If my sources are correct, the first “Toyota” was actually a “Toyoda”, model number AA.
The AA was born in 1936 at the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, bearing the name of its founder Kiichiro Toyoda. Before cars, Toyoda’s family had built a successful weaving business in Japan, but for the entrepreneurial Kiichiro, inspired by visits to America, its automobiles and its factories, Kiichiro believed that the future would be the motor car. (No one can deny him that!)
After releasing an early prototype model in 1935, the A1, Kiichiro’s dream finally became a reality when the Model AA was released to the general public a year later. Inspired by the successful design of the leading American cars of the time, the AA bore many similarities to the popular Chrysler Airflow.
Like the body, the engine was modeled after the proven units found in the States; so a 3.3 liter, 6 cylinder unit was developed to power the AA, while passengers in the rear could revel in new-found levels of comfort and space thanks to a clever balance of weight between the wheels.
So history was made, with Kiichiro Toyoda slavishly following the production methods of the automobile industry in the USA, while today, the US Auto industry sends its executives to Japan to study the “Toyota way”. The wheel has gone full circle!