I have a feeling that opinion will be very much divided on this one. With very few roadworthy survivors around, a 1973 Toyota Corona Mark II Coupe is undoubtedly a rare car. But a purely stock example, even a hardtop coupe, doesn’t have massive collector-car value. So would you restore to stock or, like this owner, radically customize one?
The original Corona Mark II of 1968-1972 was an attempt to plug a hole in the lineup between the compact Corona and the luxurious Crown. Based on the Corona platform, the marginally larger Mark II combined some of the Crown’s upscale features with economical four-cylinder power.
Toyota moved the second-generation Mark II from the Corona platform to the larger X platform, but for some reason kept it badged as a ‘Corona Mark II’. Four- and six-cylinder power was offered outside of North America, where only a straight six could be had. The front styling of this 1973 has a distinctive split grille, which to my eyes looks more Mazda rotary than Toyota. With the Crown no longer available in North America, the six-cylinder Mark II now topped the Toyota line, and the second-generation’s bigger size and power offered buyers a nice, comfortable transition from an American car to a Japanese one.
The heart of any car is its motor, and it’s obvious this Corona Mark II has had a transplant. The original 2,563cc 4M inline six developed 122 hp, and would have been paired to either a four-speed manual or, more likely, a three-speed automatic. The result would have been reasonable performance and relaxed cruising. This example ups the ante significantly with a fuel-injected, turbocharged 7M-GTE inline six and matching five-speed manual. The 7M-TE is a more powerful relative of the old 4AM introduced in 1986. Displacing three liters (stock), it was rated at 232 hp. Easily tune-able after the factory head bolt torque specification is fixed, it’s capable of much more.
To go along with the engine swap, this Mark II has received a completely customized interior. The bright green color on the exterior and under the hood continues to make a strong impression inside as well. It’s likely that the steering wheel came from the same Toyota Supra that gave up its engine.
Fat fender flares, a trunk-mounted wing and flared rockers offer plenty of evidence that this Corona Mark II means business. It definitely diverges from the usual Toyota palette of period-popular browns and golds with its bright green color, which looks almost identical to the “Spirited Green” of my Mazda 2. Now, what judgement will be passed on this coupe by the CC readership?