At $7,800, Is This 1976 Toyota Corona As Refreshing As Its Namesake?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

While most Coronas are served with a slice of lime, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Toyota Corona comes in lemon yellow. Let’s see how much green you might think it’s worth.

On the Periodic Table, Cobalt is classified as a transition element, meaning one that bridges the span between the active metals and the semi- and non-metal elements. You, of course, learned this in 8th grade.


We learned about another sort of Cobalt on Friday, that being a 2006 Chevy Cobalt SS of course. And, while that car wasn’t transitional in any sense, it was supercharged and when paired with a $4,000 price that earned the little coupé a solid 65 percent Nice Price win.

One element (see what I did there?) of Friday’s Cobalt that may have tempered its attraction was the fact that its 200-plus ponies were routed exclusively through its front wheels. Today, front-wheel drive is a standard for many carmakers, owing to its ease of assembly, space efficiency and in certain situations, performance as the major weight of the drivetrain sits above the traction-seeking wheels.

That wasn’t always the case, however, and one of the most stalwart adherents to the old school RWD paradigm, even for small cars, was Toyota. Hell, their first FWD car to be sold in the U.S.—the Tercel—had a longitudinally-placed engine so as not to freak out prospective owners.


Toyota’s mid-level Corona stayed true to its RWD roots across seven generations and more than three decades. Sadly, when it eventually did make the move to FWD it took the Celica sporty car along with it.


This 1976 Corona Coupé hails from the model’s late-middle ages, the fifth generation, which served from 1973 through ’79. This was the era when Toyota would offer seemingly dozens of variations of each of their models and sure enough, the Corona could be had in either sedan, wagon, or, like this model, a jaunty two-door with a coupé roofline.

Power for the U.S. model came from a 97 horse (90 in California) SOHC 20R inline-four. That could be paired with a dutiful three-speed automatic, or, as with this car, a five-speed W50 manual.


That stick shift is a great anti-theft measure today, and the seller of this Corona has made it even more theft-proof by removing the shift knob. The remainder of this Corona’s interior looks serviceable if a bit rough. There’s peeling vinyl on the door cards, and the carpet that probably smells like the underside of a toupée. The glove box door is askew, and both the radio and door sill trim are also missing. None of those issues will keep the car off the road.


Outside of all that, there’s the aforementioned very yellow paint. Sadly, that looks to have been applied at the Braille Institute as there’s both over and under spray noticeable in a few areas. All of the badging has been pulled from the car, leaving a number of mounting holes to awkwardly stand out too.


A couple of even bigger holes top each front fender. Those are to mount the side-view mirrors that people love to add to these old Japanese cars. The lenses for the running lights up front are missing and likely made of unobtainium these days, but the bulbs should still work.


Mechanically things are a bit more appealing. Both the engine and transmission are claimed to have been rebuilt, and the car overall is said to “run and drive great.” The dirty engine bay houses an MSB electronic ignition and what looks to be a new battery. There’s also plenty of room in here to work, in case you wanted to, oh I don’t know, clean things up a bit?

The odometer reads 12,917 but since it only sports five barrels and the tenths, that’s likely rick rolled-over at least once. That shouldn’t matter since these cars have proven to be fairly stout and there is the plus here of the rebuilt machanicals. The car has passed its smog test and the seller sitting on a clean title just waiting to sign it over to a new owner.


To do that, you’d need to come up with $7,800 as that’s the asking price. The Corona has been sitting at that price on the Craigslist for more than20 days so it’s not likely the seller with budge all that much.


The question for you is whether anyone should come forth and pay up that much for this rare bit of Toyota history. What do you think, does $7,800 make this Corona the toast of the town? Or, is that price as palatable as day-old beer?

You decide!


Los Angeles, CA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.