Junkyard Find: 1980 Toyota Corona Liftback Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

I have an extensive formative history with the 1965-70 (third-generation) Toyota Corona, and so I photograph them whenever I find them in junkyards. So far in this series, prior to today, we’ve seen this ’66 sedan, this ’68 sedan, this ’70 sedan, and this ’70 coupe. Much harder to find in the United States is the 1979-83 Corona, which was replaced by the Camry in the U.S. market for the 1983 model year.

Here’s an extremely rare 1980 Corona liftback that I spotted in Denver last month.

By this time, American Coronas had graduated from the clattery pushrod versions of Toyota’s legendary R engine to the same rugged SOHC 20R version that powered Mujahideen-driven Hilux trucks during the Soviet-Afghan War.

It was sold new in Pueblo, about 100 miles south of Denver. Was it driven all over the country during the 36 years since, or did it spend its entire life within Colorado state lines?

The cloth interior contains every color on the beige spectrum.

Coronas in Japan were much more interesting than the ones we got over here, and Japanese Corona ads (featuring glorious screaming-rubber and whooshing-turbo sounds) were so much better than any American-market Toyota ads. I can’t even bring myself to look at a single “Oh, what a feeling!” Toyota ad right now.

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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  • Car Ramrod Car Ramrod on Mar 18, 2016

    Man, Murilee, you must have already had this queued up when I asked about this model in your last post. This really brings back memories. We had a sedan one of these in this color combo as a loaner car my Dad's repair shop between maybe 1986 and 1990. Those seats were comfortable!

  • Zelgadis Zelgadis on Mar 19, 2016

    I owned this car's successor, a 1984 Toyota Camry liftback. I will never understand why liftbacks went out of fashion. I love them. The Camry wasn't exciting, but it was wholly competent and a perfect car for the college student that I was.

  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
  • Crown Seems like they cut some cylinders too.A three cylinder...where are they planning on selling that??