The Toyota Corona is a compact car built in Japan by Toyota. It first appeared on the market in 1957 and was available through ten generations up until 2001. The Toyota Corona started as a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle. During its seventh generation between 1983 and 1987, the car transitioned to a front-wheel-drive instead.
The Toyota Corona only started being available in Australia during its second generation in 1963. In July of that year, the car started being built at the Australian Motor Industries (AMI) plant in Port Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. As you'll see, some models were built in Australia while others were also imported at the same time.
First Generation (1957-1960)
The first-generation Corona was a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive compact car built as a 4-door sedan and 3-door van. When the Toyota Crown was enlarged and the Toyopet Master was discontinued, Toyota built the Corona with major parts and body panels coming from these two models.
Second Generation (1960-1964)
The Toyota Corona was first manufactured in Australia by the Australian Motor Industries (AMI) in 1963. This car was a four-door sedan carrying a 1.5-litre R four-cylinder petrol engine, which had a maximum output of 61 kW of power and 121 Nm of torque, and came paired with a 4-speed manual transmission.
It had drum brakes on the front and back.
Third Generation (1964-1970)
In its third generation, the Toyota Corona had a slightly more European vibe to it. Released just before the 1964 Summer Olympics, the new look of the Toyota Corona was the work of Italian designer Battista Farina.
For this third generation, the Australian version of the Toyota Corona carried a 1.6-litre 12R engine. It included a double-barrelled Aisin downdraft carburettor as well. Most notably, this car also included the debut of Toyota's automatic transmission, known as the Toyoglide.
Until 1968, the car was available in Australia in two body types: the sedan and the fastback wagon. These models only came paired with a 4-speed manual transmission (the automatic variant came later). These models had the following drivetrains:
- the base model sedan with a 1.5-litre R 4-cylinder petrol engine with a maximum output of 61 kW of power and 121 Nm of torque
- the 1600s model sedan with a 1.6-litre 12R 4-cylinder petrol engine with a maximum output of 70 kW and 128 Nm of torque
- the fastback wagon model with a 1.5-litre 2R 4-cylinder petrol engine with a maximum output of 55 kW of power and 114 Nm of torque
From 1969 onwards, the car was available on the market in coupe and sedan body types. This time around, the previously-mentioned Toyoglide automatic transmission became available in some models. These models had the following drivetrains:
- a 1.5-litre R 4-cylinder petrol engine (61 kW, 121 Nm)
- a 1.9-litre 3R 4-cylinder petrol engine (66 kW, 142 Nm)
Fourth Generation (1970-1973)
Until 1971, the fourth-generation Toyota Corona was available as the coupe SL model, while the sedan offered base and SE models. Transmissions available for these models were the four-speed manual or three-speed auto. These models had the following drivetrains:
- 1.5-litre 2R 4-cylinder petrol engine with a maximum output of 61 kW of power and 121 Nm of torque
- a 1.9-litre 8R 4-cylinder petrol engine with a maximum output of 66 kW of power and 142 Nm of torque
1972 saw the inclusion of another drivetrain option, the 1.6-litre 12R 4-cylinder petrol engine with a maximum output of 67 kW of power and 132 Nm of power.
Some Australian models had much more localised features inside, like Australian instruments and even a heater. However, there were no centre air vents, much to the surprise of some critics.
A facelifted version made by AMI with a revised grille was released in November 1972. It lasted until the fifth generation in 1974.
Fifth Generation (1973-1979)
For the fifth-generation, the Toyota Corona went through yet another facelift. This time, the hood and grille were redesigned while the taillights were also made more prominent. Some models included wood panel body claddings as well.
Towards the end of the generation in 1977, some other changes were made inside and outside the vehicle. This generation overlaps slightly with the sixth which, for some markets, started in 1978.
In 1973, the powertrain was the 1.6-litre 12T 4-cylinder petrol engine (67 kW, 132 Nm) paired with transmissions of either 3-speed auto or 4-speed manual.
Between 1974 and 1979, though, Australian models had a different drivetrain, the 2.0-litre 18R 4-cylinder engine that produced 89 kW of power and 174 Nm of torque.
By 1979, all Aussie versions of the Toyota Corona had the 1.9-litre Holden 1X 4-cylinder petrol engine that produced a max output of 58 kW of power and 136 Nm of torque.
Sixth Generation (1978-1983)
The sixth-generation saw the Toyota Corona with a much boxier aesthetic. This time around, the car included MacPherson strut independent front suspensions, and four-link trailing arm rear suspension with a Panhard rod. Disc brakes were also a standard feature on the front end for all models at this point.
Features commonly found on the car were alloy wheels and radio cassette players with four speakers.
In Australia, Toyota manufactured sedan and wagon versions of this car, which carried the 1.9-litre Holden Starfire engines paired with a four- or five-speed transmission. These engines had a maximum output of 58 kW of power and 136 Nm of torque.
At the same time, Toyota also imported four-door sedan and five-door liftback models that had a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine, which could produce a maximum output of 65 kW of power and 145 Nm of torque.
The sixth-generation Toyota Corona featured overly-square design and underpowered performance, which received considerable criticisms from automotive journalists in Australia.
Seventh Generation (1984-1987)
The seventh and final generation in the country came in sedan and wagon body types. This generation offered lower trim levels known as the S and CS trim levels, as well as higher levels like CS-X, CSi and Avante.
Transmission-wise, this generation offered a standard four-speed manual with options for the five-speed manual and three- or four-speed automatic. These were paired with engine options of:
- 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine with a maximum output of 73 kW of power and 157 Nm of torque
- 2.4-litre 22R-E 4-cylinder engine with a maximum output of 87 kW of power and 198 Nm of torque
There were also a couple of limited-edition models released during this time. It included the Olympic model in 1984, which had a fully-digital instrument panel. Also, there was the SR model, which had white painted grille and side mirrors, taillights with white highlights, red pinstripes on the outside, sports front seats, and a three-spoke steering wheel covered in leather.
In 1985, Toyota gave the car another facelift with a new grille, new wheel trims for all variants, and new tail lamp lenses. These lenses featured a single horizontal line and a chrome strip at its base.
Discontinued in Australia
The Toyota Corona was manufactured in Australia from its second-generation to the seventh. When the seventh generation ended in 1987, it was replaced in Toyota Australia's lineup. The car continued its evolution in other markets all the way up to its end in 2001.
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