CC Capsule: 1967 Toyota Corona Wagon – The Utilitarian Corona

Additional photos by Simón Varela. 

We had a number of T40/T50 Coronas at CC throughout the years, covering most of that fate-defining Toyota range. Clearly the 4-door sedan was the first to appear years ago. Slowly, the remaining models have shown up, with the hardtop recently, and even the sportiest version some time ago; the 1600GT-5.

Now we have a new early Corona find in these pages, the utilitarian 3-door wagon, or ‘Van’ in JDM speak.

It’s been said time and time again here at CC, that the arrival of the 1965 Corona T40 was Toyota’s turning point, the model on which the once-obscure Japanese carmaker built its international reputation. Followed in ’66 by the new Corolla, the two-hit punch signaled that the company had found its stride. Successful at home and abroad, the Corona and Corolla duo laid the path for Toyota’s future fortunes.

Of course, the Corona range in Japan was a whole gamut, with many not leaving that nation’s borders. Internationally, most markets got the 4-door sedans and hardtops, the early Coronas known by everyone.

And the ones most often found, like this one sitting pretty in a San Salvador shopping center.

Against other imports of the period, the Corona was quite an offer. It had decent power and accommodations for its size, plus good assembly and reliability. All at a good value.

It was a rather enticing proposal at the time.

While the sedan and hardtop gained quick international acceptance, the model’s utilitarian range remained mostly confined to Japan and selected import markets. The rarest of those being a 2-door pickup and a 4-door double cab ute, both rarely seen beyond Asia (A handful of 2-door pickups did reach Europe early on, only to prove incredibly hard to sell).

That utilitarian range also included 3-door and 5-door wagon versions, or ‘Van’ as they were marketed in Japan. These models did reach more markets in larger numbers (though they were never sold in the US) and were appropriately promoted as family companions.

Besides their practical qualities, promotional materials showed the wagons through soft-focus images, surrounded by calm and soothing settings. All rather idyllic and Zen in spirit.

Like most markets, the 4-door sedan forms the bulk of Coronas in Latin America, followed in popularity by the snazzy hardtop. Clearly, as the images show, the 3-door wagon also arrived in the region and looks to have been the preferred utilitarian Corona. At least the surviving numbers around San Salvador suggest that to be the case.

Here’s another one in a different neighborhood, in far less preserved condition, but still looking solid enough to be revived.

As some of our readers know, some cars just want to be featured at CC. I had seen this wagon around San Salvador a few times, even capturing some images. However, I had never managed to shoot the car’s front properly. It’s filigreed shovel-nose never wanting to be captured, apparently.

Then, my pal Simón Varela came across it and sent me some shots (lede image) to complete the set. Ok little wagon, I got the message. You wanted your 15 minutes of CC fame, and here they are!

So, what lurks behind that filigreed grille? Under the hood early Corona utilitarian models were powered by Toyota’s 1198cc 2P engine, offering about 54hp at 5000rpm. Starting in 1967, Toyota’s 1490cc 2R engine became available, offering 74hp at 5000rpm. Brochures of the period show that shifting on these models came courtesy of Toyota’s 4-speed-synchromesh manual.

Enough talking about this car’s front end. Let’s check out the rest.

Today’s wagon looks rather original against many of my other San Salvador finds. Missing a few bits, and suffering some minor mods, but mostly all there. The rear bumper looks like a later addition, but brochure images show it’s the model’s original.

Let’s leave this wagon, for now, sitting placidly in this picturesque-looking setting. A rare scenario in this rather chaotic city, but quite fitting. After all, despite those racy rims, this little wagon is filled with those Zen qualities Toyota owners enjoy so much.


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1969 Toyota Corona – It All Started Here

CC Capsule: 1968 Toyota Corona 1600S Hardtop Coupe – The Cool Corona

Curbside Classic: 1968 Toyota 1600 GT-5 – Corona Con Tequila