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Troopy - what's the story behind the model name?

The Toyota Troopy name is one you may have heard, but questioned. Here's an explainer.

Troopy – What's in a name?

Australians just can't help themselves: Give them a name, and they'll shorten it. If your surname is McKenzie, you'll be known as Macca. If you move to Wollongong, you'll soon be a resident of The Gong. And if you drive a Toyota LandCruiser Troop Carrier, guess what? You're a Troopy owner. Don't fight it.

Okay, so that's the etymology (or should that be 'etto'?) of Troopy, but what about the vehicle's correct name, the Troop Carrier? For starters, why is it so often spelled as one word with a capital 'C' in the middle of the word (TroopCarrier) when the official Toyota spelling is to use two words (on its company website, anyway)? Basically, that comes down to Toyota's previous insistence that its LandCruiser models were spelled in the same, one-word-with-a-capital-in-the-middle way.

As for Troop Carrier itself, well, that seems like another of those examples where carmakers tend to take themselves pretty seriously and the naming process pretty literally. The Nissan Pathfinder is another example of a name that sounded a tad pretentious when we first heard it but, in reality, probably sounded pretty good in the boardroom in Japan at the time. Mind you, the Brits probably started it with Land Rover, so maybe a name that reflects the vehicle's true role isn't so strange after all.

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Australians just can’t help themselves: Give them a name, and they’ll shorten it.

The irony of 'Troop Carrier', of course, is that there's a clear inference that this vehicle is about carrying troops. As in military operatives. Making the car itself a piece of military hardware. Irony? Well, yes, because after World War II, under the watchful eye of Douglas MacArthur's occupation forces, a new, US-written constitution was placed over Japan, banning any military activity or any acts of warfare. Which pretty neatly ruled out having a military of any sort other than a civil defence corps.

Okay, so that was back in the 1940s, but for most of the time between WWII and now, the closest the country has had to a military was called the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and was involved in peacekeeping missions and domestic emergencies. The original 1946 constitutional clause even kept Japan from joining the US and its allies in the Gulf War of 1990 and 1991. Only in September 2015 did Japan change its legislation to allow Japanese troops to fight abroad. Which is a roundabout way of saying that calling a Japanese vehicle a Troop Carrier must have carried with it a certain degree of consternation in some circles.

When you look at the vehicle’s actual layout, the descriptor Troop Carrier isn’t much of a stretch.

Then again, when you look at the vehicle's actual layout, the descriptor Troop Carrier isn't much of a stretch. In its original form, the Troopy could carry 11 people (three in the front, eight in the back) with a pair of benches running lengthways in the rear. It wasn't especially comfortable, but as a means of moving a lot of bodies and their gear (as the military demands) the Troop Carrier badge was definitely deserved.

And just to prove the point, plenty of armies around the world, including the Middle East and Africa, have used Troop Carriers, often in modified (armoured) form for anti-terrorist duties.

David Morley
Contributing Journalist
Morley’s attentions turned to cars and motoring fairly early on in his life. The realisation that the most complex motor vehicle was easier to both understand and control than the simplest human-being, set his career in motion. Growing up in the country gave the young Morley a form of motoring freedom unmatched these days, as well as many trees to dodge. With a background in newspapers, the move to motoring journalism was no less logical than Clive Palmer’s move into politics, and at times, at least as funny.
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