Curbside Classic: 1963 Toyota Stout – Steady And Stoutly Does It

Another surviving Toyota, another chance to look into the brand’s early ascendance years. An early chapter built on the backs of straightforward sturdy trucks and pickups. The Stout played its role well in those early international efforts; making quite an impression in developing nations, and even appearing briefly in the US from 1964 to 1969.

On its native Japan the Stout belonged to a now-gone midsize truck segment, competing directly with Nissan’s Junior truck line. The model has appeared before at CC, with an Outtake covering its technicals and background (that old post includes the first shots of mine to appear at CC).

By the time the Stout was conceived, it was clear Toyota’s early American foray was floundering. The Crown had flopped and the Corona (Tiara) wasn’t doing much better. It was up to the Land Cruiser to keep Toyota’s US efforts going while reinforcements arrived. Meanwhile, Nissan’s light trucks had found unexpected acceptance in the competitive US market. Toyota obviously took notice; in non-drammatic fashion the risk-averse company retrieved its unpopular sedans, prepping for a later offensive.

Following Nissan’s lead, Toyota placed its international ambitions on trucks in the meantime. Doing so, early Toyota qualities were evident; set backs and adversity were to be steadily confronted in a careful and studious manner.

After launch in its native Japan in 1960, the Stout would arrive stateside in ’64. Talking about the States, Toyota was still making use of plenty of American cues in their styling. Japanese stylists of the time were quite the cherry-pickers, and it’s rather difficult to tell what comes from where.

Not that the Stout is derivative; whatever its influences, it has a look all of its own. And even though veering a bit into Toyota’s stodgy tendencies, the design works and offers a rather likeable and affable vibe.

The wraparound windshield is the clearest US affectation and fits rather nicely. The locals liking for aftermarket add-ons make an appearance here, with an odd industrial-like aluminum sun visor. Considering the tropical sun, the visor may be a must to keep the greenhouse qualities of the windshield under control.

The Stout’s styling is a mix of industrial-simplicity, staid styling flourishes, and utility. As is rather known early adopters of the brand found a reliable and trusty machine. In due time, those qualities found enough favor to even outsell Nissan’s Junior in developing nations.

That said, Nissan had the compact pickup segment to themselves. It would take Toyota a while to catch up, as the Coronaline pickup was as much of a dud as the sedan had been. The Corona and Publica affairs were setbacks that sent the company into deep assessment in order to correct course.

This post’s CC is a fairly early Stout, from 1963 per its owner. The dual headlights and steel grille being firstly used on that year.

The original 1960 face was a simpler affair. The model would prove popular enough to grant three facelifts, with minor updates in the mechanicals all throughout its run from ’60 to ’78.

The existence of this post’s Stout was not a complete surprise to me. Indeed it was a delayed encounter, as my wife got some captures of it a few years ago while on the move. This not being a large city, I had been waiting to come across it sooner or later.

An encounter that admittedly took longer than I expected. Yet, as its parked-by-the-curbside sight came into view during my drive, I braked and parked abruptly as if by Pavlovian conditioning. I bolted from my seat, cell phone in hand, knowing I had finally found my prey.

In the back appears a Didea S.A. badge, the local dealer that got on the Toyota-train back in 1953. It still exists to this day, both as a car dealer (Toyota and others) and as major real state developer (a bit on their history appears in an older Corona (Tiara) post of mine).

Up close I was glad to see the vehicle was still in great condition, though with enough signs it gets frequent use. The interior’s American tinges are readily evident as well. Probably rather luxurious in its native Japan, and quite up to par with what was being offered elsewhere.

A view of the Stout’s interior, sans glare, appears on this ad’s insert.

In other markets, like Australia, Toyota extolled the midsize truck virtues of the Stout. No idea how much research the company placed on its print ads back then, but they were certainly peculiar. Advertising in the ’60s is an alien world, for sure.

Stouts are still found rather often in Central America, generally engaged in some farming work. These shots come from the Marketplace, where sellers make a point to extoll the little truck’s attributes.

The face on those Marketplace Stouts probably carry the post-’67 facelift, which would remain until the model’s last year in ’78. By the early ’80s, both the Stout and the Junior were to be axed, with their parent companies creating new successful pickup lines in their place.

While successful elsewhere, the Stout wasn’t quite what the US market needed, selling only modestly. Still, those years in retreat proved fruitful; by the late ’60s Toyota’s revised lineup would quickly gain acceptance and overtake Nissan’s lead. Steadily, the company brought new products that offered what customers wanted and needed. All based on a methodical unexciting research approach, that while lacking in drama, made the company’s products ubiquitous just about everywhere. I mean, just look at those yellow Toyotas behind our feature Toyota…


Further reading:

Cohort Outtake: Toyota Stout, Double Cab And Regular Cab, Doubly Stout

Curbside Classic: ’70-’82 Nissan Junior – Coffee Picking Season