All Original: 1970 Toyota Corona Deluxe

1970 Toyota Corona Deluxe

I had been skeptical of the “goodness” of Toyotas until recently. No cars can be that reliable and that undemanding, right? Or at least that’s what I thought, but I’ve been proven wrong as two very-high mileage (230k+) Camrys have entered our extended family fleet and they just keep going on and on and on, so I’m a convert now. Toyota’s long heritage of quality and value was built on cars like this one, providing basic, no-frills transportation for many years without complaining or breaking down. This pristine example actually hasn’t done that much transporting, as it only has 37,000 miles! The Corona is located in Brentwood, California and is up for auction here on eBay with a reserve and a buy-it-now of $7,500.

1970 Toyota Corona Sedan

I can just imagine the mom, dad and two kids piling into this one for outings. With a completely conventional front engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, solid rear axle on leaf springs and a four-speed manual transmission, there was nothing exotic to go wrong. And by this point, Toyota had been making the car for quite a while. Given that this one was built one month before the end of production, you can bet they had manufacturing this version down to a science.

1970 Toyota Corona Interior

I find the originality of this car amazing! Who doesn’t pull the protective plastic off the door panels and sun visors when they buy a car (if the dealer hasn’t done it for you)? I’m guessing the warped dash top is from heat deterioration of the foam over the years, but a little searching online found a company that had refurbished ones and other parts. And here’s a sales brochure on eBay detailing the Corona models for your car show display. The seller mentions one small rip in the driver’s side bottom cushion; I hope it can be repaired.

1970 Toyota Corona Engine

While the engine compartment isn’t quite as sanitary as the rest of the car, a new battery adds a bit of color. The seller assures that the car runs and drives great. New brakes and a tune up should have overcome at least some of the effects of its 15-year garage slumber, and the original white paint shines enough in pictures to show very clear reflections.

Blue Plate Toyota Corona

Apart from what look like tiny pits in the top of the taillight brightwork, the chrome looks great as well. The seller claims that the dealer plate frame is original as well, although it looks like Benny’s Toyota of Sanger is no longer in business.

1970 Toyota Corona Survivor

After dealing with the problems I’ve had recently from my classic fleet, the idea of having a classic Toyota has its appeal, especially considering how reliable the two Camrys have been. Anyone out there interested in a classic that doesn’t give them problems?

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Comments

  1. Mike O'Handley

    I know those cars well. As a just-out-of-highschool and freshly-minted trade-school-trained mechanic I went to work for a Chrysler/Toyota dealer in January of 1970. I wanted to work on the mopars but the service manager said he wasn’t allowing any wet-behind-the-ears kid to work on those expensive cars and he sentenced me to work on the Toyotas.

    I was bummed at first. I figured the Japanese cars were junk. Within two weeks I was converted. Within a year I knew Toyotas better than anyone else in that shop and within two years I’d gained a reputation as a master at Toyotas and was hired away by another Toyota dealer that offered me more money – a lot more – to go work for him. Over the next four years I changed employers four more times as different dealers offered me more money and I became a Toyota guy for life. I left the mechanic profession in 1975 but never stopped loving Toyotas.

    That little 3RC engine will have a cranky automatic choke, and the car’s drum brakes won’t stop it very quickly compared to newer cars we’re now accustomed to driving, but it will be a solid and reliable driver for a lot of years to come if they continue to take care of it.

    1
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Nice story, Mike! Thanks for sharing!

  2. boxdin

    Nice condition, but at the time it was either these or Datsun 510. No comparison the Datsun won hands down and in a similar situation would sell for at least twice as much. Btw the japanese hero Katayama or ?? just died this week at age of 103 or something like that. He put Datsun on the map and also Datsun Competition whom I bought many parts from and still have one of their catalogues.
    How many Toyota Corona Deluxe’s have you seen racing?
    All due respect to the Toyota Nuts you are right the early ones were nearly indestructible. Now they’re just another car.

    • DT

      How many 1200’s and 510’s do you see in this kind of condition still?

    • karu

      Datsun’s of this era tended to rust quickly, especially in salt/snow states.

  3. jim s

    this will bring the money, i think. i am not sure it will stay state side but someone is going to get a nice car. i hope they drive it. great find

  4. RickyM

    Great find. I like the old 60’s and 70’s Japanese cars and this one looks a good car. Hope the new owner drives it and enjoys it.

    • Julio Varon, Realtor

      I am Driving and Enjoying this car now.
      The 1969 model was my wife’s first car, and we have been looking for her since 1985. Glad we bought it.

      • Josh Mortensen Josh Staff

        That’s awesome Julio! Please send us some updated photos. Congratulations and keep us updated on life with your Corona!
        Josh

      • Tirefriar

        Good for you Julio. Tells us adore about the car if you don’t mid. What’s the story with plastic on door trims?

  5. fred

    I remember as a teenager thinking this car has similar lines to the Rolls Silver Shadow. I wanted to take one of those Rolls grilles they made for Beetles, graft it on and paint it tu-tone, and have a “mini Rolls”. Crazy I know but I still see the resemblance.

  6. fred

    Silver Shadow

    • Tirefriar

      Fred, you know what else is crazy? These two cars are worth about the same amount of money :-))

  7. Woodie Man

    Back in the mid seventies these were all over Berkeley California, In fact I had a blue one. I paid seven hundred dollars for it. Great little car. $7500.00? I dont thik so

  8. Tirefriar

    A gril i was dating in the late 80’s bought one – same color exterior, black interior but with an auto. I never could warm up to the auto but it served her fine. She ended up selling it to get a VW Fox…

    If this car is as solid as described its a very good deal. Excellent starter car for someone getting into vintage cars. It makes a great daily driver while can be taken to weekend shows. Japanese vintage can easily stand on its own as exemplified by 240Z, 510, etc. I won’t even mention the 2000 GT. Just a cool daily driver and it doesn’t take up all that much space in the garage. I say “Buy”

  9. Kenny

    My very first car was a 1966 Toyota Corona. Silver / gray color that my dad bought for me at a farm auction for $90 back in 1982. I drove the snot out of that thing for about a year. One day while I was checking something something under the hood (while it was running) it popped out of park and into reverse. It continued going backwards until it hit a railroad tie fence and ripped the rear axle off the car.

  10. RM

    Damn I’m certain I spotted that car late 2011 while house hunting when I moved to LA. Was sitting on a side street dusty and unloved.

  11. Paul B

    This car along with the Datsun 411 and 510 fired the big initial warning shots across Detroit’s — and Volkswagen’s — collective bow in the U.S. And all those big guys didn’t get it. I love these Coronas, especially with the 4-speed (earlier ones had three-on-the-column, about as boring as you could get). Spare and slightly weird styling, comfortable, and reliable as the decades were long. I agree with the Datsun-lovers that the 510 beats this Corona as a fun, stylish and roomy sports sedan at a minuscule price; I drove a friend’s brand new 510 4-speed in 1970 and immediately wanted one. But Toyota kept at the reliability thing and kept increasing the solidity of its products as Nissan built increasingly cheesy, tinny and bizarre-looking cars. That’s just my opinion, I know, but I watched it happen from the perch of my Saab 96 until I finally one day in the 1970s I realized that the Japanese — and Toyota most of all — really had done something major: proved that a small economical car did not have to be a perpetual high-maintenance car. I’ve owned several Toyotas since then, including Tercel wagons; a truck; and a Camry for more than 20 years. Every time I see one of these old Coronas — a rare sight today indeed — I think of this big unfolding story. Sports cars they certainly are not, but they deserve respect for transforming the paradigm in the marketplace. Someone snap this up please and treat it really, really well!

  12. JTNC

    My second car (after a 65 VW Beetle) was a slightly used 69 Corona coupe 4-speed I purchased from a Toyota dealer in NJ in 1970. The pillarless coupe had a little extra dose of glamor that set it apart from other econoboxes of the era. Compared to the Beetle it was downright luxurious and thunderously powerful! I don’t fully agree with the two commenters who assert the Datsun 510 was clearly superior. A good friend had a 71? 510 2-door at the same time. It’s been a long time, but my memory is that while the 510 had less understeer and a sportier chassis, the Corona had more power, a far better finished interior with higher quality materials, and a general feeling of quality and solidity. Both cars had their virtues, and I liked the 510 too, but I think the Corona was competitive or superior in many respects. Bonhams sold an ex-Martin Swig Corona coupe (w/Toyoglide — ugh) for $10K at their Scottsdale auction

  13. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Here’s another one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/201296804955

    Not quite as nice, but will probably go for less…

    1
  14. bruce R. Colbert

    When you gonna fix the ‘ 57 chevy link ?

  15. Dave

    Nice buy Julio! for you and anyone else here that likes these cars, check out this FB just for these old girls. Lots of great guys/girls and info on there.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/ShovelnoseCoronaRestorers/

  16. Pete

    There is a 1970 Corona 2 door on ebay under Toyota “Other”

  17. Car Nut Seattle

    Sweet looking Corona. I hope it went to a good owner, someone who will take care of it, while also enjoying driving it. :)

  18. Car Nut Tacoma

    I had a neighbour who had one when I was a boy. I remember it was the same colour as this, white. It wasn’t as nice as this, but it wasn’t bad.

  19. Glenn

    When I was a boy we had one of the first Toyota dealers in the UK at the end of our road . He had two brand new Coronas and all the doors , dash etc. had plastic wrapping . They had radio’s , metallic paint and tinted blue windows which was very rare on British cars .This was 1966 /1967.

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