California Corona: 1972 Toyota Corona Mark II

Toyota had a misstep or two when they tried to break into the U.S. market by bringing over a woefully-underpowered car. With under 600 sales a year in 1961, they concentrated on their Land Cruiser until 1964. The car that started it all for the company in the U.S. market, as far as making a huge impact, was the ancestor of this 1972 Toyota Corona Mark II. This example can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $3.500. It’s located in Pinon Hills, California. Thanks to Roger for sending in this tip!

It’s hard to believe that the Corona debuted in the U.S. in 1964, well before a lot of our faithful readers were born. I think of the 1960s as the heart and start of the American muscle car era, not the start of Toyota economy cars coming into this country. In 1968, the Mark II was introduced and four short years later the company marked their 1,000,000th sale overall in the U.S.

This example looks fantastic and almost like a perfect car in the overall shots, but in looking at the details, there is work to do on this Mark II. Despite being a California car, there is rust to deal with. It doesn’t look that bad, though, other than having two doors too many for most Barn Finds fans.

The interior is maybe in need of more work than the exterior is. The seats have been redone and they would be reupholstered instantly under my watch. The top of the dash is a mess as is the whole dash. It appears to be a little.. loose or disheveled a bit under the gauge cluster. The seller says that the “Interior was redone at one point. Needs a little work. I purchased the car from the original owner son.” And, you can see that this car has an automatic transmission instead of a manual. Not that driving enthusiasts are gravitating towards a four-door Toyota Corona Mark II – despite Road & Track naming the 1971 Corona Mark II their import car of the year – but a clutch usually makes the act of driving a bit more fun. Or, it does if you aren’t stuck in gridlock traffic for an hour each way to the office.

This engine is Toyota’s 18R, 2.0L inline-four with just over 100 hp. The seller says “Starts runs” which is good but it sounds like the drivetrain may be a project, too. With a $3,500 asking price and the amount of work that’s needed, I’m trying to think of what I would pay for this example of what was at one time a very nice car for Toyota.


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  1. Duke

    Cool and boring at the same time
    The price asking is close to what they sold for new
    So not a bad return aster all these years

    Like 1
  2. Fred W

    Had the wagon version back in the day, painted it two tone using the beltline moulding as a divider. Very reliable car.

    Like 3
  3. AZD

    There’s something I really like about this one but can’t quite place it. It’s not a beautiful car, but not ugly either. It looks like a well-executed, inexpensive industrial product styled for its time, something like an early transistor radio. Love that red color. Single stage paint? Dunno, but it has that polished glow you don’t get with a plastic-like topcoat. A nice find.

    Like 1
  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    Could’ve sworn I was looking at a ghost. My mother wanted a small commuter car and she and Dad were at the local auto fair and they ran into an old friend, who used to sell for the local Chevy dealer and then started to sell for Toyota (he also sold me my ’69 Chevelle then 2 years later, sold me the worst mistake in my life). Anyways, they had this bright red Corona Mk II that Mom thought would be the greatest runabout. And it was. Mom was very happy with it, except that it leaked oil from the transmission worse than my two British bikes and my MGB combined. Porous case which took over a year to get fixed. I remember a small parking lot bump that cost over $500.00 to get fixed; the parts were $400.00. Mom’s Corona and my HiLux pickup pretty much soured us on buying another vehicle from across the Pacific.

    • dweezilaz

      Geo: parking lot bumps like that were what caused the over reaction of .Gov in legislating those awful 5 MPH bumpers.

      I don’t know which was worse.

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        No doubt it was those little parking lot incidents that prompted the bumpers. But in regard to mom’s old car, there was a tiny bonk in the fender next to the headlights and the plastic door was broken ($200.00 1972 dollars right there). And that little piece of chrome. The ’63 Pontiac that rolled into us wasn’t even scratched…

        Like 1
  5. Bob Deveau

    My first “road car” 1971 Mk II, 4spd, drove the heck out of it! picture taken in 77

    Like 12
    • Little_Cars Alexander Member

      Got one in 1979 with insurance money from my wrecked 67 Skylark. Mine was red just like the subject car but had the grille like your 71. The bumper was so fragile in front my bandmates helped me take it off to “beatify” the front of the car. I also added euro fender mirrors and blacked out the grille and taillight panel. The battery platform and bracket had already rusted away so I held it in with a bungee. One night my girlfriend drove it too fast around a corner and the battery started shorting out on the inner fender! Also had difficulty starting due to the dizzy being located in a low, exposed area.

  6. Gay Car Nut

    Sweet looking car. I’ve always loved the 1968-72 Toyota Corona Mk II. My aunt and uncle had one years ago. It looked like this white sedan in the pic above. :)

    Like 1
  7. dweezilaz

    I like the way this looks.No fan when they were new, but now…

    Nothing wrong with the seats. They look sort of upscale and well finished.

    Probably a better grade of vinyl than what came in it.

    This is complete and honest. All the trim bits are there.

    Nice find.

    Like 1
  8. Bob Washburne

    This was my first car, Paid $150 for it in 1979; the head & the newe timing chain set were in the trunk. I learned how to repair cars by bring it back to life. Roomy & comfortable; the 8RC engine went through three setas of timing chains, blowing out the front cover each time; I kept pulling the head and throwing another set on. Got me through high school & most of college.

    Can’t imagine how slow it would have been with an auto trans.

    Like 2
  9. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Yep…one of the really cute girls I had a crush on in Jr High – parents had one….the oil crisis was still a year or two away so it stuck out….among other things….

  10. Mitch Ross Member

    What makes these Mark ll Coronas so nice is that they have very Japanese styling. Many Japanese cars of the time tried to be derivative of American or European cars, this, along with the ’73 Crown, did not

    Like 1
    • Gay Car Nut

      I agree. That’s what I love about Japanese cars of the 60s and 70s.

  11. Gay Car Nut

    I’d buy a 1968-72 Corona Mark II if I could find a decent original survivor. It doesn’t have to be immaculate in its outward condition. But it does have to drive safely and everything works like it should. :)

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