By on October 19, 2020

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]

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19 Comments on “Rare Rides: A 1975 Toyota Corona Mark II Wagon, Super Brownness Assured...”

  • avatar

    In fact, it does look like a pretty nicely equipped car for 1975. The dashboard gives a very competent and technical impression. This car had something to prove, being an import in a time when the Detroit Big Three had huge market share.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Although the wood siding is a nice touch in 1975 this vehicle/model does not truly have what the North American consumer would consider necessary for a luxury or near luxury vehicle.

    As a ‘family’ car it would still have to compete with some D3 wagons which were larger and had bigger (v8) engines.

    *Note: also no passenger side rear/side view mirror.

    • 0 avatar

      Definitely not a luxury vehicle, but might scratch the itch for a reliable family vehicle. Also, that passenger mirror was optional until the mid-1990s on some Toyotas. Technically still not required under US Federal standards (FMVSS 111).

    • 0 avatar

      Probably a niche car back then, but non-garguantuan wagons weren’t unheard of. Examples: Volvo 240, VW Dasher, and a few others.

  • avatar

    1) Buy for $11,500
    2) Put on BaT
    3) Retire

  • avatar

    Those bumpers are an incredible bodge job, completely messing up the looks of the original. Still, can’t help but love the bizarre US styling and the fake woodgrain.

  • avatar

    Very nice. :-)

  • avatar

    the way the badges on the side are half in/half out of the woodgrain drives me crazy. They just notched out a piece of the surround for it.

  • avatar

    I hope manufacturers will look at this dashboard/controls and take it as benchmark

  • avatar

    Came this close to buying one of these (actually, a new ’74) back in the day. The better half got a job as an interior decorator and had a ton of sample books to take to prospective clients’ homes. Liked the car, but we bought a ’74 Dodge Dart instead – 2 door Duster styled car that my wife preferred, because its huge trunk swallowed up (and crucially, hid) all her samples. The Dart wasn’t great, but it soldiered on for 5 years until 3 kids made us buy a ’79 Century wagon. But I did like the Toyota, and probably would have bought it if it would have been up to me.

    • 0 avatar

      My mother had the ’73 Valiant and I remember how poorly it compared to the ’64 Valiant I had. The ’64 slant-6 was turbine smooth, the three-on-the-tree linkage was very smooth, and the clutch was very good. The 73’s engine was very gritty feeling, the three-on-the-tree linkage was awful (one time when I was driving it, the linkage jammed and I had to pry on it with the lug wrench to get a pin to drop back in at’s slot), and the clutch was juddery as hell.

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      “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!

  • avatar

    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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