I've come to respect a number of old economy cars, some of which are maligned for being terrible even if that reputation is undeserved. This week we're looking at cheap cars of the 1970s.
We start off with the Toyota Corona. It was pretty basic by today's standards, but look what you got. This early 1970 Corona Deluxe (for some reason all the Coronas that survive in San Francisco seem to be Deluxe models) comes with a 1.9 liter 4-cylinder producing slightly more power than a light breeze, and an automatic gearbox so you can relax and let the car shift for you while it accelerates at its own leisurely pace. But all kidding aside, this is a truly beautiful little Toyota -- and I don't put those words together often. It's not only one of the oldest Coronas I've ever spotted in the city, it's also by far the nicest. And it was parked on the same block as the 1939 Plymouth Roadking, so it's possible that there's a community of car enthusiasts down there in that part of the Mission District.
You probably won't find a nicer, more original looking Corona around town than this one. It seems to have retained its original 1970-issue California blue plates, dealer plate frames from Gil Ashcom Rambler in Berkeley (fittingly, now Berkeley Toyota), all original badging, hubcaps and trim. Heck, for all I know the paint could be original, and exceptionally well cared-for. The owner's parking permit is even taped to the rear window so as not to get permanently stuck to the chrome bumper. Speaking of which, if there is one fault I can find with this car, it's the bumpers. They've clearly been used as such during their lives, and could stand to be straightened. But they've done their jobs and protected the thin Japanese sheetmetal from damage. Major kudos to the owner for showing an old import some love.