Toyota Publica P10 series
|Engine||697 cc U air-cooled OHV H2|
|Wheelbase||2,130 mm (84 in)|
|Length||3,520 mm (139 in)|
|Width||1,415 mm (55.7 in)|
|Height||1,203 mm (47.4 in)|
|Curb weight||580 kg (1,300 lb)|
From concept to reality
Although Eiji Toyoda was initially keen to take advantage of the, at that time innovative, FF concept (front-mounted engine with front-wheel drive), it proved technically too complicated for Toyota engineers to be able to complete within the allotted time, so the decision was made to switch to more conventional FR layout. The Publica was inspired by the successful Citroen 2CV which also used a 2-cylinder, air-cooled, horizontally-opposed engine, with front-wheel drive. In spite of the fact that the government sources announced that significant tax breaks would be made for cars with engine displacements of less than 500 cc, Toyota decided that such a small engine would provide insufficient power on the highways, and increased the planned displacement to 700 cc. The resulting engine was an air-cooled 697 cc ohv 2-cylinder boxer which produced 28 hp (21 kW), and was known internally as the Toyota U engine. Fortunately for Toyota, the tax incentive announcements did actually not materialize.
The new car was given a two-door sedan body, which was intended to accommodate four people and a significant amount of luggage in the trunk, thus fulfilling the projected expectations of the customers. The car had a double wishbone suspension in the front and semi-elliptical leaf springs in the rear.
While the name "Publica" was chosen with reference to the English phrase "public car", referring to the cars intended attainability and popularity, due to the lack of exact distinction between the "l" and "r" consonants in Japanese the name can be sometimes misinterpreted as something closer to paprika. The name is transliterated as "パブリカ" in Katakana, literally paburika.
The new car was given the internal designation of "UP10" and the market name of "Publica" and was sold through a new dealer network, separate from the previous "Toyota" and "Toyopet" dealerships, called Toyota Public Store. Sales began in June 1961, with the basic price of ¥389,000. Initially, the car was very basic, lacking even such basic options like a radio or even a heater. This limited its appeal to the consumers, which were perceiving the automobile as an aspirational good and expected it to exude a much more luxurious impression.
Further development of the UP10 series
In 1962, a 2-door station wagon version was added, and a derivative model, Toyota Sports 800 (marketed initially as "Publica Sport") debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show. In 1963 Toyota added a new Deluxe trim level, denoted internally as "type UP10D", which featured such "luxuries" as reclining seats, Combustion heater or radio, as well as some chrome decors (the previous base model was now called Standard). With the appearance of the Deluxe, demand finally picked up, and when the convertible model was added the same year, sales of the Publica finally reached the target level of 3000-4000 monthly. In February 1964, a pickup truck model joined the lineup, and in September the engine got a power boost to 32 hp (24 kW), while the Deluxe trim level was also made available for the wagon version.