Charity Classic: 1969 Toyota Corona Coupe

A few days ago, fellow writer Scotty mentioned he would love to own a Toyota Corona coupe. Well, his ship has come in, although I suspect this example is more of a project than he may be looking for. A recent charitable donation, this Corona is still a rare example of the more commonly seen sedan, and despite being a project, this looks like a potentially good foundation to work with. Find it here on eBay with just over two days left in the no-reserve auction. 

I dig the period paint scheme, which is at least consistent with what’s seen under the hood and in the door jambs. The authentic California black plates and original matching dealer plate frames give some indication as to how undisturbed this Corona is, which may mean there’s not too much here to untangle from previous owners. The Corona is equipped with an automatic transmission, likely one of the earlier years for the Toyoglide.

Inside, an original radio and gauge cluster await you, although the horn pad is missing. Scotty noted that he missed out on a manual transmission-equipped Corona coupe, which would absolutely be the one to buy. Door panels and seats look good and aside from needing a good cleaning, there’s not too much here to fault. On the outside, it’s worth noting the period aftermarket wheels look good but appear to be the incorrect offset for the car.

The seller notes there’s no way to verify if the motor turns over, as it’s lacking a battery and as you can see, some parts removal has commenced surrounding the air cleaner assembly and the carb. This is likely equipped with the 1.6L 4R motor, which would return a leisurely run to 60 in the 15 second range. This Corona coupe, in my opinion, is a prime candidate for a quick flip given the (likely) low purchase price, rarity, and seemingly rust-free condition.


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  1. Fred W.

    Not sure what the listed link was , but this is the actual auction listing link:

    • Llewellyn Keller

      The Corona and Datsun 510 were the first indications that the VW Beetle was going to get its ass kicked, and that the Japanese were going to be making world class cars. They were much quicker, handled better, and looked like modern day cars, not a throwback to Nazi Germany. The 510 was more fun to drive than the Corona.
      The 4 door version of this model was homely, but the second gen Corona had a handsome 4 door version.

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    These used to be advertised as going “0-60 in 16 seconds…”, Jeff. They were quite nice cars in their day, especially the coupes.

    Black plate is year correct, if my memory serves me well.

    For those who like doing mods, a 3 litre Lexus V6 or 4 litre V8 might fit in the engine bay, but I suspect that a new transmission tunnel will need to be fabricated and a swap for something like a Hilux rear end. Can you say, “Sleeper?” Sure, I know you could.

    Scotty, you might want to consider this one…

  3. Rx7turboII

    Omg Jeff,

    Don’t even suggest that somebody quick flip this car for profit, you’ll get all the uptight readers’ panties in a bunch and they’ll condemn you to eternal damnation forever! LOL ( but it’s true )

    • Steve R

      If someone flips it, sell the license plate frames separately, if the are oringinal to the car they might be worth a pretty penny.

      Steve R

  4. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’m kind of wondering if that’s a factory A-C in there. I’m sure that when that compressor cuts in your ground speed would drop by 10 mph. I didn’t see many of these cars but I saw the ’70-’72 versions, the ’72 was the better looking one IMO. My mother had a ’72 Corona Mk II with the ‘Toyoglide’ automatic. Lots of oil leaks which were eventually traced to a porous main case which was replaced under a ‘policy adjustment’ because they couldn’t supply any parts during the standard warranty period. 50K miles and the car was DONE. Front suspension completely shot; transmission never worked properly but I guess the main reason it went to the scrap yard was when my sister rolled it—TWICE, going too fast in the same curve….

    • Ron Zee

      That is a factory installed air conditioner on the passenger side replacing the glove compartment.

  5. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    there’s a coupe around these parts….at $400 it’s tempting…..

  6. Rube Goldberg Member

    A shame. I happen to know, Scotty is in no position to get another car, for a while.Too bad when something like this comes up. I know he’d love it. What’s not to like? This is one of the few Asian cars I would like to have, before Toyota became all gray and plastic inside and boring. Nice styling, refurbished, be a great car still.

  7. 8banger Dave Member

    Love it!

  8. Doug

    Might be a fun sleeper with an LS in it…. just sayin’….. Actually a supercharged 22R would probably be a hoot, and easier to fit. These cars had a more “solid” feel when closing a door than the VW or the Datsun of the same vintage.

  9. JTNC

    In 1970 I traded a 1965 VW Beetle for a (demo) 1969 Corona coupe, 4-speed, no a/c. Coming from the Beetle’s 36hp, it was almost thunderously powerful with 90hp. The suspension was slightly floppy but it was still quite nimble compared to most of the Detroit barges of the era. The Datsun 510 had a more sophisticated suspension. The Corona coupe was nicely appointed, with even Mercedes-like knurled wheels for opening and closing the vent windows. And an extensive (and fortunately mostly unneeded) tool kit.

    Speaking of license plate frames, I currently have a ’71 FJ40 with a license plate frame from “Rose Toyota, First Toyota Dealer in USA.”

  10. Pete in PA

    When did Toyota (or Honda, Datsun, Subaru) start selling cars on the east coast? I was born in 1960 and I don’t remember seeing anything like this on the road, ever. Or in junkyards… I guess they could have been sold here but they probably dissolved from road salt within a few years. The Japanese cars that I do remember from a few years later certainly dissolved within a few years.

    • gaspumpchas

      I had a 60 toyopet,made by Toyota–blowed engine couldn’t get any parts for it..funky styling…went to the crusher..

  11. John Taylor

    Funny this being here, years ago we organised a Hot Rod Run down the Gold Coast here in Australia, and from a local yard we got one of these very same except no vinyl roof and not rust, so we earned good money letting people hit it with a hammer at a $1 for 2 hits and charged more for whoever wanted to smash the windscreen, Then drained the oil and water out of the engine and took bets on how long it would run for, it seemed to go forever and eventually ran out of gas. I once worked in a rental car company and back then doing the maintenance on the fleet the boss suggested I do a valve grind on the Corona, I had previously done a compression test and said it doesn’t need it anyway he insisted because it had done over 100,000 miles and we were doing all the other 4 cylinder cars at around 40 to 50,000 mile mark, anyway I pulled the head off and got him to come and take a look, it was as clean as anything, man what a great car they were, these were vary new back then and handled pretty well for what they were to. I changed my outlook on these Toyotas back then.

  12. Anthony

    Absolutely always loved this look growing up as a a kid. Too bad it’s not a manual and doesn’t have a transferable registration.

  13. Jubjub

    Just caught part of the movie Hit! a few days ago and a character is driving one of these, but a pristine, red ‘70.

    My sister had a ‘70 Corona sedan way back when. Hers was kinda sickly but not rusty like they usually were.

  14. dweezilaz

    Genuine two door hardtop. Automatic, AC, bucket seats, vinyl top. The loaded find that people chase.

    A pre-Celica, sort of. Like hardtop bucket seated Valiants, Falcons and Corvairs, before the Barracuda, Mustang and Camaro.

    Hope it goes to a good home.

  15. Joe

    This was the first new car my father bought and I still think when he drove down the block where we live in Rockaway NY, how people pointed at us never seeing a Japanese car before.

  16. Joe

    The TV Adds at the time was, Get Your’s Hand’s on a Toyota and your Never Let GO !!!

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