By on April 4, 2012

We saw a Crusher-bound 1970 Corona last week, but that wasn’t the only 1970s Corona in this particular Northern California wrecking yard. A few rows away was this equally beige, but much larger and more sophisticated, ’79.
By the end of the 1970s, the Corona wasn’t selling so well in the United States. American car shoppers with fat wallets and a yen for a luxurious-yet-sensible Japanese sedan went for the Cressida, cheapskate car shoppers who still wanted Toyota reliability went for the Corolla, and everyone else bought Malibus and Diplomats. A few years later, the Camry showed up… and that was it for the Corona in North America.
The 20R engine wasn’t exactly smooth, but thousands of Hilux-driving warlords can vouch for its reliability.
This survivor of the streets of San Francisco may have been running just fine at the end; it doesn’t take much for the parking tickets to build up, and the next stop (unless the owner has thousands of bucks to pay The Man) is the the towed-cars auction.

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18 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1979 Toyota Corona LE Sedan...”

  • avatar

    Nice car. Looks like it lasted about 20 years on the road – not bad.

    I’ll assume the miles are 141k or maybe 241k, rather than 41k.

  • avatar

    Toyota continued to sell that sized vehicle outside North America under the Corona name through 2002.

    There was even a Corona liftback and station wagon through 2002; and a Corona taxi with a turbo diesel.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes. I definitely remember seeing Coronas in Taiwan and other Southeast Asian lands in the late 1980s to early 1990s. But by that time they were FWD cars, probably around the size of a Camry in terms of interior space, and pretty close to the roominess of the RWD Crown which is the taxicab model of choice in Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

  • avatar

    This one looks to have indeed been a running example before it got towed to the yard, as you say, through an accumulation of parking tickets or perhaps something DID blow finally if extremely high mileaged as gslippy surmises.

    The body looks to be in decent enough shape, save for the little dings, rust spots (surface looks like) along the painted metal trim below the grill and the occasional chipped/broken lens up front.

  • avatar

    While the sedan version of this generation of Corona was nothing to write home about in terms of style, the five door hatchback that was new for 1979 was actually fairly handsome.

  • avatar

    1979 was a horrible year for Western Civilization.
    By 1983 we see a culling of economic also-rans completed which began in 1979.

    There was a need to trim weak labels and offer new technologically advanced designs. This Corona was the end of the line for this kind of vehicle. Toyota was shifting into a new generation of vehicles by now and only the continuing popularity of some of the old line Corollas kept them into production as Toyota launched it’s front wheel offerings for the 1980s.

    It was easy to cut the Corona out of the line up by 1979.

  • avatar

    We bought a used Corona wagon in the mid-80’s. It lasted for another nine years and was sold to a relative and died due to a rear ender about 5 years ago. The build was bullet proof.

    I had totally forgotten the number of vacuum hoses under the hood until I saw you photo.

  • avatar
    Kirk Douglas

    Is that a fart can on the back of that Corona?

  • avatar

    My mom had one of these, a base sedan. It was her first new car and our first Japanese one. I seem to remember it having a column shift and vinyl buckets pushed together to form a pseudo bench seat.

    There’s almost no information on these cars out there. If we hadn’t owned one, I frankly wouldn’t have even known they existed. The last Coronas were completely overshadowed by the rest of the Toyota lineup and I haven’t seen one in at least 15 years. Ours was a rust bucket by the time it was traded on a new Camry and they practically disappeared from the Midwest by about 1990.

  • avatar

    Only real fault these had was the awful Holden Starfire4 fitted for the Ozzy market the rest is fine.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    And the last Japanese car in the states to offer a bench seat/column shift.

    • 0 avatar
      CA Guy

      At one point you could get a Toyota Avalon with a bench seat/column shift – I think it was an option, and probably rarely ordered. I remembering seeing a few many years ago.

      • 0 avatar

        The First and Second Generation Avalon had a bench seat and column shifter. Our ’98 has it, and my Grandparents ’97 had it too. They also ordered it on their 2003. The 6 passenger models aren’t as common as the 5 seaters, and they discontinued the bench/column shifter for the 3rd Generation.

  • avatar

    I recall back in the day that Consumer Reports actually really liked these cars. (Whether that is a point of recommendation is something else completely.) For what they were, they probably represented the best of the old-style rear wheel drive small cars from that era. I actually liked the looks of the five-door hatchback from 1979 onward. They had a modicum of style and comfort, such as it was in the mid-Malaise era. Coronas couldn’t compete in either handling, economy or space-utilization with the new generation of front wheel drive Rabbits, Civics and Accords, but they had a huge edge in reliability and simplicity. For all the Dodge Dart/Plymouth Valiant lovers, here’s your Japanese compact equivalent.

  • avatar
    Old Skool Toyotas

    Can you provide the name of the salvage yard you found this vehicle at? I’ve been looking for that front headlights/grille setup. Thanks.

  • avatar

    I’m looking for 79 Corona parts. Please share the contact info for the Junk Yards.

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