Toyota

Toyota Camry fans! You can own the car that started it all

Toyota Camry fans!  You can own the car that started it all

  • There’s a rarely seen first-generation Toyota Corona for sale on the Bring a Trailer auction site. The 1966 aqua sedan came with 13-inch wheels and a two-speed automatic transmission.
  • The Corona model was the Camry’s predecessor.
  • The no-reserve auction ends Wednesday, January 19, with bidding starting Saturday at $3,000 but sure to go up.

    “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come),” sang Bruce Springsteen. The boss probably wasn’t referring to the first-generation Toyota Corona, but he could have. This humble sedan – Toyota’s second attempt to sell a passenger car in the US market after the Toyopet disaster – is the model from which today’s Toyota Camry can draw its lineage. And while the long-running best-selling Camry is a big deal, the Corona it comes from is indeed quite small. It’s also quite obscure, which makes this example from 1966 very original, on sale now on Bring a Trailer (our Hearst Autos website), all the more meaningful.

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    1966 toyota crown

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    We’ll admit that the Camry’s nameplate only dates back to 1983, when Toyota retired the Corona moniker and switched the car from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive. The Corona, however, was the ancestor. Launched in 1965, it was the first Toyota designed for the US market and had necessities such as an automatic transmission and air conditioning. It was offered as a sedan or a hardtop coupe. Sold alongside the Land Cruiser, the Corona helped Toyota triple its US sales to 20,000 units in 1966.

    1966 toyota crown

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    1966 toyota crown

    Bring a trailer

    This 1966 model is powered by a 1.9-liter four-cylinder mated to a two-speed column-shifted Toyoglide transmission. The bench seats, chrome hubcaps and horizontal stripe speedometer give it the vibe of a shrunken American sedan. It is said to have been found in a barn near Seminole, Oklahoma, not far from where it was sold new in Tulsa. The seller has restored the car to running condition, and the dry climate has preserved the bodywork, but the general presentation is that of an unrestored 55-year-old car.

    Surely there are die-hard Camry fans who have collected one from every generation of Toyota’s popular mid-size. But we ask you: is your collection really complete if you don’t have the car that started it all?

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