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Japanese Survivor: 1968 Toyota Corona Mark II

Toyota Motor Sales USA set up shop in California in 1957. As their network grew slowly in the U.S., the Corona would be introduced eight years later. It was designed with American drivers in mind and would quickly become the company’s most popular car in America. This ’68 Corona Mark II hardtop is said to have covered just 28,000 miles and runs great, though a little bit of corrosion is starting to make its presence known. Located in Palm Coast, Florida, this original Toyota is available here on eBay for $15,000, or offers will be considered.

The Corona (Korona in Japan) was built through eleven generations between 1957-01. It was replaced in Japan by the Toyota Premio and the Americas by the Toyota Camry. It competed directly with the Datsun/Nissan Bluebird. The word “corona” is Latin for “crown”, a reference to a larger vehicle Toyota offered called the Crown. The platform was reworked for 1968 and the car became known as the Toyota Corona Mark II.

From 10 feet, this ’68 Corona looks good. Upon closer inspection, the red paint is a bit faded and there is a little rust brewing around the bottoms of the doors and wheel wells. Nothing significant, yet, but it will need attention. The black interior looks original and – though a bit dated in appearance – nothing seems to be wanting an immediate intervention.

This Toyota is powered by a 1900-cc inline-4 paired with a column-shifted automatic transmission, the Toyoglide. The odometer reads 28,225 which begs the question what’s the car been up to for 54 years. Japanese carmakers were still striving to achieve the level of quality we’re used to seeing from them nowadays, so back in the 1960s, this was just another imported small car. If you were to add this Corona to your staple, you’d have a car seldom seen. I, for one, can’t recall the last time I saw one of these automobiles on the road.

Comments

  1. Mike1955

    Owned this exact car in the early seventies. Engine was called 3RC. I thought the quality was great. Had reclining buckets and valves to turn off flow to heater core, I guess in case of hose failure? Also brass hardware on exhaust.

    Like 3
  2. Troy

    Seems to be a few of these popping up on websites for sale not sure they are worth what people are asking but I have seen stranger things in this car market

    Like 2
    • Mike1955

      I agree. I gave about $800. for mine. Drove it 5 years and sold for $500. Didn’t know I was driving a future collectable?

    • Mike Ingram

      Had a four door version. Slow with the automatic but man, what quality. Beautiful paint, snappy interior, no rattles and it would cruuse at 70 with very little engine noise. Surprised American manufacturers didn’t see what was coming.

      Like 1
  3. Steve Clinton

    My dad owned a ’68 4 door. What a POS it was. The engine self-destructed and the body was like a tin can; if you leaned on it, you left a dent. They sold a boatload of these in the 60s and I imagine there are only a handful left.

    Like 4
  4. Kendra Kendra Member

    Nice example of a Corona, definitely not a Corona Mark II. Those were first available a year later, all different sheet metal (and probably different structure). My dad bought a new ‘71 Corona Mark II off the lot, yellow-tan with black interior. Great car (added over 100k miles with very little maintenance), and very practical when the gas shortage hit and many stations had a 5 gallon limit.

    Toyota Museum near Nagoya has one of these on the 2nd floor in metallic blue.

    Like 5
  5. Tutone2

    My dad used to drive these little turds . Rusted wrecks . Floor boards rotted out , bricks under the seats and a 2×4 keeping the seat from falling back . Learned how to drive in one of these . 3 speed on the tree . He had a Chrysler imperial in the garage . But always said these things get 50 miles to the gallon . Wreck it throw it away and go get another one. I’d buy it for Nostalgia

  6. James Petropulos

    My wife had a 4 door red one when we got married. In the 70’s I had Toyota rebuild the motor. The transmission lasted 19 years without anything ever done to it.
    I said that to myself one day as I put it in reverse…. guess what…..

    Like 3
  7. tiger66

    This is a Corona, not a “Corona Mark II.” Pretty sure the Mark IIs started with the ’69 models. The ads for the ’68 Corona do not call it a Corona Mark II and there is no Mark II badging on the car. A co-worker back in the ’70s had a Corona Mark II 4-door and it was badged as such. Also, the Corona Mark II coupe had a different C pillar and rear window treatment than this car.

    Like 3
    • Rexer

      I think the Mark II was a slightly later, bigger car

      Like 1
  8. R. Lee Parks

    My dad was reportedly the first Toyota Dealer in North Carolina. Franchise received November 1967. He operated it alongside his Lincoln-Mercury dealership. The Corona came in 2 and 4 doors only. People laughed at the name, the car, and him. At least as far as a new car in a showroom, people were stunned by their small amenities (tool kit, touchup paint, service light, reclining seats), paint quality, and tightness. A/C and radios were dealer installed. A factory rep said the Corona was patterned after the Chevy II. The Toyoglide was essentially a Powerglide knockoff. He ditched L-M in 1973 and continued to successfully sell Toyotas until 1984 when he retired, laughing. After the Corollas made an appearance, he once put a Chevette in his showroom for comparison. There was none. And yes, the Mark II was a later version. Being that Toyotas came in through Jacksonville, FL it’s no surprise this one is a Florida car.

    • Rick

      Patterned after the Chevy II? Looks more like an early 60s Opel Kadett with a dose of Studebaker Lark added to the mix.

      • R. Lee Parks

        Sorry, I should have specified. The rep was referring to the underpinnings of the Chevy II – primarily the front suspension.

        As to the engines, a Corona came in one day by tow truck. It had thrown a rod at 75k miles. Upon closer inspection it still had its factory oil filter on it. When told the problem the young owner responded that she did not know that the oil and filter had to be changed. In fairness, it was the late 60s and apparently no one ever relayed the importance of regular car maintenance.

        Factoid: My dad’s dealership was in the same town as the Wix Filter plant. When a new Toyota/engine came out, we supplied them with filter mounts for their design and testing department.

  9. Ward William

    These things were mechanically bulletproof. I bought my mum a 4 door of the same era back in the 80s and she drove it for decades until the floors dropped out from under her. The problem they had was poor quality metal that rusted as you watched.

  10. Stevieg Member

    My Dad had a 1974 Corona 2 door, had been a sporty little car when new (probably), but an old beater by the time he bought it. It sure ran good, too bad the body had disintegrated.

  11. Bill Member

    Russ
    I believe you might want this car in your stable, wherein it may be a staple of that stable.
    Sorry to nitpick on an excellent write up but it’s late.

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