Toyota Corona T40 and T50 Series
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
,Our Rating: 1
First released in 1957
, the original Toyota
Corona (Latin for Crown) has become increasingly popular with collectors, partly due to the rarity of these cars on the road today, and no doubt also due to their amazing strength and build quality. The third generation was introduced September 1964
, and was available in sedan, two-door hardtop, three-door van, five-door station wagon (also as a van), two pickup variants and a five-door hatchback.
The Italian designer Battista Farina
assisted in the appearance of the new Corona. The 40-43 series were reserved for sedans, while commercial vehicles (and wagons) were in the 46 and 47 series. Hardtops received 50-55 series model codes, while 56 was reserved for the five-door hatchback. At a time when anything Japanese also meant the epitomy of austere, the Corona was a stand out.
Inside there was a wood grain finish on the fascia, thick quality carpet, full-flow ventilation, two-way stretch vinyl seat coverings and arm-rests on all doors.
A public demonstration of the new Corona's performance was done on the Meishin Expressway, where the new model was tested to 100,000 kilometres (62,137.1 miles), and was able to sustain speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph). The Corona was released one year after the debut of the Corona's traditional competitor, the Nissan Bluebird. Toyota
introduced a smaller vehicle to address the market that needed a more fuel efficient vehicle, the Toyota Corolla
in March 1968
. This allowed the Corona to increase in size and offer more passenger and cargo room over previous generations.
choice consisted of either the standard 4 on-the-floor or "Toyoglide" automatic. The Mark II, released in 1964
, featured several mechanical improvements which included raising the compression ratio, and modifications to the intake and exhaust
manifolds to allow for better breathing. On the outside, the wedge styling was to polarise many opinions - but at least it was different and made the Corona stand out in the crowd - at a time when Japanese cars were typically very conservative.
The maximum horsepower was 82 bhp @ 5,200 rpm, and torque 90 ft. lb. at 2,800 rpm. The modifications may have seemed minor, but it allowed the Corona to travel more effortlessly and, for those equipped with the manual transmission
, ensured the driver could relax a little, as the continual gearchanging required on the Mk. I was a thing of the past. On the road, the Corona rode smoothly on all surfaces, the steering
was light yet accurate and direct, and the brakes
were very responsive. And importantly, the running costs of the Corona were relatively cheap, it having low mechanical costs and boasting surprisingly good fuel economy.
Originally, commercial models (three-door van, pickup, and double-cab pickup) utilized the 1,198 cc 2P engine, with 55 PS (40 kW) at 5,000 rpm. This allowed for a maximum load of 500 kg (1,100 lb) for the two-seater versions and 300 kg (660 lb) for the five-seaters. Top speed for the 1.2 litre Corona was 110 km/h (68 mph). In January 1967 this also became available as a five-door van. In May 1967
, the larger and more powerful 3P (1.35 litre) and 2R (1.5 litre) engines became available, replacing the lesser 2P in most markets. Power of these were 77 and 65 PS (57 and 48 kW) respectively.
Corona 1600 GT
The 4R (12R in Australian versions) engine that had a displacement of 1587cc was equipped with a twin SU carburetor (Australian models with 12R engine had one double barrel Aisin downdraft carburetor), and was capable of 90 bhp (67 kW; 91 PS). Disc brakes
were also introduced for the front wheels. Exports of this Corona proved popular in the USA and Europe, with increased engine performance and durability improvements over previous versions. In September 1967
produced 80,000 cars, with 30,000 being Coronas. In 1967
in Japan, the 1587cc DOHC 9R engine was available in the RT55 1600GT 2-door coupe
. This engine was essentially the 4R engine with a new twincam head based on the same technology as the twincam engine in the 2000GT. This was the first Corona assembled in New Zealand, from February 1967
at Steel Brothers' Motor Assemblies in Christchurch.
Corona SE and 1900 Hardtop
The Corona SE was even more lavishly equipped than the standard Corona Saloon. Standard features included a radio, bucket seats, cigarette lighter, carpets, matt enamelled rear panel and white wall tyres. Toyota
didn't hold anything back on the sleek hardtop, it providing unmatched value for money. The engine developed 120 bhp (the engine compression ratio being lifted to 10.0:1), while up front Toyota
fitted vacuum boosted disc brakes. Inside the stubby floor-shift snapped through the gears beautifully. You could option the Hardtop with an automatic transmission
, however the engine was slightly de-tuned and only developed 108 bhp (the compression ratio being lowered to 9.0:1). Still, the engine was fitted with a 2-barrel carby, the engineers going to some lengths to ensure the atmo model provided a more refined driving experience. Today there are few of the original Corona's left on the road.