When the Crown De Luxe saloon was first released in 1972, it was at that time the most lavish Toyota model available to British customers. Both unusual and exclusive, one unique feature was a compartment in the boot that was refrigerated. Without a doubt, this was a truly rare machine. After a quarter of a century placed in storage, this magnificent specimen is slated to make a comeback.
What makes the story even more interesting is that not only will this rare Crown model make a comeback, but it will be joining the family of its previous and original owner. The full details of this story were shared on Toyota’s official blog in time for the 45th anniversary of this model.
Originally bought by Percy and Ethel Cole, a couple in Surrey, the list price of this unit back then was £2,303, which today would be somewhere around £29,500. The Coles made sure to take good care of it, such as not driving it at speeds of more than 30 mph. When not in use, the coupe would keep it in dry storage. In fact, Mr. Cole did not even remove the “running in” sticker that was placed on the rear window, mainly to support his preference for driving slower.
Mr. Cole’s passion for the Crown came from his father who also had a previous generation of this model. Though his father gave that car to him, Mr. Cole bought himself a newer Crown Coupe but in the same dealership that was located near Guildford. When Mt. Cole died, his son took care of the Crown saloon for a decade before finally putting it to storage. It stayed here until October 2016.
While the family was still deciding on whether it they would proceed with contracting work to make it roadworthy, it was spotted by Robin Shepherd, a classic car enthusiast, while in the garage. Recognizing at once that this was a rare model, he not only bought the car but also made sure to have the needed repairs done to it. The goal of course, was to make it working again to cruise Surrey Hills.
The story did not stop there as Shepherd would later learn that a close friend Nick Garrick, who himself was also a classic motorcycle enthusiast, was the grandson of the original owner. As such, he was able to be part of the anniversary photo shoot and shared his memories of being inside the Crown saloon while it was still new.
For those not familiar with this model, the Crown remains to be the longest running model from Toyota. It was originally targeted for the Japanese market and originally launched in 1955. This model would later be released in the U.S. and the U.K but low sales would force Toyota to stop sending it to the U.S. by 1974, and remove its availability in the U.K., some years later.