Discovered By Wayne Carini: 1968 Toyota Corona

Most of us know Wayne Carini or know of him as the host of TVs Chasing Classic Cars. He really seems like a nice guy. I had the pleasure of visiting his shop in Portland, Connecticut a few years ago and it would have been fun to meet him. I only mention that because he drove this 1968 Toyota Corona back when it was a dusty barn find. The seller has it listed here on eBay in Costa Mesa, California and the current bid price is $4,100 but the reserve isn’t met.

According to the seller, and several photos that they have included in the eBay listing, Wayne Carini found this car after it had been stored for an undetermined number of years. During Monterey Car Week, Mr. Carini donned his coveralls and gloves and took this formerly-dusty Corona for a spin, as seen here on YouTube. Ok, the video just shows a few still photos of Wayne’s time with the car and the rest of it is a video showing the car as it looks now.

I ran across a craigslist ad for this car at $12,450 so if you can’t wait until the auction is over, there ya go. Without tracking down the Chasing Classic Cars episode that shows this car, which I couldn’t find but maybe one of you can, we don’t know much about the history of this car or how Wayne discovered it and then how it ended up in Monterey in its barn-finds-clothes. It’s been cleaned up since then as you can see.

This car is not without rust and I would want to check it out very carefully. There are a couple of points in the YouTube video that show the door sills and the seller mentions new carpet. I’d want to get underneath this one to check it out for sure. The interior does look good and it’s a 4-speed manual which makes a huge difference in driving fun and also in the value. I almost bought a very nice two-door Corona in Portland, OR a few years ago for $7,000 and I had an inspection done on it which showed a bit of painted-over bodywork so that scared me off. Jesse showed it here on Barn Finds in early-2016. This car has a dash pad so I’m assuming that it’s cracked, but I could be wrong.

The Corona was made for 4.5-decades beginning in 1957 and I think the third-generation cars such as this ’68 model are the coolest and also the most collectible. The engine should be Toyota’s 1.9L inline-four and the seller says that it runs well but drips a bit, and the gas tank has been surpassed in favor of a fuel cell. That always worries me, rust-wise, but maybe it’s just gunked up from being in storage? I don’t see this one getting anywhere near $12k but I could be wrong. Any thoughts on this one? And, have any of you met Wayne Carini?


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  1. alphasud Member

    My parents first car was a 4-door Corona with an automatic transmission. I remember my dad bought it from a traveling salesman who racked up over 100K miles on it in just a few years. I believe theirs was a 65. I know they used it for several years before it was replaced by a 70 Corona mark 2 wagon which was dad’s first new car. It was pretty impressive that any 60’s economy car would go over 100K miles. Back then anything made in Japan was looked down on for reasons I won’t go into here. My dad was sold on Toyota. I like the bread box styling and this 2-door model is a real gem. Didn’t Wayne use this car for the Lemons tour?

    Like 9
    • Dave

      I’ll be nice…in the 1960s, Japanese manufacturing had yet to figure out how to make things that lasted. Our parents, having fought against them, felt that it was better to have them making cars, motorcycles, bicycles, radios, etc. instead of making bombs. It took until the mid-80s for Japan to figure out how to make cars that didn’t come off the boat with visible rust. They’d already figured out motorcycles and electronics.
      That said, these cars rotted out just as quickly as American vehicles.
      Funny thing is, the steelworkers were OK with Beetles but not Toyotas.

      Like 2
    • Jules Member

      If we’re thinking of the same episode, Wayne drove a Dodge Lancer Carini (!!) station wagon, complete with surfboard, while his buddy, the Lemons judge, drove a beaten-to-heck Karmann Ghia.

      Like 1
  2. Stevieg Member

    My Dad had a beater 1974 Corona Mark II in the mid 1980’s. Rusted, dented, no upholstery left to speak of, but it wouldn’t die.
    I like this one way more than my Dad’s old car. Very cool!

    Like 4
  3. Howard A Member

    In order to meet Mr. Carini, one would have to frequent the venues he surrounds himself with, and I don’t know about you, but about 3 levels above most here. From TV, he seems like the coolest rich person, still humble, but old Toyota Coronas are not his usual forte’. Regardless, a neat find, I think it was this car that turned the tide for Toyota. Growing up in ol’ Beer City, Asian products, limited to cameras and cheap tools, posed little threat to our bustling US economy, not played out more anywhere than in Milwaukee. We were capitalism at it’s best, making everything from water heaters( AO Smith) to small engines,(Briggs) to cars(AMC) to motorcycles(HD) and boats( OMC)to name a few. Toyotas, “Toys” as the name surely must have suggested in Japanese, were nothing more than a novelty. The Corona changed all that, while slow to catch on,( there was only one Toyota dealer in Milwaukee at the time, Jack Safro) people soon found out what great cars they were, not cushy things, just basic, cheap transportation. Just what America needed as suburbs grew, and since Americas car makers were full of denial and their heads where the sun didn’t shine,, there was nothing they had to offer, and the ones they scrambled to offer,(Vega, Pinto, Gremlin) were way behind the Asians and sales took off to achieve #1 car maker today. Quite a success story. Great find, for sure. This car SHOULD be in Scotty’s collection and I’m sure he knows it.

    Like 20
    • Paul Ness

      Met Wayne at open house at his place several years ago and another time in Maine at Bentley’s a biker bar/ restaurant for car show . He has sold Bentley Warren several cars. Goggle that name if you do not know Bentley. Wayne is awesome down to earth car guy.

  4. Will

    I bought one of these at an el cheapo buy here pay here place in Tucson Az in 1980. It was a good car except that the top of the gas tank ways rusted and I could not fill it over half way without it leaking into the trunk. I think I used it for a trade in on a 78 Chevette after about a year.

    Like 4
  5. Joe Haska

    Right about Wayne Carini, I spoke said hello to him at B/J Auction. We were in a back lounge and it was just the two of us. I also respected his privacy ,it was obvious he was working.

    Like 8
  6. Steve Clinton

    My dad owned a 1968 Corona 4 door that I borrowed to go to a Creedence Clearwater Revival concert. My girlfriend at the time sat on the hood and put a big dent in it. I told my dad somebody must have done it while we were in the convention center watching CCR. He never let me borrow the car again.

    Like 12
    • Howard A Member

      CCR, for years I thought it was, “There’s a bathroom on the right”,,,( There’s a bad moon on the rise)

      Like 4
      • Dave

        Bedroom…there’s a bedroom on the right.

  7. PaulG

    Clean looking Corona, not sure if it’s 12k nice.
    Met Wayne Carini a few years back at the SEMA show, very personable and seemed like a regular car guy.

    Like 14
  8. JCP

    Wayne himself seems like a nice guy and he does do charitable work but based on the people he surrounds himself with they should rename his show to” Chasing Classic Snobs.”

    Like 3
  9. Howie Mueler

    Wayne and his show is the best!!

    Like 10
  10. SMJohnsonIndy

    My parents bought a new 1970 Toyota Corona Mark II wagon — bright red with black/charcoal interior — from one of the few Toyota dealers in Indiana, at the time (Mishawaka). Dad and I put an after-market luggage rack on top; and I fondly remember a couple of long roadtrip vacations in it. It garnered a lot of curious looks, back then. Really surprised that Dad bought a Toyota as he was a union worker for a major automotive supplier in Fort Wayne. I’d love to have one like it, today … this little 2-door Corona would be fun, too.

    Like 3
    • alphasud Member

      Yup, my dad had the same color and interior. Used to wax it every month to stand up to the Texas sun.

      Like 3
  11. That Guy

    I just watched that episode last night, in fact, and this morning here’s the actual car! Wayne seems to have made Dodi Auto Sales a regular stop on his Monterey Week visits. It’s a funky, offbeat place with funky, offbeat, generally ratty old cars available; perfect fare for the Concours d’Lemons. About two years ago I won an Ebay auction for a Jaguar XJ12 they were selling. It’s waiting for me to get around to starting on its resurrection. I dealt with Dodi’s son for the sale, and he was a pleasure to work with. He even towed it home for me, though it took longer than expected as while he was on the way, a wheel fell off his trailer; I would expect no less from the amiable chaos that is Dodi Auto Sales.

    This Toyota has come a long way since then, that’s for sure! It was a hilarious mess in the show.

    Like 7
  12. tiger66

    The “Mythbusters” destroyed a pristine-looking one of these by installing a James Bond-style ejection seat, as I recall the episode. They could have at least used the sedan version, but no, they had to ruin a rare hardtop example. I quit watching the series after that.

    Like 3
    • alphasud Member

      They also cut the car up and installed a giant subwoofer driven off of the driveshaft. Can’t remember what they were trying to prove but I was miffed they destroyed a really nice 2-door.

      Like 2

    Saw the episode a couple of times. Wayne “rented” the Corona for the “Concours de Lemon” at Monterey. The car was nasty. He had to wear a respirator, cleaned a small spot on the caked windshield to see where he was going, had to use the handbrake to slow the car down (only 1 drum worked and would lock up) and, the clutch didn’t work!

    Like 4
  14. James

    RT 52 is the code for 2 door I believe. I worked at Toyota shop in 74. That’s how they were referred to. I had one same color in 1974. Fiber timing gear went bad. I was young then. I paid less than $500 for it. I drove it a year and sold it. Good car.

    Like 1
  15. Tom Wasney

    Met Wayne at the last Hemmings cruise in before the pandemic… Nice guy, friendly enough… He was judging cars for awards that evening… Fellow I know Bought a Mazda miata for his wife from Wayne..

    Like 2
  16. Sam Shive

    My Ex Wife Had One Of These. Glad to have got rid of both of them.

    Like 7
    • Howie Mueler

      But which one had more miles?

      Like 8
      • Sam Shive

        Howie Mueler, After I returned from a 8 month cruise, The Ex Wife

        Like 1
  17. BA

    I remember these cars used in the late 70’s in the midwest great lakes region they were slow. ugly & rusty and not all that good( you had to drink your beer before it froze inside the car!) and yes cheap! Anyone remember a Cadillac that zigs? care to scour the earth for them? I’ll leave it at that. Detroit didn’t need to build Japanese cars the needed Quality control & good engineering & when they figured it out here we are happy with full size trucks with fire breathing V8’s thank God! no I don’t want a battery powered car just figure out where the gas that already was supposed to be gone came from!

    • Stevieg Member

      The Cadillac that zigs was European. It was an Opel.

      • Dave


      • Stevieg Member

        Catera. Cimarron was a glorified Cavalier.

  18. JimmyJ

    Sam yer my kinda guy! Love your sense of humour 😄

    Like 1
    • Sam Shive

      20 Years in the Navy and 2 Ex Wife’s and enough cars that I could start my own Barnfinds. Both for cars and wife’s

  19. Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. I’ve always loved this generation Toyota Corona and Corona Mark II. Assuming it runs good and drives under its own power, I’d pay close to the asking price.

  20. Haynes

    Would be awesome if Wayne Carini discovered how to shave-off the “car guy” handlebar that dominates his central-face area. Never liked the ape hanger thing. Makes my arms numb on anything more than a ten minute B-Double E-Double R-Un

  21. Haynes

    Mubad Wayne…. I was thinking of Dennis Gage…

    Like 3
  22. Jon G.

    I’ll state the obvious. This listing will probably go viral. Sorry, had to.

  23. Steve Makowski

    Drove a blue on black 74, 4 spd, fun car to drive!

  24. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one ended in no sale at $6,100.

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