predecessor, the Tokyo Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd, began building British-designed Wolseley A9 trucks under licence from 1922. These were built mainly for military use. The agreement with Wolseley terminated in 1927. Typical of the company's products in the early 1930s was the bonneted 2-tonne Sumida truck. In 1934 a research program into diesel engine production was put in place. The TX40 2-ton truck, with modernized cab strongly influenced by contemporary American styling, was in production in 1936. A new factory for heavy trucks was completed at Kawasaki in 1938, the Tokyo Jidosha Kogyo (Tokyo Automotive Industry) Co. Ltd having been formed in 1937 . combining the motor divisions of the Ishikawajima Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. and the Tokyo Gas & Electric Co. The latter produced Japan's first truck in 1917 and also formed the basis for Hino Heavy Industries which went on to become a separate truck-building concern, being renamed Hino Motors Ltd in 1959 and which eventually merged with Toyota in 1966.
Diesel trucks were in full production by 1941. The company became Isuzu Motors Ltd in 1949 and the main truck model during the 1950s was the TX550 bonneted 6-tonner. A military 6x6 development. In 1959 Isuzu's heaviest truck was the TD150 bonneted four-wheeler for 9-tonne payload.
During the 1960s, heavier and more powerful models were introduced.
The Isuzu SKW is a tactical truck of Japanese origin. It was developed by Isuzu in the late 1960's to replace the previous range of 2.5 t trucks in Japanese service. The SKW is best known as the Type 73 in Japanese service. The design has been updated three times in order to provide improved performance. Despite the upgrades the Type 73 designation remains unchanged, mostly because the capabilities and performance remain similar.
The SKW is a 3.5 t tactical truck that is based on a commercial truck chassis. Even though the design was improved in many areas for military use it uses many off the shelf parts. The SKW features a 6x6 chassis with a forward control cab mounted on top of the engine. Most SKW have single rear tires with a few specialist models having double rear tires. On all three models the cab roof can be removed and the wind shield lowered for a reduced silhouette. The SKW series is unarmed and has no armor or NBC system.
The original model Type 73 truck is the SKW 440 series.
The SKW 461 to 464 range of trucks was introduced in 1989.
The SKW 475 is the latest version of the Type 73 truck and was introduced in 1999.
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