed for rear seat passengers, installed behind the front seat facing the rear seat compartment.

Australian models were assembled in Australia by AMI. It was available in New Zealand fully imported from 1971 to 1973, with local assembly beginning at Steels Motor Assemblies - who also built the Corona - not long before the mid-life facelift, improving availability. Steels subsequently became Toyota NZ's Christchurch CKD assembly plant.

Fifth (S80 & S100 Models: 1974-1979)

Launched in 1974 in Japan, export began from 1975. Offered as four-door sedan, 2-door hardtop coupe, 4-door hardtop sedan, wagon, and van. Engines are 2.0 and 2.6-liter gasoline. The 2.2-liter diesel was introduced September 1978. Trim levels are Standard, Deluxe, Super Saloon, and Royal Saloon. Minor change was given in 1978. This version of the Crown saw the introduction of disc brakes at both the front and rear axles with anti-lock brakes, speed sensitive power steering, and a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive.

Initially available with the "old style" 4M engine with rounded valve cover, later models switched to the new 4M engine with rectangular valve cover. This generation also saw the introduction of fuel injection on both the 2.6-liter 4M and the 2.0-liter M engines. Select models also were available with 4-wheel disc brakes and twin piston calipers on the front brakes.

The Hardtop Sedan model has a front chrome grill and square headlights, but was no longer considered a true hardtop, due to the inclusion of a "B" pillar. The styling differences between the hardtop and sedan four-door models was that the side windows on the hardtop were frameless, and the rear window was sloped more than the formal appearing sedan. This series Crown exceeded length regulations of 4.7 m by 65 mm set forth by Japanese regulations, but Toyota continued to offer a 2.0 L engine for buyers who were looking for better fuel economy over the larger six-cylinder engines.

New Zealand models were assembled in New Zealand but on an SKD basis - which meant it had more Japanese content (such as glass) than earlier CKD versions. It was the last Crown built in New Zealand and was replaced in 1979 by the Cressida (MK II), which was available with a four-cylinder engine. The oil crises of 1973/4 and 1979/80 had led the government to impose a 60% sales tax on larger engines, and the Crown could no longer be priced to suit its market.

Sixth (S110 Model: 1979 to 1983)

Launched in 1979, this model had the engine upgraded from the 2.6 L to 2.8 L 5M-EU model. The 2-liter M was still on offer along with a turbocharged version—the M-TEU. The carburated 5M engine was also available in certain markets. In this series the model designation referred to the engine size—MS110 (2-liter), MS111 (2.6-liter), MS112 (2.8-liter).

Early models have twin rectangular headlights, facelift models come with bigger monoblock headlights. Domestic market Royal Saloons use the large rectangular headlights. Lower grades Van and Taxi adopt round headlights. Royal Saloon features longer bumpers. The first Crown Turbo was launched in October 1980 for Japanese market only. Offering the 2.0 L engines was for buyers who were comfortable with paying the large car tax, while offering better fuel economy than the larger engines.

This generation is the last for 2-door Hardtop Coupe, which was replaced by the Soarer. Some of the options that became available were a glass moon roof, power drivers seat, cruise control, electronic stereo tuner, and two-tone paint. Automatic climate control also appeared on this vehicle with separate controls installed for rear seat passengers as well as a rear-mounted mini fridge cooled by the separate rear seat air conditioning unit . The 2.4 L turbo diesel appeared August 1982.

Seventh (S120 Model: 1983 to 1987)

Launched in 1983, this model used all three versions of the 5M 2.8-liter engine, the 5M carburetted version, 5M-E single overhead cam (SOHC) fuel-injected version, 5M-GE double overhead cam (DOHC), 1G-GE 2000 cc DOHC, M-TE 2000 cc single overhead cam (SOHC) Turbo, M-E 2000 cc SOHC, 2L-TE 2400 cc SOHC Turbo Diesel or 2L 2400 cc SOHC Diesel engines. Base versions use the new 2-liter 1G-E engine which replaced the old 2-liter version of the M series. The "van" version of the station wagon (the GS126V as well as the GS136V in the following series) used its own unique variant of this motor (the 1G-EJ). The lower grade models were available with Toyota's F292 live axle rear suspension while the rest introduced 4-wheel independent suspension on the Crown for the first time.

The S120 was available in Hardtop sedan (frameless door glass), sedan and wagon versions. The Super Saloon and Royal Saloon versions were packed with features such as dual zone climate control, front and rear stereo and A/C control buttons, parcel shelf mounted refrigerator, automatic headlights, reading lamps for all outboard seating positions, tilt & telescoping steering column, glovebox mounted courtesy mirror among many things. One distinctive styling feature of this generation was the use of a clear panel with patterned backing for the C-pillar trim on the sedans. This is also the last model to be assembled in Port Melbourne, Australia from Australian Motor Industries. For the Japanese market only, Toyota made the 190 hp (142 kW) Twincam 12-valve 3.0-liter 6M-GE available on the Royal Saloon for the mid cycle update. This engine is a popular swap for 5M-GE powered Supras and Cressidas of the same period.

Eighth (S130 Model: 1987 to 1991) and Facelift (1991-1997)

Launched in 1987. Body style: Sedan, Hardtop, and Wagon, included the commercial Van. The model used 7M-GE 3000 cc DOHC, 1G-GZE 2000 cc DOHC Super Charger, 1G-E 2000 cc DOHC, 2L-THE 2400 cc SOHC Turbo Diesel Hi Power (AT Use), 2L-TE 2400 cc SOHC Turbo Diesel (MT Use) or 2L 2400 cc SOHC Diesel engines. The 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE, the same engine as in Lexus LS400, was only for Royal Saloon G. Although a totally different chassis and body, the S130 shares styling cues with the MX83 Cressida.

In 1991, when the Crown Hardtop was redesigned became S140 series, the Crown Sedan and Wagon was also restyled but retained S130 platform. In Hong Kong and Singapore, the Crown Sedan with diesel engine was the most common vehicle for taxi. The Crown Royal Saloon was exclusive car. Unique for large sedan was Crown 3.0 Super Saloon with 5-speed manual transmission sold in Indonesia.

Ninth (S140 Models: 1991 to 1995)

The Crown Hardtop and all-new Crown Majesta models were built on the 140-series platform. The rebodied Crown Sedan and Wagon still carried S130 model codes, although the exterior is rounder, and the nose is similar to S140 Hardtop. Styling was largely influenced by the newly created Lexus LS, which was later sold in Japan as the Toyota Celsior.

Trim levels for Sedan are Standard, Deluxe, Super Deluxe, Super Saloon, Royal Saloon, and Royal Saloon G. Engine choices were 2.0, 2.5, 3.0-liter gasoline, and 2.4-liter diesel. The 4.0-liter was offered for Royal Saloon G and Majesta.

The Crown Majesta is a car related to the Crown but is bigger, more luxurious and has a V8 engine shared with the Lexus LS and has many expensive electronic options. The Crown Majesta has been produced since 1991.

The Standard Sedan for Taxi and base model Wagon feature round headlights and chrome bumpers. The taxi is powered by 2.4-liter diesel engine matched to 4-speed column-mounted manual transmission.

Tenth (S150 Model: 1995-1999)

The 150-series Crown were built as Sedan and Hardtop (frameless door window) only. This was the first Crown to not use separate chassis construction. The Wagon retained the old and uninspired 130 series model until 1999. Trim levels for Hardtop are Royal Extra, Royal Saloon, Royal Saloon G, and the sporty Royal Touring. 4WD is offered for Royal Extra and Royal Saloon. Engine is either 2.0, 2.5, or 3.0-liter 6-cylinder.

This generation Crown was not exported in great numbers. It was mainly sent to Southeast Asian markets such as Singapore and Hong Kong. These Crowns, with sedan rather than hardtop bodywork, were fitted either with the 2.0-litre 1G-FE or the 3-litre 2JZ-GE unit depending on market conditions.

Crown Comfort (LXS10 & YXS10 Models: 1995 - current)

In an effort to return to the original purpose of the Crown, which was to serve as a taxi, the Crown Comfort had smaller exterior dimensions but a roomier and taller interior than the Crown Royal series. To reduce unnecessary cost and weight and increase interior space, the more luxurious dashboard and fitments (including leather seats) of the Crown Royal were replaced with less bulky all-plastic versions. The Comfort is also used as an instructional vehicle for people learning how to drive.

The Comfort is powered by either the 3C diesel engine (5L for the Singapore market) or LPG. The Japanese model has fender mirrors and an automatic (driver-activated) rear door. The Crown Comfort is popular among taxicab in Japan, and Hong Kong, but is gradually falling out of favour as better-appointed vehicles become available at competitive cost.

The new Crown Sedan for the Japanese market only is based on the Comfort, but has wider tail lights and longer bumpers.

Eleventh (S170 Model: 1999 to 2003)

The 170-series features shorter front overhang therefore maximizes interior and trunk space. There are two different 170-series 4-door Saloon; the Royal, and Athlete. The Majesta is a separate vehicle which is larger and longer than the Crown. The 4-door Hardtop was discontinued. The 170-series Estate was the first new Crown Wagon after the 130-series. Engine is either 2.0, 2.5, or 3.0. The Athlete V has 2.5-liter 1JZ-GTE turbo. The Royal was also offered with a 3.0-liter 2JZ-FSE mild hybrid.

Twelfth (S180 Model: 2003 to 2008)

The S180 model of the Crown was based on the Zero Crown concept car. The engine was changed to a V6 for the new Royal and Athlete models, while the Crown Majesta used the V8 only, now in 4.3-liter form with 4WD optional. The new engines gave more performance while also giving better fuel economy. G-BOOK is introduced in May 2006.

Compared with the previous model, this model was increased by 70 mm (2.8 in) in the wheelbase and 15 mm (0.6 in) in body width. These changes gave it the largest interior size among its contemporaries, more than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-series.

The S170 series Crown Estate was continued alongside the S180 sedans. It continued using the older inline 6-cylinder engines.

Thirteenth (S200 Model: 2008 to present)

The new Crown is available in 5 different trim levels: the basic Crown Sedan; the Crown Royal series which is a more comfortable and luxurious car; the Crown Athlete series which takes the luxurious aspect of the Royal series but has more aggressive styling and sporty features; the Crown Majesta series which is larger and has more luxurious features than the Royal series; and the Crown Hybrid series which is a trim level designated for the hybrid V6 drivetrain. The Crown is one of the first vehicles to have a 3 Dimensional Satellite Navigation System coupled with G-BOOK and boasts many features that have not been developed by other luxury car makers. This system can adjust the damper firmness for corners based on map data and change transmission gear shift timings and engine braking for merging on and off highways and approaching tollbooths. The Crown Hybrid also features Night View with a pedestrian detection system. The Crown is set to rival the European BMW 5 series, Mercedes E-class, Audi A6 and the Japanese Honda Legend & Nissan Fuga. This is the longest and widest Crown to be built.

The Crown hybrid concept was exhibited at 2007 Tokyo Motor Show. In television commercials in Japan a song was written by composer John Harle titled "How should I my true love know?"


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