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Joe's 1969 Corona

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Old 10-02-2017, 05:40 PM
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Joe's 1969 Corona

My new project:



Picked up this 1969 Corona RT-52 1900 from a guy outside of Greenville, South Carolina. The car has been sitting for 30 years. Supposedly it was in a barn but the body and sun damage say otherwise. Perhaps under some partial cover.
It has a 4cyl. 3R-C motor and a Toyoglide automatic transmission. The 52 series refers to the two door model and the 1900 is the 1897cc motor.
Here are some good things:
The car is complete. All the trim, the badges, hubcaps, glass- all there. (The exception: the dash cap is gone and the faceplate for the glove compartment is missing as well.)

The undercarriage is very clean. Very little rust up underneath, there is even factory paint on the leaf springs.

Don't know for certain, but I'm told the transmission was rebuilt shortly before the car was parked. We shall see.

It came with a clean title!

It is a really cool little car. I've always loved sixties Toyotas and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring one back to life.

Some bad things:

The engine needs some major overhaul.

Oh so much body rust. The rockers, and usual spots on the rear end. Luckily the fenders and quarters are clean around the wheels. There are a few holes rusted in the roof and hood and one little hole in the trunk.

It will need a lot of love.

Here are some more pictures:








And some motor pictures:


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Old 10-02-2017, 05:53 PM
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quite the project, good to see you pick this thing up
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Old 10-02-2017, 06:06 PM
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The Corona came back to Boone on a trailer and I unloaded it at my mother-in-law's house where she has a garage I use. The rotten tires and a frozen brake drum made the car nearly impossible to move. We had to carefully load it onto the trailer with a loader and in order to get the car off the trailer I had to get creative. I tied a strap to the rear end and the other end to a tree. Then I pulled the trailer out from under the car. It did the trick. I knew I'd need to be able to move it around. I called every tire place in town looking for used tires that would fit the 13" wheels. No luck. Walmart had a full set of 150/85/13 West Lake tires for $26 each. I put the car up on jack stands, removed the wheels and got four new tires put on them for under $150.





Next I had to free up the seized brake drum. I ended up having to pop out the pins that hold in the shoes and remove the brake cylinder. This is where I started to realize how good of condition the underside of the car is. Don't be fooled by all the surface rust, dirt and grease- the brake line came loose easily, and look at the bolts holding in the brake cylinder:



I dream of bolts that clean on my 1987 4Runner...




So I got it all pulled apart and put the wheels back on. Ready for the tow and decent into my "lower" garage. It's a steep curved drive to get to the shop that is actually under the house. We used the 4Runner to pull it and lower it down.





And here it sits:

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Old 10-02-2017, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dropzone View Post
quite the project, good to see you pick this thing up
Thank you!

The plan is to get the motor and drivetrain tackled first. I love the idea of being able to drive this thing with the body in its current condition. Then pop the hood and a nice clean motor is hiding under there. I want to research a few minor mods, particularly doing a disc brake swap up front- I would feel better. Drum brakes all around makes me a little nervous up here in the mountains.

Then lots and lots of body work.

I'll have to have some of the chrome re-plated and I still don't know what is in the trunk. The key only fits the ignition.

I picked up three original factory service manuals which I have little doubt will be invaluable. All the specs and part numbers will be great info.
There is a book for the motor, one for the chassis and one for the body.



I suppose these are collectors items themselves!

I'm not in a rush on this project. I'll have to move as time and money allows. I'll keep this thread updated as I move along. My best guess would be a 3-5 year project. We'll see. The body work is the biggie. For now, there is plenty I can take apart and clean that will be little to no cost.

I know this thread is a little hidden here in the Yotatech nether regions, but I love the Yotatech community and I want to post here.
Thanks everyone!
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Old 10-02-2017, 06:59 PM
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Subscribed! I appreciate seeing old cars on the road, and this one will be no exception.

Getting that engine running again should be a hell of a challenge after sitting 30 years. You seem up to the task, but what's the aftermarket support like? I assume you'll need gaskets, hoses, bearings, piston rings, and a water pump at the bare minimum. Can't wait to see what turns up during the engine teardown.
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Old 10-02-2017, 07:19 PM
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Hey! I am glad you decided to start a thread here on YotaTech!

Subscribed!

I always click on the "New posts" button so I see all new posts regardless of what sub-forum section they are in.

I am also curious about aftermarket support for even older Toyotas like this one. (or what parts Toyota may still have hidden away somewhere)

There needs to be a website like https://www.cityracerllc.com/ for other old Toyotas (City Racer specializes in Toyota Land Cruisers).

It is awesome that you have the factory repair manuals. They should definitely help.

I will be following along.

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Old 10-03-2017, 02:19 AM
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Great project Joe, glad you posted here so we can follow. Can't wait to see more.
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Old 10-03-2017, 03:08 AM
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Really looking forward to this one. Pretty sure I've never seen one in person.
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Old 10-03-2017, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by arlindsay1992 View Post
Really looking forward to this one. Pretty sure I've never seen one in person.
A friend had one in the early 1980's. It was a unicorn then. Next time I see her I'll ask if she has any old paperwork or pictures. Toyotas did not become popular in VA until the early 70's. Corollas were everywhere. My dad bought a new 1973 Corolla. I wish I still had the brochures we used to have.
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Old 10-04-2017, 03:16 PM
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Nice Corona. Glad you're sharing here. I dunno what kind of "barn" the seller was claiming it was stored in, lol.

For the last 15 years I've been eyeballing this 4dr Corona that lives near my work in a back alley under a tarp. I passed by it daily going to get lunch and was always curious about what the car was with the "Toyoglide" emblem on the back, then one day the tarp was off and I saw it was a 4dr Corona - beautiful car. I'd love to have one (or a Toyota Crown) but my wife already thinks I have a car problem....probably right, seeing how I'm finally down to 7, but at least 5 of them run and drive.

Good luck!
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Old 10-04-2017, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ladybugRC View Post
The plan is to get the motor and drivetrain tackled first. I love the idea of being able to drive this thing with the body in its current condition. Then pop the hood and a nice clean motor is hiding under there.
Yes, leave it the way it is, perfect all around town cruiser.
That's going to be a fun project!
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:34 AM
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Thank you all for the encouragement!

Yes, parts. That is the big question. There are still some gaskets available on eBay and Amazon, some old Toyota stock here and there I've found and motor components seem to be floating around.

I've been in contact with a guy near Charlotte who seems to be the leading expert on the Corona, particularly the 1964-1970 Corona. He says he has "lots of parts". He is going to be my new best friend.

Also, if anyone was taking bets on what is in the trunk I have your answer:

If you guessed 30 years of rat urine and some paint cans then you'd be the big winner!

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Old 10-05-2017, 10:08 AM
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I was kind of worried about you putting it in your mother in law's ATTACHED garage. Have all the trunk residents moved out?

There was a woman here in VA who drove around for ten years with her son's body in the trunk. She finally got stopped for expired plates and the trooper detected a smell... A locked trunk would worry me. I guess paint cans aren't so bad.

The old owner had an obsession with anti freeze. Head gasket? I guess you are rebuilding anyway.

Last edited by Nervo19; 10-05-2017 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 10-05-2017, 10:20 AM
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Yeah, and anti freeze. Good guess on the head gasket- might also explain why the car was parked in the first place.
There are some other motor parts and goodies in there too. I didn't dig too deep because I need to get a hazmat suit before I start pulling this stuff out...
If anything is still living in there then Nana's cats will make quick work of them. I'm a bit worried about chewed wires, too. What is it with rodents and chewing wires?

On the plus side, I see a jack and spare tire in there!
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:11 AM
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Not such good news...

I know I should be working on getting my 4Runner back on the road, but I couldn't resist taking advantage of a nice day to spend a little time with the Corona.

I pushed it out of the garage into the sunlight and broke out the power washer. I really wanted to get a better idea of just how badly this thing is rusted. I'm not happy with what I found.

For starters, and the worst of it, I cleaned out the trunk:



You're looking into the gas tank.

You can see the float in this one:



And plenty of daylight in this one:



Then there's the roof:



And some of the chrome is good, but some is not:



The trim around the windshield is in great shape, as are the windshield wipers, and all the glass is good:





And it looks like the car was originally gold and later painted black:



So, now what?
There's a lot of good and a lot of bad. I'm sure I could get my money back selling parts off of this thing, but that's not why I bought it. Welding in new metal in the trunk, new gas tank, re-plating the chrome- all doable I suppose. The thing to do now, I suppose, is sleep on it and decide just how much time and money I'm willing to put into this thing...
I'm way open to ideas and suggestions from you all. Is it worth cutting out all that rust and moving forward?? Should I cut my losses and sell for parts and keep looking for another car? I have a feeling that finding another sixties Toyota that doesn't have any rust will be a challenge, and if I do it'll be out of my price range.

What do you think?
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Old 11-02-2017, 06:42 AM
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If you have the welding skills and you really want to see this car in solid shape with nice paint and shiny chrome, go for it. I took one look at the trunk/gas tank void and thought, "I'm so glad I don't have to work on that".

You're probably right about not being able to find another one in good shape unless someone's trying to recoup some restoration costs to throw at their next project.

Good luck, I hope you decide to tear into it just so the rest of us get to watch this thing eventually turn into a moving car. Looks like a solid few years of work to me, though.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:12 AM
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Joe - oh man, tough to look at all that rust. But the trunk floor doesn't bother me too much, seems like you could cut all that out and weld in some new metal and make it decent. Obviously needs a new gas tank, which might be like finding a needle in a haystack (I googled and didn't see any matches). The rust on what looks like the back of the roof also not a HUGE issue. No question, after all the bodywork to put this car back together, plus the interior, and engine work...it's going to cost you a lot of money and a lot of time. You certainly got in deep, but honestly if I look back at what you did to your 4Runner, that was pretty daunting when you started, so obviously you can do it. No real help in this post, but I feel your pain, this is an enormous project.
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Old 11-02-2017, 08:42 AM
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I'd say replacing the trunk floor, floorboards and roof metal is pretty much expected in a car this age. Any time there's a vinyl roof there's rust underneath. I have always hated them. I have no idea what skills you have but I'd guess it is doable over a period of time. I wonder if there's a more modern, plentiful, cheap vehicle you could buy and use the gas tank and sheet metal? Maybe an early 2000's Corolla? I think you are going to have to adapt some parts from other vehicles to get this on the road. How is the frame? Are there any build threads out there of other old Toyota sedans? I know they exist in CA but they aren't plentiful.
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:48 AM
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Thanks for the input. You guys are right, I can handle this. I'm not in a rush, I have the 4Runner under my belt and I like to learn.

Nervo, I like the idea of finding a donor vehicle that I can use for parts- surely I can adapt a gas tank and whatnot to get things moving. The "frame" is solid. It's more like big channels to which the body is welded- not sure what you call that style/design. The way underside is really clean. My heart just really sank when I saw that trunk all rusted out.

Anyone ever used an auto rotisserie? Northern Tools has one for a good price and since this thing sits so low and is so small I've been considering getting one.

Thanks again for everyone helping me think through this!
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Old 11-03-2017, 08:26 AM
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You should join this site: https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/...ssage-board.5/ It is for American hot rods made before 1963. Never ever let on that you have anything else or they will ban you. It's a bunch of snots but there is a lot of fabrication information. I read a lot about body work and paint. A lot of members start out with cars much worse than yours. There are lots of rotisserie rebuilds on there. I was just reading a thread on garagejournal.com where a guy built his own rotisserie from an I beam and scrap metal. I think it would be a good thing to have (the Northern Tool one) and you could sell it when you're done.
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