Renovated Toyota museum puts visitors in driver's seat of automotive history

Chunichi Shimbun

The Toyota Automobile Museum in Nagakute, Aichi Prefecture, has fully renovated the permanent exhibition in its main hall for the first time since it opened in 1989.

The exhibition was opened to the public on Jan. 4.

The cars were originally divided into Japanese and Western models but are now arranged chronologically by year of manufacture, providing an introduction to automotive history that is easy to understand.

The museum will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2019 and is planning to revamp a separate hall for that occasion as well.

The renovated section is on the third floor of the main hall where cars made in Japan were previously displayed. It is now divided into five zones, each covering a block of 10 years from the 1950s onward.

With 67 cars from Japan, the United States and Europe now on display, visitors can find models representative of each generation, such as a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz with large tail fins that symbolized the prosperity of Americans; a 1966 Toyota Corolla that spurred the motorization of Japan; and a 1975 Honda Civic, the first foreign car in the world to clear strict U.S. regulations on emissions.

The 19 models added include a 1959 BMW Isetta, a 1-cylinder microcar known for its egg-like body and “bubble” windows.

The exhibition on the second floor, redesigned in January 2016, now showcases 72 cars, including the first gasoline-powered car built by Karl Benz of Germany in 1886.

A tour of both floors will give visitors an overview of the past 130 years of automotive history.

A guided tour of the third floor exhibition is available from 11:30 a.m. on weekends and public holidays in January and February.

The entrance fee is ¥1,000 for adults, ¥500 for those 65 or older, ¥600 for junior and high school students and ¥400 for elementary school students. The museum is closed on Mondays.

This section, appearing Tuesdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published on Jan. 6.

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