1960s / Japanese / Toyota

Meet the oldest Toyota in Salt Lake City

toyota-corona-8If we were to write a guide for automotive tourists about Salt Lake City, this late-1960s Toyota Corona would be one of the main attractions for Japanese car enthusiasts.  In addition to being the only Corona we’ve ever seen in the capital of Utah, it is undoubtedly the oldest running Toyota the city has to offer.

The Corona is a daily driver in spite of its shiny paint job and we see it putting around on a regular basis in all kinds of weather.  We have never met the owner so we don’t know anything about its history, unfortunately, but the Corona was only sold in the United States in 1966 and 1969 which enables us to considerably narrow down its production date.

Offered as both a two-door coupe and a four-door sedan, the U.S.-spec Corona was powered by a 1.9-liter four-cylinder engine that made 90 horsepower and 110 lb-ft. of torque.  A manual transmission was standard, but the car pictured below is fitted with an optional automatic unit.

A four-door Corona cost $1,790 in 1967, putting it in the same price bracket as the Fiat 124 ($1,798), the Renault 10 ($1,647) and the venerable Beetle ($1,639, or $1,729 with a sunroof).  The less common coupe retailed for $1,995 (approximately $200 less than a Karmann Ghia), while the van and pickup variants that were offered in Japan never crossed the Pacific.

Realistically, it’s entirely possible that there’s an older Toyota sitting in a Salt Lake garage, barn or junkyard, but this daily-driven Corona is the certainly the oldest Toyota in regular service and an excellent reminder of how one of the world’s largest car companies gained a foothold in the U.S. passenger car market.


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