BF Auction: 1969 Toyota Corona

Sold for $3,369View Result

UPDATE – The seller sent us photos of the trunk and underside of the car, which you can see in the gallery below.

Cars like the 1969 Toyota Corona made an important contribution to the American automobile manufacturing sector. The level of fit and finish of these Japanese imports motivated domestic manufacturers to consider the subject of quality seriously, and buyers were the beneficiaries of this approach. This Corona is a two-owner classic that could easily be a straightforward restoration or a candidate for preservation as an original survivor. It has a few needs, but these appear to be minor issues the new owner could address in a home workshop. If a great little Japanese classic has been on your radar, the seller has listed the Toyota exclusively here at Barn Finds Auctions.

The original owner purchased this Solar Red Corona specifically as a grocery-getter and for her weekly trip to church. It served her well until she decided to park it in the 1980s. It remained in hibernation until the current owner revived it in 2012. He planned a thorough restoration to recapture the car’s glory days but changed plans meant the project went on hold. He named the Toyota Elsie after his great-grandmother, who drove a similar vehicle. This Elsie is a solid little car with no significant rust or panel bruises. It would benefit from a repaint, but it would be worth buffing and polishing the existing finish to see how it responded. It might revive well if the buyer chooses the preservation pathway. Otherwise, a cosmetic refresh should be straightforward and inexpensive. The chrome and trim are in good order, with the damage-prone hubcaps appearing spotless. There are no glass issues, meaning the new owner could enjoy this gem without breaking the bank.

Powering this Corona is the 1.9-liter 3R-C four-cylinder engine that sent 79hp to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. The power output might sound modest, but with only around 2,000 lbs to shift, these little cars are surprisingly peppy performers. They are unlikely to win a “Traffic Light Grand Prix,” but they will cruise all day at highway speeds while sipping delicately from their fuel tank. This Corona has 80,000 miles showing on its odometer, but the seller admits it is inoperative. They feel the reading is probably close to the mark, and the Corona’s overall condition supports that belief. When he purchased the car in 2012, it had sat for around three decades. He worked through the revival process by cleaning and relining the fuel tank, having an experienced person rebuild the carburetor, and replacing the muffler and tires. If you throw in new plugs, plug wires, a distributor, brake cylinders, a water pump, a pitman arm, other steering components, and a recored radiator, that eliminated most of the issues. The seller enjoyed the roadworthy classic, clocking 1,200 miles behind the wheel, which revealed that it ran and drove well. It last saw active service in 2016 and will require some TLC to return to the road. The engine turns, but there is no spark. This could be a faulty coil, but I think there might also be a fuse in the ignition system that causes the same issue when it blows. Either way, it shouldn’t be difficult or expensive to fix. The clutch requires pumping to operate, suggesting a hydraulic fault. The seller includes new master and slave cylinders, which will probably eliminate the problem. He also feels the little four would benefit from a top-end rebuild, but performing that in a home workshop would be a rewarding task. Otherwise, they include additional parts and manuals to allow the winning bidder to be hands-on with this classic.

This Corona has a few interior shortcomings but nothing requiring immediate attention or a bottomless pit of cash. The seat upholstery shows little wear, but there are a couple of repairable seam separations. The headliner is tidy, with a single small hole that is a candidate for a blind patch. The floors would benefit from a new carpet set, while the dash pad has succumbed to harsh UV rays. The carpet won’t pose a challenge because a complete set is readily available for under $300.00. The pad may prove more difficult, but not impossible. These little classics can often be found at a pick-a-part, which might provide the ideal solution. Otherwise, patient online searching and a dash mat may be the short-term answer. The door trims are slightly wrinkled, but they would stretch into place with little effort. Overall, the interior is tidy and shouldn’t take much time or money to lift its appearance significantly.

If you’re like me, you will find it hard not to like this 1969 Toyota Corona. Its styling is crisp and clean, and this one is a solid classic with no pressing panel or paint needs. The car is dripping with character, making it easy to understand why the owner gave it a name and why he found the decision to part with it difficult. It might be an ideal candidate for a parent to tackle with their son or daughter, and the finished product would be a car that couldn’t help but attract attention wherever it goes. The Corona may not possess the cachet of a classic pony or muscle car, but that makes it no less worthy of preservation. Are you up for the challenge of tackling this affordable restoration project?

  • Location: Portland, Oregon
  • Mileage: 80,479 Shown
  • Engine: 1.9 Liter 3R
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

Sold for: $3,369
Register To Bid
Ended: Mar 7, 2023 10:03am MDT
Winner: toycar
  • Avatar photo
    bid $3,369.00  2023-03-07 09:59:05
  • Avatar photo
    Rfoldy56 bid $3,200.00  2023-03-06 19:13:35
  • Avatar photo
    toycar bid $2,969.00  2023-03-05 12:48:56
  • Avatar photo
    bid $2,069.00  2023-03-05 12:32:24
  • Avatar photo
    toycar bid $1,969.00  2023-03-02 09:13:35
  • Avatar photo
    MoToRcars bid $888.00  2023-03-02 08:30:14
  • Avatar photo
    bid $655.00  2023-02-28 06:37:55
  • Avatar photo
    toycar bid $100.00  2023-02-27 10:23:06


  1. Avatar photo TheOldRanger

    The steering wheel looks like a spare tire !

    Like 11
    • Avatar photo Little_Cars Member

      It’s a bike tire. This car brings back memories. I had a 70 sedan, same color. Quite a beater by the time I got it.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo BrettK

        It’s an aftermarket accessory steering wheel cover. Vintage just like the car.

        Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Jim

    I have a 1998 Toyota Camry with 75000 miles on it. It will run forever. Toyota always been ahead with small cars technology.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo

      Can say that about many Japanese cars, Jim, or any car really … I sold Toyota and Datsun/Nissan for the better part of thirty years, with a spattering of Porsche, Audi, BMW thrown in … the only difference between Toyota and Nissan is marketing, of which Toyota is king, and price, with Toyota again king and overpriced … Nissan fit and finish on some models (Camry vs Altima) was better … I gave my daughter my ’94 240 SX SE Convertible when she graduated Navy boot camp, with 288k miles in 2004 … she drove it another 100k or so before hydroplaning into a guard rail in NC – no one hurt … any car (my ’78 Mark V had over 200k) will last with proper maintenance (I always did 3k oil changes), so in my selling experience, Toyota is no better than Mazda or Subaru, or even Daewoo (1980s” Pontiac Lemans”), when properly maintined …Toyota models, imho, are overpriced based mainly on advertising, and the continuing masterpiece of the “oh what a feeling” campaign of yesteryear … marketing in the auto industry is like “location” in real estate and it is there that Toyota excels …

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Little_Cars Member

        I was told Daewoo manufactured my 2012 Chevrolet Sonic. One of the best little cars I’ve owned in recent memory…a “hot hatch.” Only thing I was disappointed in was the upholstery fabrics designed to look cool. Nothing cooler than the tartan of my VW GTI!

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Brad460 Member

        Jon, you are right on the money. I’ve got a number of 70s and 80s American and Japanese classics and from what I’ve seen they all had their good and weak points. My Toyotas were very well assembled, but material quality particularly the steel, plastics, and fabrics couldn’t hold a candle to my American stuff of similar vintage.

        As you mention, their marketing was pure genious. It accentuated their positives to the max, glossed over any negatives, and made people WANT to be seen in something new, different, and slightly exotic for that time period, all without breaking the bank. That customer perception allowed Toyota, and Honda to some extent as well to price their product relatively high and people would pay it!

        The two I compare most are my 84 Toyota pickup and my 84 Ford Ranger. The toyota was marketed as tough, stylish, new, and the best. And it some ways it is. By contrast the ranger in reality is actually much tougher in terms of frame, body structure, steel quality, interior, etc., but the perception was the opposite. When I climb underneath and just look how each is made, the Ford is way beefier, but ask anyone at the time and they’d say the opposite was true. Its amazing how a good marketing campaign can work!

        Obviously the big difference was in the powerplant department. Toyota engines of that era were pretty much the benchmark for 4 cylinders and the Ford and GM 4 cylinders of that time seemed to be 30 years behind, and barely qualified as acceptable.

        Like 0
  3. Avatar photo BigBlocksRock

    Mom had a 69, in white.
    Super simple to work on. Won’t take much to get it roadworthy.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Mark E. Edmiston

      My mom had a ’67…
      I had a ’67 Corolla…
      Both sound cars we got brand new.

      Like 2
  4. Avatar photo DCasey

    I wish it wasn’t so far away.

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Looks like a nice car to drive. I had a neighbour when I was a boy who had a late 60s Toyota Corona. I was way too young to drive a car at the time, but I remember finding the car quite attractive. I hope whoever buys this car can clean it up and enjoy it.

    Like 5
  6. Avatar photo charlie Member

    ALMOST bought one, in the early ’70’s, ran like a top, but tinworm was working on it, and the body’s life expectancy was not great.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Jim Muise

    Overpriced! I had a friend who had a large Toyota dealer ship in the 1970s and he said he replaced many front fenders on new never sold Toyota products because the fenders would rust before he could sell the car. Toyota refused to help him financially with the replacement fenders. I bought one new 1996 Tercel and kept it for 2 years. It spent a lot of its life in the repair shop. It was the worst car I ever owned!

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Little_Cars Member

      I got my 1970 red Corona sedan used in 1980. By that time, this ten year old had already rusted through the footwells for the driver as well as the back floorboards.

      Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Russ

    These were the taxicabs of choice when I was in Tokyo in 1968 and I was very impressed with them; so smooth running and solid. I was used to USA rattletraps that sucked gasoline faster then, well you know. Was not surprised in the least when they took over our domestic markets of Vegas and Pintos. The rest is history.

    Like 5
  9. Avatar photo James Petropulos

    My future wife had one…… same color, when I came out to Los Angeles January 1970 after my last year in the Army. We kept it going through the ’70s, had Toyota rebuild the engine once, (same 3RC). Later in the 1980’s when I thought to myself we never had a problem with the transmission. That same day, after 19 years it wouldn’t go into reverse. We traded it in for an ’84 Ford LTD station wagon, cuz we needed a bigger car by then.

    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Bob19116

    I had a friend back in late 1970’s whose mother got a used one. Within a few months she had a fender bender and due to its age, it was declared totaled. I asked him to find out if I could buy it as the accident was not disabling, just a crunched fender and headlights. Apparently insurance would not allow it. At the time I had an AMC Gremlin and liked small cars and this was a 4 door sedan shrunk by a third over other smaller American 4 doors. I’m pretty sure it had a 2 speed automatic transmission. That must have been great at acceleration, not.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Little_Cars Member

      That may have been mine, Bob19116, if you were in the Washington DC area! My 1970 had a folded hood and no front bumper, along with broken grille and a couple headlights. Bungee cord fixed the accordion hood! Another neighbor had one like this 1969 that he put varnished wood bumpers on fore and aft. Delivered newspapers that way! Funny too, my NEXT car after the Corona sedan was an AMC Gremlin. Another insurance vehicle sideswiped on the passenger side.

      Like 1
  11. Avatar photo Glenn Schwass Member

    Great car and especially the dash. I had a friend with a 71 or 72 that we had the burnt valves fixed in and learned about timing and overhead cams.( we were way off and it backfired out the carb. Had to get a shop to figure it out). Except for fender rust, it was a great car. The pinkish paint would have to go…

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo Mountainwoodie

    First car I bought in California in 1978 was a blue Corona. I paid 700 bucks it.ran like a bat out of hell. Berkeley was lousy with these………they were everywhere. Given that California got the Japanese cars before the East Coast back in the day, not surprising.

    Happy its in Portland.or else……………

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Mark-A

    Absolutely 💚 it & the start of dependable Family Transport (which Toyota is STILL known for) another good thing about most cars of this age only required a “basic toolkit” which contains a couple of screwdrivers & a hammer but the best part is that almost anyone can fix it (if it actually breaks down, which takes it full circle back to Toyota’s reliability)

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Davey Boy

    Had a 77 wagon. Sported the sturdy 22R with a 5 spd. That car was the most fun on the dirt roads of southern Utah. My friend and I was drifting way before it was cool. :-). Peppy lil thing!!!!!!

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo AMCFAN

    Looks like a fun project. I have seen a few at import events and look pretty impressive cambers and stanced. Really gets everyone’s attention.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo

    Guy with whom I worked at a Nissan dealership bought a ’78 Corona we got in trade in 1996 … a short while later it developed an exhaust header leak … took it to the local Toyota dealer who told him that some Coronas, and his was one, had a lifetime warranty on leaky exhaust headers because it was such a common problem, so he got it fixed “under warranty” … never heard of anything else like that …

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo Daedae

    I had a 68 model that was Canary yellow with automatic transmission I named it the struggle buggy

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo toycar

    Post more pictures of car showing trunk and chassis. This would be very helpful in accurately portraying your car.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Photos of the trunk and underside have been added to the photo gallery!

      Like 1
  19. Avatar photo numskal Member

    how long can you store the car after sale? I’m in SoCal

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Joshua Mortensen Staff

      The car can stay with the seller for a couple weeks while you arrange shipping.

      Like 0

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