During the late 1970s and early 80s, Toyota was making good progress in Europe. One of the tractors in the range at the time was the Corona, which was already in its fourth generation in 90 and had since been expanded with a Mark II series. The fourth Corona series - the RTXNUMX/XNUMX series was available in various versions and body styles depending on the market. Such as the Toyota Corona Hardtop, which was sold regularly, especially in Japan and North America.
For the European market, Toyota's focus within this class has been on the Celica “20” series from the early 1600s. Moreover, European political and consumer sentiment was not yet geared to a deluge of Japanese models. Toyota had already gained the necessary experience with sporty-lined models. The Corolla, the Corona Hardtop, the 1900 GT, the Corona Mark II 2000 GSS and the exclusive 1970 GT were good examples of this. And in XNUMX, the Celica was the next sporty addition to the Toyota family. But Toyota also constructed a very graceful car based on the fourth Corona generation: the Toyota Corona Hardtop.
Debut in 1970
The fourth Corona generation debuted in February 1970. Toyota launched a sedan, a station and the Hardtop-Coupé. To good Toyota use (then already) the hardtop was beautifully finished and above all beautifully and gracefully designed. For example, where Toyota placed more emphasis on a more powerful design with the Celica, the Corona Hardtop from the early XNUMXs was characterized by elegant lines and a far-reaching rear window. The center mullion was recessed into the body when the rear side windows were rolled down. The whole was exceptionally cared for by Toyota and (depending on the version) very completely finished.
In terms of technology, Toyota still used the T-platform with this Corona generation. The Corona (including this hardtop version) had a chassis with a rigid axle with leaf springs at the rear. At the front, Toyota mounted double wishbones and coil springs. At the front you also found a stabilizer. Furthermore, most variants received disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. The braking circuits were separate, a development in keeping with the spirit of the time.
In engine terms, Toyota initially used the 2R 1.5 engine with one Aisan register carburettor for the hardtop version. In combination with this engine, the Hardtop was called RT90. In November 1970, the 6R 1.7 engines (model code RT94) and the 8R 1.9 engines (model code RT93) followed. For example, the SL version received the 8R-B engine with two Aisan carburettors according to the SU principle. These engines in particular had an excellent reputation for a quiet running culture and production of the RT91 started in February with the 12R 1.6 engine with one Aisan register carburettor. And later in 1971 the 18R 2 liter engines also appeared in the Hardtop, which in combination with these engines was called RT95.
Gearboxes: also with three gears and steering gear
For the record: of the different engines appeared various execution and power variants. The strongest engine variant was the 18R-E engine with 125 HP and electronic injection. Remarkable: initially there were three-speed manual transmissions and two-speed automatics available. A manual four-speed gearbox with floor lever was also on the program from the start. The three-speed manual gearbox (with column shifter) disappeared in 1971, the three-speed automatic replaced the two-speed version during that year.
Considerable variety, especially within the home market
The Toyota Corona of this generation was modified in appearance several times. The front in particular received a slightly modified face a few times, and the Hardtop piggybacked on these changes. The RT9# Hardtop series was supplied in numerous versions, especially on the home market. And in North America it was on the program with the larger engines, including the emission power sources. That's where the RT8#/RT9# hit.
Rare in Europe, choice for Celica
Especially when the oil crisis made a contribution in the country of unlimited possibilities, people often opted for a car of Japanese manufacture. In Europe, this series therefore appeared less frequently in the booklets. The Hardtop was rare in Europe; the sedan, on the other hand, was available in several European countries (including the Netherlands, with the 6R engine). But still: for the continent, Toyota made the emphatic choice within this class for the more modern constructed Celica and its technical twin brother Carina, who were also given the more advanced A platform.
unknown makes loved
Nevertheless, this Corona generation made it clear that Toyota already had a wide range in the early XNUMXs. And in terms of delivery (and also manufacturing) that was perfectly aligned with the global market regions and the needs within them. On the other hand, in quite large parts of the world, this also brought with it a certain unfamiliarity and rarity of specific models. Models, which in all their classic beauty marked a design-technical transition period. And thus told that unknown does not always have to be unloved. The Toyota Corona Hardtop from the early XNUMXs is a very nice example of this.