By on March 18, 2016

1980 Toyota Corona in Colorado junkyard, RH rear view - © 2016 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.

1980 Toyota Corona in Colorado junkyard, 20R engine - © 2016 Murilee Martin

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.

1980 Toyota Corona in Colorado junkyard, dealer emblem - © 2016 Murilee Martin

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?

1980 Toyota Corona in Colorado junkyard, rear seats - © 2016 Murilee Martin

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.

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15 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1980 Toyota Corona Liftback Sedan...”

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Toyota built 95% of these either in beige or silver, I swear…

  • avatar

    And I wonder how much Roger Moore was paid to just smile and look very Bond-ish for that commercial.

    • 0 avatar

      A lot, you can be certain. Strange bunch of people, the Japanese. They fear/despise foreigners in Japan, but are mad for Western movie/pop stars. Western actors/musicians can make huge piles of cash to appear in Japanese commercials without saying a word, and even more if they can learn a few words of Japanese.

      • 0 avatar

        My favorite one.

        Image of Legacy Wagon… fades out.

        Bruce Willis appears, in a black suit on black background, wearing sunglasses. He takes them off, slowly.



  • avatar

    Well now, that is one sexy car. I smell a retro-mod article coming soon!

  • avatar

    Wow, you’d practically have to take a taxi cab between the clutch and brake pedals!

    The clutch pedal is so far to the left that it looks like it would be a foot-operated e-brake.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Wow, I like that car. And I love liftbacks.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t get why they’re not more popular. Americans prefer the styling of sedans and coupes. This offers that styling with a bit of the practicality of a hatch or wagon. It’s like America is adverse to practical vehicles.

  • avatar

    I remember seeing this car new and thinking… its like a liftback coupe but actually useful. This was when liftback coupes were popular. I wonder why liftback cars arent popular any more? There’s only one company that seems to love liftbacks but its a niche VAG subsidiary so good luck there.

  • avatar

    Those velour back seats look surprisingly comfortable and plush.

    I get the feeling Toyota bought an Oldsmobile or something and told their designers to copy that interior, but in 5/8th scale.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    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!

  • avatar

    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.

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