Throwback Thursday 1965: the first Japanese car sold in the united KINGDOM

What was the first Japanese car to be sold in the UK? Hint: it happened at the beginning of 1965.

A Toyota, maybe? The Corona arrived in 1965, yes, but this was not the first. It must be a Datsun, then? Nope — 1968. A Suzuki? Once again, no.

I’m going to put you out of your misery: it was the Compagno, the body of little Daihatsu company. Offered as a Berlina saloon, an estate and a nice Spider convertible, it has started what the Coach described as “threatened” Japanese “invasion” of our car market.

If you were around at the time, but don’t remember the Compagno, this is probably because the importer, Dufay, has managed to sell only six examples in five years. The best-selling car of 1965, the Austin/Morris 1100, managed to move an incredible 157,679 units in the course of this year alone.