“Land of the Rising Sun” Featured in New Exhibit

The newest exhibit at the California Automobile Museum (CAM) will highlight the success of Toyota, Japan’s largest car manufacturer, as a trendsetter in America since the days it sold the gas-sipping Toyopet on Hollywood Boulevard when the newest models in Southern California dealerships had massive tail fins.

The summer long exhibit, TOYOTA: Oh What A History!, sponsored by Elk Grove Toyota, opens on July 17 and will run through September 19. “Toyota was the first car manufacturer from the “Land of the Rising Sun” to sell cars in the United States and to challenge Detroit on many levels,” noted Karen McClaflin, Executive Director of the California Automobile Museum. “Over the last half century the company has left its mark as an industry leader, producing cars that were long on reliability and low on pollution. Its cars have also been high on the speed charts in every form of racing, from the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR to exotic prototype sports cars and trucks in the desert.”

TOYOTA: Oh What A History! will showcase cars from Toyota’s early years to some of their current raciest machines from the track. The vehicles on exhibit offer something for environmentalists, racing fans and automotive historians alike. Among the vehicles in the exhibit:

  • A 1959 Toyopet Crown sedan, a gas-sipping, economical model that introduced American buyers to Toyota when all gas was still leaded and under $0.25 a gallon
  • A 1967 2000 GT; a long-nosed sleek coupe that began Toyota’s road racing history in the U.S., pre-dating the popular Nissan/Datsun “Z” cars
  • A 1998/99 Mark III GTP prototype sports car; powered by Toyota during that car’s domination of IMSA road racing, a series that featured one-of-a-kind machines with almost no technical limits on design
  • A gas/electric hybrid Prius that set a Land Speed Record over 200 mph for its class on the salt flats of Bonneville, showing that environmental responsibility and speed can be packaged in one car
  • An off-road race truck, typical of the machines that have won dozens of major races for Toyota Motorsports, such as the Baja 1000, sanctioned by SCORE


The TOYOTA: Oh What A History! exhibit will have an exhibition sneak peak and panel discussion on Friday, July 16 from 6pm – 9pm with guests from Toyota Motorsports, including Ivan “Ironman” Stewart, winner of numerous races and championships in the SCORE off-road series, and Scooter Patrick, a veteran road racer who piloted the GTP machine to victories in the IMSA series. The evening will also include a no host bar and light appetizers. This event is free for CAM Gearhead Members and $15 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door.

On Saturday, July 17th the exhibit will officially open to the public. From 11am – 1pm, visitors can get autographs from Ivan “Ironman” Stewart and Scooter Patrick and from 11am – 3pm can test drive 2011 Toyotas, courtesy of Elk Grove Toyota. This event is free for CAM Gearhead Members and included with paid Museum admission for the general public.

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience first-hand Toyota’s undeniable mark on the world’s auto industry with its attention to detail, innovative technology and a commitment to designing and building the world’s most popular cars.

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