Although Hino Motors, Ltd. was primarily a manufacturer of commercial vehicles and diesel engines, they did produce a variety of automobiles. The Contessa, which translates to Countess in Italian, was offered in both coupe and sedan body styles from 1961 through 1967. Featuring a rear engine and rear drive, it is powered by a 1,251 cubic centimeter four-cylinder engine backed by a four speed manual transmission.
The coupe version of the Contessa was introduced in April 1965. Featuring an upgraded engine with twin Solex side draft carburetors and slightly higher compression, it offers impressive performance.
This particular example is the sport version which was marketed as the '1300 S.' Many see similarities between the Contessa and the Chevrolet Corvair, and although both share the rear engine, the Corvair is air cooled while the Contessa is water cooled. This generation of the Contessa was also exported to Australia, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. With hopes to import these cars to the United States, Hino recruited Peter Brock and his BRE team to enter two cars in the 1966 Timex Grand Prix in Los Angeles. Much to the amazement of the competition, Brock and his team were victorious.
In late 1966, Hino was purchased by Toyota and production ended in March 1967. This Contessa 1300 S is a highly sought after car in Japan and throughout the world. This is the only known example currently in the United States.