“Dusty history” can be found all over the world. An example of that was in 2008 when an historic Toyota Model AA was found in a barn in Siberia in Russia. Toyota is one of the most famous automobile manufacturers in the world and has been making cars since the 1930s but very little is known about their early models. It was believed that all were melted down during World War II to provide metal for the Imperial Japanese war effort. But one managed to avoid that fate.
Only 1,404 Model AAs were produced between 1936 and 1942. Until the discovery of a 1936 model in a barn near Vladivostok, Siberia, Toyota officials could only guess as to what they looked like as all information on the car had been lost during the war. In the 1980’s a reproduction was commissioned for Toyota’s 50th anniversary, but those charged with this task could only make educated guesses as to its construction. Toyota looked all over their distribution area at the time …China, Japan, and South Korea to find a car or any scrap of information. Little did they know that in Siberia all of their questions could be answered in a farmer’s barn. The car had some modifications on it, a replacement grille, the engine was replaced, Soviet-era tires, a radio was added, and it was changed from left-hand to right-hand drive. But the rest of the car was there, though by then the elements had taken their toll. It is not known how the car wound up in Siberia, as the original owner has passed away, but the thinking was that it had been brought back as a spoil of war.
The Louwman Museum in The Hague, Netherlands acquired the car after months of tough negotiations with the Russian Ministry of Culture. It was transported to the Netherlands where it is now part of a massive private car collection at the museum. It is still in the condition it was found in with no plans to restore it, only to preserve it. Just think about this the next time you go into an old barn and look at that rusty old car!