4-speed, 6-cylinder: ’70 Toyota Crown

If you had told me this rough-looking Toyota Crown wagon was packing a six-cylinder, four-speed  combination, I would have cast some serious doubt your way! But a quick reference on some Toyota forums confirms that this Crown could indeed be spec’d with a 2.0L “M” six-cylinder, so this once-proud wagon would likely be a fine tourer if restored. You’ll find it here on craigslist for just $1,200. 

While certainly in need of some cosmetic lovin’, this Crown wagon looks like it’s fairly solid underneath. I know it’s impossible to tell from some craigslist photos, but I don’t see any major rot – just surface-level corrosion. That’s the biggest nemesis of Toyotas of this generation: the tin worm. Thankfully, this one is in California, so perhaps it has survived without too much rot present.

These days, if you say the words “wagon” and “manual transmission,” most gearheads will immediately think of the monstrous Cadillac CTS-V wagon, or the Audi RS4 and RS6. I’m not saying this Crown is anything approaching a hot rod, but you have to admit: an estate body with a manual transmission, six cylinder and rear-wheel drive sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Despite how rough it appears outside, the interior appears to be salvageable.

The Toyota hasn’t been registered in nearly 30 years, according to the seller, so you will have your work cut out for you. Some extra doors are included, which tells me given the lack of rot, this car may have been hit once or twice in its life (certainly the beauty marks on the rear quarter are good clues). I think this Toyota deserves to be saved and entered into the next Japanese Nostalgic Car show. What do you think – was this the poor man’s shooting brake?

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Comments

  1. angliagt

    I drove one of these when it was a few years old
    One of the most boring vehicles that I’ve ever driven.
    Pass.

  2. Danger Dan

    This baby was $200bucks 2 weeks ago. I left it behind. It’s a grunion: Grubby and smells like onion funk.

  3. Wayne Thomas

    I’m not saying this Crown is anything approaching a hot rod, but you have to admit:…..

    2JZ swap and yes…..yes you are right at hot rod.

  4. Howard A Member

    It’s kind of a shame, I think this was like, the top of the line for Toyota in 1970. It was just a small Asian wagon to us, but I bet it was quite a car to have in Japan. There’s probably 4 people in the country that would want this, and one is a writer for BF’s. Looks like it was meant to compete with a Volvo 164, and is that a dual action tailgate? I thought Ford had the patent on that. Same thing, if this was in nice shape, and I’m sure there is one somewhere, it would be a great car, but this clearly was just someone’s beater, and off to the scrap yard it goes.

  5. jaygryph

    Interesting car, very Wagoneer / early Volvo wagon lookin’ in design. That tailgate is interesting as well if it behaves like the one installed on the Ford wagons.

    People can say what they want about these cars, but the Japanese imports are going up in value. My early Toyota pickups have steadily been picking up in price and parts sales for them have been increasing.

    The vocal faction of the car fandom that says these have no value forgets that the interest in a particular generation of vehicles is a rolling date. Things go up in value when the people who grew up with them are old enough to feel nostalgic for them and are able to pick them up the cars they remember, and that their friends and family had when they were kids.

    It happens to every generation of car enthusiast thus far, and will continue to happen till cars are no more.

    Look at what the prices of brass era cars, and early teens cars have done. They were all the rage in the 80’s and early 90’s, and now days you see very few T’s and brass cars, and you can buy very nice examples for reasonable money.

    Currently on Craigslist you can find clean early 50’s drivers and hotrods for reasonable money, and even the mid 50’s cars like 57 Chevrolets and such are starting to drop in price. Sure, prime examples will still be big money, but the run of the mill drivers and hotrods are starting to feel pretty dated and are dropping off the map and going into long term storage as the owners age and die off and new performance technology replaces comparatively crude ‘old’ hop up parts. Often their kids don’t want them and they toss them up for sale with little regard for time and money spent on the vehicles when they were restored by their previous owner.

    Scream bloody murder all you want, but the 70s and 80s vehicles will keep going up in price as people are priced out of the still popular 60s muscle cars and hotrods. Check out what clean restored late 60s pickups are going for for an idea of this market. I’m seeing a lot of trucks I wouldn’t have paid $300 for a decade ago fetching thousands of dollars.

    So yeah, this wagon is beat, and probably a rough start for a restoration, but to say that this is not worth it to anyone, or only a few people, is probably not correct. At $1200, it’s a good parts car if nothing else for a straighter wagon, since these parts are rather hard to find.

    It’s uncomfortable for most people to think about, but eventually the things you like will not be as popular as they once were, and the value of things that you are used to will move on from it’s peak. You can either move along with the market, or you can be that guy on craigslist with the purple, all chrome painted, hounds tooth interior, billet steering wheel, 350 powered, Heartbeat of America air brushed, 90s prostreet car wanting exactly what was spent on the car in 1994. If you still love it, and drive it, good for you. Fly whatever flag makes your little bunny hop, but do so because YOU enjoy it.

    If this car and ones like it are your jam, go for it. Buy it now while it’s ‘cheap’ so you don’t get priced out when you do decide you want to relive your childhood (looking at you, muscle car fans). Enjoy it in the now, because most likely your kids won’t want it when you die, and the market will have again moved ahead, as markets do.

    • That Guy

      Well said.

    • Jason

      Volvo? I was thinking more of a Japanese Mercedes-Benz.

      • jaygryph

        Considering what else was coming out of Japan at that time, that’s a pretty ornate and luxury based car. The trucks (of which I’m a huge fan) are very very basic (though that makes them fun to tinker with).

  6. Marv G

    As a kid I rode in the back of a 69 Toyota Crown wagon for many miles. Dad traded in a Peugeot 404 for it. In fact I still have the literature with the prices written in. This one is too tough for me but if a good one came along at the right price I’d have interest…. The cost of upkeep was high enough that it was cheaper to run large American cars, at least in Dad’s experience.

  7. Chebby

    The BaT boys featured the same car in much nicer shape, abet with a crazy price:

    http://tucson.craigslist.org/cto/5901111429.html

  8. Jason

    Never mind making a hot rod out of the car. How about resto-modding it? Restore as much of the Crown to as original as possible, while also upgrading a few things as well.

  9. CliffG

    I had a Crown sedan back in the mid-70’s, don’t remember exactly when though. my friends referred to it as “the limo” because of the back seat space, based on the Crown being the most-used for a taxi in Japan. I have to replace the water pump and Toyota would not separate the old one from the viscous drive fan housing, I had to use physics to separate the pieces, then the 4 speed tranny bearings started to go. i warned the buyer but never saw it again.

  10. Pappy2d

    Jaygryph, T buckets are another example of your well stated point. Most of that crowd has aged out. Can’t give them away.

    • jaygryph

      People want big money for them still. I see some of the same cars year after year at the swapmeets. They’re neat to me nowdays but coming of age in the car fandom they really just were not my thing.

      It seems like if one is secure in what one likes, you can simply wait till a style falls out of favor and pick up fun neat things on a budget. If you’ve got to be a trend setter, get out your wallet, but for the average guy, the old hotrods are the ones that will soon, or already are, in barns to be rediscovered, but this time around it will be 70s, 80s, and 90s refresh hotrods that grandpa is too old to drive.

      • Jason

        I imagine. I’d buy a Toyota Crown if I could find a decent model to drive. It doesn’t have to be perfect in terms of appearance. I don’t mind patina, as long as there are no rust holes into the rest of the car. What matters to me is how well it runs and how safe it is to drive. :)

  11. John C.

    Good comment about Toyotas going up in value. My Tacoma 4wd pickup is still pretty much worth what I paid for it (at 100k mile) and now it has 200k miles! People stop me all the time wanting to buy it, of course it doesn’t hurt that I keep it in great shape. Toyota was ahead of it’s time with some of it’s features back in the day.

  12. Jason

    I agree. Condition is *everything.* I don’t mind patina as long as it doesn’t penetrate into the rest of the car, and as long as *everything* on the car works like it should.

  13. Jason

    @ jaygryph: I agree. I’ve owned and driven Toyota trucks of the 70s. My dad had a 1978 Toyota SR5 pickup truck. Even in SR5 trim, it was as basic as one could get. The only options one could get if one wanted were an AM/FM radio, and a 5 spd. manual shifting transmission or a Toyoglide automatic transmission. It may not have been the most comfortable truck to ride in, but there was plenty of head room and leg room. I also appreciated the 2.2 litre 20R 4 cylinder engine. It provided all the power and torque the truck needed for whatever job it needed to do. :)

    • jaygryph

      Yeah, those trucks are a lot of fun. I’ve been collecting oddball parts for them for years. Sooner or later I’ll get around to building a 20R with dual side hung mikuni carbs, a finned aluminum oil pan, header, and some other trick stuff I’ve gathered over the years. It still won’t be a hotrod, but it’ll be hotter than what the trucks came with.

      I mean, where’s the fun of a small motor if you can’t make it get worse mpg than a big block while making far less torque. Ha.

      I’m probably going to be liquidating all my parts and trucks in the nearish future, in case anyone wants to buy several truckloads of parts, a bunch of engines and transmissions, and a couple pickups. Probably run the monster truck on here when I get it running and go to sell it.

      Those 20Rs are neat little engines. Always get about 18 mpg, loaded or empty and they just keep on trucking. A light short wheel base small pickup and 4 or 5 speed, they’re remarkably fun little vehicles.

      the SR5’s are uncommon, and really it was just some small interior changes that made those different. Super hard to find nice dash pads for those things these days. Would be nice if someone would reproduce those. I’d buy a couple.

      • Car Nut Seattle

        @ I totally agree. And most Toyota trucks had 4 spd manual transmission. Fuel economy wasn’t horrible considering what it was powering and what it was used for.

  14. Woodie Man

    Early seventy plate probably came with the car originally. Typical early Japanese import for the Bay area. Berkeley was once crawling with Toyotas. Seemed like every block had a bunch. Might be worth saving as long as you wanted to spend some money. Glad I live way south or I’d be tempted just because you can row your own gears…, its a wagon and a six. Whats not to like!

  15. Jubjub

    These are cool. The 68-69 has a more interesting front end. Really too rough to restore…but…it represents a beater with earned scars from a bygone era. And that’s not all bad. I would appreciate seeing this out in the wild as is, mechanically freshened up and minus the trailer wheel on back.

    Had an ’81 SR5 pickup. Was a neat truck. Was approaching 25 years old when I sold it and in very decent shape. The SR5 extras were cool and it had the funky white and blue two tone with the stripes running along the lower belt line and up the cab corner. Hoped someone would buy it and preserve it but the buyer trashed it after a year or so. It was very picked over when I last saw it.

  16. Jerrid

    How do i get a hold of who has this car I’m very interested in it.I’m actually looking for two 69 crowns if anyone has any leads. TIA

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