I’d seen this very clean Corona wagon before in town, on the go. But I finally stumbled into where it lives, and it appears that it has a stablemate, parked in the apartment space behind it and that tree. The odds of them not being co-owned are just too large. Ten years ago, it could have easily been coincidence; not in 2017.
This generation Corona (T130) was the last to be sold in the US. More specifically, this 1982 model was the very last year for US-bound Coronas, replaced in 1983 with the all-new FWD Camry. It was quite akin to GM venerable RWD B/C Body being replaced with new FWD cars, given how the Corona had once been Toyota’s bread-and-butter car in the US, and was once its best seller. But the Corona’s best days were behind it by this time; it was getting a bit stale and staid.
That’s not to say the Corona didn’t have a loyal following right to the end. It may have been stodgy, but it was absolutely impeccable when it came to the traditional Toyota qualities of quality build, reliability and durability. All the components of these RWD cars were by then very mature, and for those looking for a very safe bet, one couldn’t do better than one of these, or its smaller stablemate, the last of the RWD Corollas. Well, or any Toyota at the time.
Power came from the 2.2L 20R SOHC four, as also used in the Celica and Pickup. There’s still quite a few 20R-powered pickups at work here, even if the RWD Celica and Corona have become quite rare now.
In the parking spot sits a 1986 Cressida wagon, the next notch up in the Toyota hierarchy at the time, and one that would stay faithful to RWD until it was effectively replaced by the new Lexus line as Toyota’s top offering. And of course it too had a loyal following, thanks to all of the same qualities as well as a few more, including its powerful DOHC 2.8 L fuel injected six.
One of the distinctive features of these wagons, along with the short-lived Camry wagon, are the twin rear wipers. It’s the kind of thing one would expect to see on a Mercedes of the times. But then Toyota shared more than a few qualities with Mercedes back then, in terms of fastidious engineering, even if it raised costs. Which it did.
Toyota’s larger cars were never cheap, which explains why Toyota never really competed with any significant volume against mid-sized American cars. It may have built cheap small cars, but the Cressida was in the Volvo-Peugeot-Mercedes league, in terms of features, quality and even price, although not with the Mercedes.
Cressidas had a particularly loyal following in Eugene; in neighborhoods where one might assume that University professors would likely live, Cressidas could be seen in multiples, until quite recently. But even their time has come, but at least this one has found a safe second home with this Toyota RWD wagon lover.