Hino started out in the car market building Renault 4CV's under license in Japan. It has aspiration to build its own cars and entered into that with the Contessa 900, a rear engined car. Essentially based on the know-how from producing the Renault 4CV, Hino started off in their own direction with the engineering. In 1964 they bought in Giovanni Michelotti to redesign the car and stuck a 1300cc engine in, thus producing the Contessa 1300. The car is relatively rare inside Japan, even more so outside of Japan.
The car was available in both sedan and coupe version, as well as spawning a few specials, and competition variants. The Contessa 1300 Coupe L was the pinnacle of the development of the Contessa, although a number of very interesting prototypes were made based on the platform. Hino also developed some cars aimed at the track, but none of these made it into production. In 1967 Hino became part of Toyota and concentrated solely on developing and building trucks.
The whole of the Hino story is interesting and deserves to be covered in more detail than this entry, so I really recommend you to go and visit Hino Samurai where there is a lot more of the back story and details of the racing cars than I could ever hope to cover here, as well as brochure scans and promotional photos."