After 53 Years of Daily Driving, This One-Owner 1969 Toyota Corolla Is Retiring to a Museum

Half a century, 350,000 miles, and countless memories will be preserved at Toyota’s own museum.

byJames Gilboy|
After 53 Years of Daily Driving, This One-Owner 1969 Toyota Corolla Is Retiring to a Museum
NHK via YouTube

After more than half a century in service of a single family, a first-generation Toyota Corolla will be honored by Toyota itself by being inducted into the company's official museum.

The Corolla served as a daily for 77-year-old Asada Shogo, who spent two full years' pay on the E10 Corolla sedan in 1969, according to NHK. Like many young people, the then 24-year-old used his car for dating, which led to him meeting his future wife Mitsuko. The two eventually started a family, which the Corolla served reliably, taking them on their honeymoon and even ferrying home their infant daughter from the hospital. In fact, a photo of her in the passenger seat was shared on an NHK newscast.

In 53 years of service, the Corolla traveled far further than the 63,000 kilometers its odometer wrongly indicates. It's only a 5-digit odometer, and it's reportedly rolled over 5 times, for a true mileage of 563,000 kilometers. That's 350,000 miles or about 14 trips around the Earth. It made it that far because Shogo maintained it fastidiously, using OEM parts wherever possible and aftermarket where not. The fender mirrors are from Thailand, and tires had to be sourced from further afield.

Owning outdated commuters like this is especially unusual in Japan, where it's prohibitively expensive to keep old cars registered. Not even 2 percent of cars registered in Japan are over 30 years old according to NHK. Keeping the Corolla around all that time was made worthwhile by Shogo's daughter recreating the photo her parents took of her riding home in the passenger seat, this time with her own daughter—Shogo's granddaughter.

The Shogos' daughter and granddaughter coming home in the same car. NHK via YouTube

Shogo's Corolla isn't on the road anymore, but not due to any turn of bad luck. Toyota took possession of the car again in early July to put it on display at the Toyota City Museum when it opens in 2024. Both Asada and his wife Mitsuko had some parting words for the car:

"He's in perfect condition," Shogo told NHK. "It worked well for 53 years, didn't it? I was happy that it was permanently preserved."
"I feel lonely because I'm attached to you, thank you for your hard work for a really long time [sic]," added Mitsuko Shogo.

Parting ways with a longtime family car is something many families go through, and it's often a heartfelt, permanent farewell. For the Shogo family though, there'll be comfort in knowing their old Corolla lives on not only in their memories but in the flesh in Toyota's care, in as good of shape as ever. And should the Shogos' granddaughter have a child of her own, the car will always be around, waiting for one more cheeky photo.

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