Junkyard Find: 1968 Toyota Corona Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

Since my first car was a Corona and I’ve had quite a bumper crop of Corona Junkyard Finds this year (including this ’79 LE sedan, this ’70 sedan, and this ’70 coupe, the last of the 2012 Junkyard Find Series might as well be this ’68 sedan.

This example of Toyota’s first big seller in the United States (Crowns were always very rare and Corollas didn’t get to be big US sellers until the 1970s), which I found at the site of our Auction-To-Crusher study, came with the transmission whose name I love most of all: Toyoglide!

The Toyoglide was a license-built version of GM’s venerable two-speed Powerglide. Yes, even as Land Cruisers got a Toyota-ized Chevy six engine, Coronas got GM transmissions.

The 3R pushrod engine was noisy and not so powerful, but it did sport the reliability the R family is known for (unless entered in a 24 Hours of LeMons race).

My ’69 Corona wasn’t particularly reliable except for the engine, and overall it was just about as terrible as the Pintos and Colts driven by my high-school peers. It took the Corolla and Celica and some cockroach-like pickups, a few years later, to get Toyota its American reputation for build quality.

Still, the boxy little Corona was the first real toehold in the American market for Toyota.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Ckdimou Ckdimou on Jan 12, 2013

    We used to own ones of these little reliable Jap cars (although with a 3 speed manual) back in the late seventies. Comfortable, reliable as hell, economic but handling was not its cup of tea....

  • Tahoebob Tahoebob on Jan 24, 2013

    i have a '66 that i just inherited..my mother bought it new in SF in 1967. i still drive it . people either ask what it is, laugh , or tell me stories about ones they knew

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.