Rare Rides: A 1975 Toyota Corona Mark II Wagon, Super Brownness Assured

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Today’s Corona marks the nameplate’s second entry into the Rare Rides series. And though today’s wagon shares the same name as the prior example, it represents a point of division in Toyota’s lineup.

Come along and learn some more about a rarely seen old wagon.

The lovely light blue 1968 Corona featured earlier this year was the last time a midsize (smaller) Corona was sold as a luxury vehicle. That same year, the Corona Mark II entered production. It was larger than the standard Corona and brought with it additional and equipment and luxury. The Mark II even reached higher, as some of its options were those found on the upscale Crown. From then on Mark II was a larger luxury offering, and the Corona headed downmarket.

Initially, the Mark II was on the same platform as the Corona with which it shared a name. That changed with the debut of its second generation in 1972. It grew larger than its debut version, and in Japan at least, no longer wore the shackles of the Corona name. Attempting brand familiarity abroad, in other international markets, it was still called Corona Mark II.

Three different body styles were available: a four-door sedan, the wagon we see here, and a more luxurious two-door coupe. Worth noting, Japan did not receive a standard Mark II wagon; instead, Toyota offered a basic utility van Mark II. Sedans had a 104.1-inch wheelbase, but the wagons shortened that a bit to add to the big overhangs look (and perhaps to assist in a flat cargo area), and used a 101.8-inch wheelbase. Underneath, power ranged from a 1.7-liter inline-four to a 2.6-liter inline-six. While the largest I6 was reserved for export markets, there was a smaller I6 in Japan which displaced 2.0 liters. All three body styles were offered with manual (four-speed) or automatic (three-speed) transmissions.

Toyota increased power offerings this time specifically to fend off competition from Nissan. The Datsun 610 (Bluebird) and Nissan Laurel had inline-six engines, so four cylinders wouldn’t do. All I6 versions were of the “M” family and were borrowed from the upmarket Crown. By that time the Crown was no longer Toyota’s pinnacle offering, as the Century entered production for 1967.

For North America in particular, Toyota offered the Corona Mark II in place of the Crown, which sold poorly and was pulled from the market. The Mark II was much larger than Toyota’s other North American offerings at the time, and Toyota marketed it as a well-equipped family car. Inline-six power was standard in North America, as was a four-speed manual (later five), and niceties like bucket seats and disc brakes at the front. Only the initial run of North American cars used the smaller 2.3-liter engine, as by the fall of 1972 Toyota implemented the 2.6-liter instead. In the transition, power jumped from 109 to 123 horses.

The Mark II’s second-generation lasted through 1976, at which point the name was retired in export markets. Toyota had a new luxurious car to offer its global customers instead: Cressida.

Today’s Rare Ride is a later example of a US Mark II. I’m told by Twitter that it combines US market bumpers with a JDM grille, making it a visual oddity. With 59,000 miles, it sold on Facebook recently for $11,500.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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3 of 19 comments
  • RHD RHD on Oct 19, 2020

    A blast from the past. Love the rubber bumper bumpers - you could hit something gently and have no damage to anything. That's what a bumper should be! Toyota wagon owners generally loved them. I had a neighbor with two, and he recommended them to everyone. That was a great era for Toyota, when the ads screamed "TOYOTA: QUALITY!" and the product backed up the slogan.

    • Old_WRX Old_WRX on Oct 19, 2020

      "That’s what a bumper should be!" Seems hard to believe that back in the 60' the standard way to parallel park was to back up until your bumper tapped the car behind and pull forward until your bumper tapped the car in front. Now, don't dare make any contact!

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Oct 19, 2020

    It looks like a parody of American wagon with Pontiac/Dodge aping grill. Too small though - does not look true to original.

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