Junkyard Find: 1970 Toyota Corona Coupe

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1970 toyota corona coupe

The Corona was the first Toyota car to appear in large numbers on American streets, starting in the mid-to-late 1960s. By the middle of the 1980s, just about all the boxy early Coronas were gone; they rusted quickly in non-bone-dry regions and weren’t enough loved elsewhere to be kept alive. My very first car was a ’69 Corona sedan, so I had a bit of a nostalgic twinge when I spotted this ’70 hardtop coupe in a California self-serve wrecking yard.

I started driving my Corona in 1982, at which time it was regarded by my peers as possibly the uncoolest motor vehicle on the planet. It wasn’t exactly a serious driver’s car, what with the 67-horsepower 3R engine, tippy suspension, and fade-prone four-wheel-drum brakes, but at least mine had a four-on-the-floor manual.

This sporty coupe came with the floor-shifted Toyoglide two-speed automatic, a Powerglide license-built by Toyota. Performance must have been sluggish, even by 1970 standards.

The fold-down rear seat was a nice cargo-hauling touch.

Because the paint is very faded and there was a 1982 bus map in the glovebox, I’m assuming that this car sat in a yard or driveway for decades before taking its final trip to The Crusher.

With a five-digit odometer, there’s no telling how many miles this car really racked up during its driving career. 113,242? 413,242? I’m betting on the former.

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  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on Feb 15, 2012

    The first Toyota I ever rode in or drove was one of these. I was hitchiking to who knows where in the early seventies somewhere on I-10, Del Rio I think and a woman picked me up in a Corona hardtop just like this but with a stick. She was going to El Paso and we traded off driving. I remember thinking how closely coupled the roofline was- kind of nice actually. Within a year or two Toyotas were everywhere. Later on I worked with a woman who bought an older Toyota- I think a Corolla- with the Toyoglide. It went out almost immediately . At the time I remember it was considered a crappy knockoff of the Powerglide trans.

  • -Nate -Nate on Dec 13, 2012

    I remember the '67's horn ring was also the turn signal switch ~ many customers came into the shop wondering why it had 'NO DANG TURN SIGNALS ' ! . The Toyoglide tranny was O.K. but lost GM's legendary Powerglide toughness in the shrinking ~ if this car was rolling forward when you slipped it into reverse , *SNAP* went the reverse band..... Luckily they were light and easy to push backwards =8-) . There are two or three of these in VGC tooling 'round Pasadena still ~ I see nice , clean Coupes in the various Pick-A-Part yards two or three times a year , would like to save one but am trying to get rid of old cars , not marry any more orphans . -Nate

  • Luke42 Manual transmissions are a workaround for the weaknesses of ICE engines.Electric motors don't have these weaknesses, so why reintroduce the workaround?P.S. My first 250k miles were in manual transmission ICE vehicles. I can probably outshift all y'all, and I can definitely drive a manual smoother than some automatics. While I'm proud of my obsolete skills, there's just no reason to pretend I'm driving an obsolete vehicle. An EV should drive like an EV.
  • SCE to AUX Lexus: "Let's add unnecessary complexity to an EV so it is harder to drive and breaks more often. After all, our parent Toyota hates EVs, and is hopelessly late to market with them, so this will be a fun diversion for a while until we figure out how to beat Mazda's sales numbers."
  • Roadscholar I like emotive shifts.
  • Dwford What's next, your blender only spins slow unless you spend $5.99/month for the "Puree Package?"
  • Jeff S We have had so many article about gas wars. A lighter subject on gas wars might be the scene from Blazing Saddles where the cowboys were around the campfire and how their gas contributed to global warming or was it just natural gas.