A few months ago I posted a trivia question over at LaLD, and lucky Berang guessed the vehicle to win some Hot Wheels cars. Well, after installing Windows to hook up my scanner and Photoshop, I’m finally able to share my reference material with you all! More photos and info (mostly in Japanese) below the fold.
First up is one of the leading pages in Gakken Mook’s specialty magazine 360cc軽自動車 (360cc minicars). Unfortunately I don’t know for sure what issue it is, other than that the yellow cover features a rainbow halo around a Subaru 360. I think it’s a September publication based on “9月” on the cover.
Unfortunately I can’t read anything but romaji so I have no idea what it says. If you can help translate, I’d greatly appreciate it!
As near as I can tell, diesel engine manufacturer Yanmar (ヤンマー) built either a single prototype or a very low production run of the extremely utilitarian KT in 1958-1959. The rear mounted inline two (?) diesel had an output of 249cc, putting it easily into the keitora category. Details are hard to pin down, as the only online source I have to verify this vehicle’s existence is below, and they seem to have taken their information from the same source as I have.
That source would be a hard cover, 156-page Japanese language book called “Memories of Japanese K-cars 1951-1975" which devotes a whopping half page to Yanmar’s brief foray into light trucks.
The soft-door KT was replaced in 1960 by the more polished looking (and weather-protected) Pony (ポニー). Having apparently learned some valuable lessons on the KT project, Yanmar positioned the Pony’s 356cc diesel V-twin just behind the cab. It produced only 9 horsepower at 3600 rpm, but in a vehicle nearly a meter shorter than a Chevy Spark I’m sure the power was adequate.
Supposedly only 650 Ponies were produced, however at least a single example survives at the snazzy-looking Yanmar Museum in Nagahama, below.
This is all really fun for me but it would be a lot better if I knew what the articles say. So please, if any of you can read some Japanese, do share! Until then, I hope you enjoyed this little footnote of pickup truck history.
PS- I also ran across this image at http://yamada.sailog.jp/weblog/cat855/
It appears to have a Yanmar diesel engine and even says ヤンマー on the bed side. Update: KnowsAboutCars provided a photo that suggests this is a 1958 Yanmar KT. Again, a bit of translation would help.