Thank you to Tim Finn
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of these. When I was in my first year of high school, one of the moms drove a Corona like this, perhaps even the same non-description color, and I rode in it more than a few times. Probably the first Japanese car I rode in She soon replaced it with a bright green Opel Kadett which I was happier to be seen in, and which she liked to drive a lot more than the Corona.
This was the first Japanese car I ever saw in the “metal”.
These third generation Coronas appeared in small numbers on the streets of London in the year I passed my driving test.
I thought at the time that the styling was oddly Japanese – I had no idea there was Farina influence.
I took these photos while out on a walk. This is one of the oldest Japanese cars I’ve seen, that is still apparently daily driven. It looks to have new tires, and it had California plates, in Portland Oregon. I’ve looked for the car in the same neighborhood, and haven’t seen it again. I think this old car is still getting regular usage.
This was a nice car.
I’ve seen a few coupes too.
They’re dopey and adorable at the same time.
My college buddy and I cruised Colorado in a ’69 Corolla. It was my first real experiences with a Japanese car and it was very positive. They were tinny, but so were other imports.
At a time when US brands were putting out mini-pony cars, the Japanese were importing mini-family cars like these from Toyota. It was happenstance that the Japanese ended up catching the US market selling their family cars here. Those were the most profitable to import, and as the US got repeatedly hit with a gas crisis, ended up becoming the new US family cars.
This was a Corona? I think that is what this one is.
This is the Monster That Ate Detroit. An unassuming little coupe or sedan, not especially attractive, but it had Secret Mysterious Inscrutable Superpowers. It ran forever, drove perfectly, and made the mechanic’s job just as pleasant as the driver’s job. None of those powers were within Detroit’s comprehension, so Corona won.
Not just Detroit, but much of Europe as well. Brands like VW, Volvo,Peugeot, and SAAB couldn’t compete in the small family car market against Toyota, et al. (Talking about the US market here.)
VW sat on it’s air-cooled duff for so long that it just couldn’t compete. The others were forced to move upmarket. Of course, some of that was due to currency exchange issues, but still…
Probably the closest Detroit got to the Crown in this era (when not using rebadged Japanese imports) was the Dart with the 170 slant 6 and torqueflite – if you got a basic stripped one made on a good day.
My older brother managed to kill at 3R-B. He never told us how.
Corona Deluxe, a Deluxe vehicle if ever their was one.
These seem to be less uncommon than the later 1970-1972 ish ones
Growing up in the 70s in the midwest, I don’t recall ever seeing one of these in person.
Between our road salt (which seems to have a particular ravenous appetite for early Japanese metal) and the fact that Toyotas were not (and still aren’t) as popular in the heartland as they are on the coasts, my only exposure to cars like this was in magazines.
I’ve never seen one of these in the metal either. I assume in salt country, the few of these that were sold were all gone by 1980. Toyota really didn’t make much inroads until about the mid 1980’s around here.
Never seen one of these in the metal.
This looks a lot like my older brother’s Corona, which he owned in the late ‘70’s around the time in graduated from high school. My brother’s Corona was remarkably rust free for being a Wisconsin car, it was a second car, I believe his other car at the time was a ‘68 Dodge Coronet 4dr or had he just moved on to a ‘73 Chevelle Malibu 4dr.
This Toyota seemed a bit fragile to me, perhaps it was the very thin doors. I did appreciate Toyota’s excellent space utilization. I fell in love with a friend’s ‘73 Corolla a couple years later, which my brother ended up obtaining as a second car.
That’s because you’re too young. We geezers used to see these all the time.
A friend of my parents bought one when I was a kid. The biggest impression that stuck in my mind was it reminded me of the family sedans of the early to mid fifties in style.
Most people that were early Japanese buyers seemed to stick with them. Funnily enough, although he was the very first in the area he did not.
His corona was replace by a Plymouth duster in the early seventies.
I will always remember that face. My first year of college a guy on my dorm floor (Leo) was driving one of these. When it came up that I worked on my own cars he asked me if I would do something on his Toyota. I no longer recall what, but it was something simple like plugs and wires or belts or a thermostat.
I remember that it was the first time I had ever paid attention to one of these. I remember being struck that it was a lot like everything else I had ever worked on – meaning that it was not like a cheap disposable tin can a lot of people said Japanese cars were early on.
It was well worn, and had been painted black – with a brush. It ran like a champ when I was finished with it.
I would imagine that Volvo found much inspiration in this Toyota. The U.S. Volvo’s with quad sealed beams of the 70’s look a lot like this.
When I was looking at the thumbnail picture of this car, my first thought was “what a cool old Volvo!”
People posting comments who grew up in the Midwest during the ‘60s & ‘70s seem to have limited exposure to foreign cars, especially ones from Japan.
I grew up in the Berkeley of the Midwest, Madison Wisconsin, which is probably why I had more exposure to Japanese cars. As mentioned, my older brother had this generation Corona. The people who lived across the street from us got a Datsun 510 around the time of the ‘73 OPEC embargo when my dad bought a new ‘75 VW Rabbit. My best friend, who’s dad only own Peugeots had a used ‘73 Corolla, his neighbor had a ‘73 Datsun 1200 (both the Toyota and Datsun ignition keys were interchangeable). Ugly ‘70s Subaru 1400-1600s (Leone) we’re common place in Madison. I also recall the popularity of Honda’s Civic, Accord and later Prelude. I think midwestern college towns (except Ann Arbor & Lansing) probably had almost as many Japanese cars as the West & East Coasts.
My sister had a 68 or 69 model like this with a 4 speed. No complaints at all. Excellent car for her.
This sure is “The car that ate Detroit” as so many people had very positive experiences and never looked at American cars again.
I had one, a ’68 or ’69, in the late-70s. A four door/four speed, I only had it for a few months. It ran fine but one odd thing about it was a 110v outlet in the glove box labeled for shaver use. It was factory not an add-on.
Not 110v, but 12v outlet. Small droplight available @ dealer. May have come in tool kit of original car.
The headlight scoops indicate that this example is a 1966. It would have either the 3-speed column shift or 2-speed Toyoglide.
These had hornring as turn signal switch, aluminum dashboard, bench seat, turn signal flasher made wind-up noise when first activated. Also had Alfin front drum brakes.
I really like this series!
I don’t recall ever seeing one of these in the metal.
I didn’t even know what it’s name was until I read the comments, though it looked like a Toyota to me.
I wonder what “Deluxe” meant. Was it like “Custom” on Ford pickups, meaning basic?
Probably was deluxe compared to it’s American competition. (or lack thereof)
Japanese cars seemed to rust out even quicker than American cars in Northwest Indiana, so that may be part of why they were so rare here.
I like it though it may be the most style-free car I’ve ever seen.
All Deluxe for USA market. RT43LV-A USA versions had 1900cc engine from Toyota truck or bus. Standard engine for other markets was 1500cc.
My Dad got a used ’68 deluxe with toyoglide Auto around 1976. I took my driving test in it since it was a breeze to parallel park. Ad’s said it had a top speed of 90mph but with a 2speed auto neither me nor my brothers got anywhere near there. Ours was a weird pale green
I think most of them were that colour!
Excellent pictures, and a nice find! I’m still on the lookout for one of these: I have found a ’71 Corona and a couple of the later ones, but haven’t yet turned one of these earlier models up. That truly is a face only a mother could love, though: makes a Volvo look downright Italian.
I’m also liking this series, and it’s reminding me of one of my favorite websites: Old Parked Cars, which was chock-full of amazing finds, presented with minimal to no commentary, almost exactly like this. A Corona is exactly the type of car they’d have, too: makes sense given that OPC was predominantly Portland-centered, which is where this car is (was?) as well. Sadly, OPC seems to have gone the way of too many quality internet blogs, but it was my major inspiration early on in my own carspotting hunt, and I don’t know that I would have continued if not for its presence. So thanks for this series, which is keeping up that spirit for me.
RT40 Corona very rare here on gods green island now and not terribly common when new, Popular in the land of OZ there were plenty about in southern Tasmania before I left including a Kiwi woman who had a genuine ute model and in regular use too not just a lawn ornament.
I learnt to drive in a Datsun 120B. Can’t compare the driving experience with UK cars, but the fit and finish of this Japanese car put the British manufacturers to shame. Supplied at no extra cost was carpets, radio, clock, padded material all round and a heater; all items that were ‘extra’ if you wanted a UK car.
I’ve just sent my W124 to the scrapyard and found a cheapie Honda Accord LX saloon 2009 as my new driver. It’s a dream to drive and shows very little wear for its’ 100,000 Km on the clock. The Japanese have one charming, old world rule that is foremost in their manufacturing philosophy. Give the customer the best product they can produce. Bravo to them!
When high school graduation appeared to actually be happening; a close friend of mine was gifted a new ’72 Corona 2 door hardtop, red, 4 speed manual with “factory” air conditioning.
Having experienced the “joys” of various air conditioned foreign cars of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s here in Hot & Humid New Orleans; the freezing c-c-cold A/C that didn’t overheat or bog down the engine and it’s buttery smooth, “snick snick” smooth sifting transmission was a revelation!
I’ve seen one in the metal in 3-40 years, aya car show last summer.
Back in the day, this was for early adopters who had tired of BMC/Rootes/Vauxhall/Ford Europe mediocrity, unreliability and spares equipment, and whose dealer had perhaps been ejected by the BMC/BLMC combination and shuffling.
Stlye wise, it could almost pass as a Lancia. Complements come little higher than that.
Hey, it is a Corona, neat! Thanks for sharing these photos and now I will have to see if I can find it around town.
Saw one of these at a car show once.
My mom had one of these, a 1970 bought used in 1973. It was kind of a turquoise colour and had the two speed Toyoglide.
It was good car for a year, until my brother got his licence and ran the bag off of it. He wrecked it soon enough, but only after he’d destroyed the motor be over-revvinng it.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are a well remembered sight, not uncommon then but but rare nowadays. They were the first Japanese cars that I remember as having a dose of style.
I saw a few of these in the late 60’s and in the 70’s. I recall reading a road test about one in a late 1965 issue of Car Life. I remember the author was very impressed with the vehicles overall quality. If I remember correctly, he likened it to a sumo wrestler who was ready to pin his opponent on the mat. And if you look at the events that
transpired, that was exactly what happened.
These were all over the place in Australia. It took very few years for the Corona to make huge inroads into the smallish-sedan market. They had a very distinct exhaust note at idle, with a distinct chug-chug-chug. I always felt the early front end treatment as shown on this one looked a bit gawky with those huge rectangular headlight surrounds and cheaply-pressed metal grille, and those taillamps were a bit untidy with round reflectors when everything else was squared up. It didn’t take long before these aesthetic barbs were smoothed off, and they became even more popular.
While I’m not fan, a mate had one. He killed it. Eventually. After beach trips, fording creeks deep enough to have water at the base of the windshield. It was a tough little car
I had the next model RT80 a good car for what it was, it wasnt fast did not handle well didnt break down often it was quite economical being only 1600cc, Ive driven worse cars,
The stolid precursor of a tsunami of mediocrity.
A friend of mine I think mentioned that he tore down the engine on one of these, think he said it had chrome rings.
He had a few Toyotas himself…his wife bought a ’79 pickup new. When he left town (moved away) I think he basically left the car on the side of the road…he didn’t want it anymore (this would have been about 1997) and it served him in lieu of a rental car the last few weeks he was in town. Pretty sure it still ran fine, but it had been hail damaged, etc…but cheap wheels. When his ’82 Accord was in an acccident and totaled, he picked up a ’82 Celica Coupe with only 23000 miles on it (this would have been about 1989) and had that a long time (it did leave town unlike the pickup)…I never heard what happened to it, but I’m guessing he had a lot of miles on it by the time he parted with it.
I’ve never owned a Toyota (nor a Honda)….my family was into Datsun/Nissans, I had a 710 back in the 70’s and my 2 youngest sisters have owned a total of 4 200/240SX cars…but I’ve driven several of them during my stint as a transporter for Hertz (albeit that was 41 years ago).
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