Toyota USA Museum: All About Cars

Toyota Museum Toyopeta
 During my trip to TWIN Camp, one of the trip highlights was a visit to the Toyota USA Automobile Museum in Torrance, California.  Driving through a business district in Torrance, it would be easy to miss the museum if you weren’t specifically looking for it.
It’s a fairly nondescript-looking gray building that appears more like a dealership than a museum on the outside. On the inside, it’s jam-packed with  hundreds of representative models of Toyota’s unique and distinctive contributions to automotive history, or at least as it has evolved in the United States. It’s like Alice slipped down the rabbit hole and right into Cars Land.
An Early Toyopet, the Hello Kitty of Cars

Inside, we learned about the history of Toyota in America.  Toyota Motor Sales, USA was founded in 1957 in Hollywood, California.  The first Toyotas to hit American soil were called Toyopet and were sold in a handful of dealerships beginning in 1958, along with the Land Cruiser.  The Toyopet, which I thought was completely adorable, was smaller and more expensive than most American-made cars and didn’t really fit the US market.  Toyota decided to pull the line in 1961 and focus instead on the sturdy, all-terrain Land Cruiser until 1965, when the Corona arrived.  Toyota introduced the economical Corolla in 1967, which has become the world’s best-selling passenger car of all time, with over 27 million sold in 140 countries around the globe.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Inside the Toyota Museum, you can see examples of all of these models from the past, and some special, futuristic eco-friendly cars as well.  One car was so small that it looked like my eleven year old son could drive it.  In fact, I think I have purse larger than that.

Toyota Museum Minority Report Concept Car

Minority Report Lexus Concept Car

The Lexus branded concept car from the movie “Minority Report” is on display, along with some memorabilia from the move.  The car was all sexy rounded shapes and slick design, in a dark red tone that I’m sure I have a lipstick to match.  I’m not a Tom Cruise fan, but regardless of who would be driving it, this is one hot-looking car.


Toyota Museum Jenny Jill Jump

Jenny & Jill Show Off Their Toyota Jumping Skills


Along with a hundred or more cars, there are displays on Toyota’s advertising history, with some familiar slogans like “You asked for it, You Got It…Toyota!” and “Oh, What a Feeling” with the famous “Toyota jump” in the ads.

About large bookcases line one wall of the museum and display row after row of quality and service awards that Toyota has won over the years, including JD Power & Associates Quality Awards.  It was an impressive sight to see so many trophies lined up in one place.

After viewing all of these fine vehicles, displays, and awards, I was sorry that my husband and son didn’t have a chance to join me at the Toyota USA Museum.

Maybe on your next trip to Disneyland to see Cars Land, you can stop in at a real land of cars and enjoy the view.

Toyota Museum Tailgate

Toyota Tailgate

Note: The Toyota USA Automobile Museum is open by appointment only. If you are planning to be in Torrance, California, it’s worth planning a trip to view the cars.

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of Toyota.

Photo Credits: All photos are © Glennia Campbell 2012. 

Glennia Campbell
Glennia Campbell has been around the world and loved something about every part of it. She is interested in reading, photography, politics, reality television, food and travel and lives in the Bay Area of the U.S.

She blogs about family travel at The Silent I and is also the co-founder of MOMocrats Beth Blecherman and Stefania Pomponi Butler, which launched out of a desire to include the voices of progressive women, particularly mothers, in the political dialogue of the 2008 campaign.

She found her way to Democratic politics under the tutelage of the late Rev. Dr. William Sloane Coffin, Jr., Cora Weiss, and other anti-war activists and leaders in the anti-nuclear campaigns of the 1980's. She has been a speaker at BlogHer, Netroots Nation, and Mom 2.0, and published print articles in KoreAm Journal.

Professionally, Glennia is a lawyer and lifelong volunteer. She has been a poverty lawyer in the South Bronx, a crisis counselor for a domestic violence shelter in Texas, President of a 3,000 member non-profit parent's organization in California, and has worked in support of high-tech and medical research throughout her professional career.
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