RESURRECTION OF THE MACHO – Toyota’s “Muscle” Machine

MACHO – is defined as an aggressive pride in one’s masculinity. In a politically correct world we live in, we seldom hear this adjective, in fact there is a sense of awkwardness in using it to describe a persona. However, ask even the most casual Filipino car guy what macho is, and you will get an instantaneous response – it’s Toyota’s 2-door Corona. 

It is hard to trace back how the moniker started. Probably because it’s a relatively big car compared to Toyota’s entry level Corolla, or maybe it was a marketing strategy back in the day, to catch the attention of male buyers, in an era of a patriarchal culture were physique is equated to masculinity and something to brag about. Even the first “Macho Machine” has been an argument among car aficionados. Some say the first model was Toyota’s fifth generation T100 series Corona Coupe that first came out in 1974, others say when the same Corona series had a facelift in 1978, still others argue that the moniker should be exclusive to the RT132 Corona Coupe that came out in 1979. There were no black and white documents that tell the details of how and when the “Macho Machine” came to be, so, it’s up for you to decide. But one thing we can all agree on is that it was the RT132 that PBA’s Toyota point guard Robert Jaworski has endorsed.

Jim and Jiji Rotor are a husband and wife team that love old cars. Not only are they actively involved in the car culture, they are also a big fan of the Big J Robert Jaworski. This passion led to a quest for the car they so badly want to own – a Toyota “Macho Machine” Corona RT132. After getting some tips from friends, they were able to find this yellow 1979 Toyota Corona sitting inside a covered garage for the past 14 years. Sure there were a few rust spots as expected from a 39 year old car but the interior was very much intact. It was indeed a “barn find” for the Rotors. After convincing the owner that if he sells the car it will be restored back to its former glory, the deal was closed and the Corona was trailered back home.

The car was then brought to OptionR Autoworks where it spent the next 12 months on body works and a custom Speed Yellow paint job, an upgraded yellow from the car’s tired and dulled-by-time color. It was a ground up restoration wherein cost was not an object. The Corona was then brought to Belair Carwash and Detailing where the engine mounting and interior installation was done. The stock old 18R motor hooked to a 4 speed manual gearbox was rebuilt and correctly restored down to its factory engine decals.

The carpet and headliner was redone and the seats and sidings were re-upholstered back to its factory black leather. Music comes from the original AM/FM cassette wired to stock Daichi speakers that we can all bet sounds like 1979. And yes folks, those are hard to find Superior multi-colored mattings that everyone use to have back then but all of a sudden just vanished from the market. So don’t ask the Rotors if they are selling those period correct mats – they are not.

Even with an upgraded Volk Racing Artisan Spirit Rims wrapped in 195/50R15 Kumho rubbers, you can hardly call this Corona a restomod because other than the wheels, this Macho Machine is bone stock. It was painstakingly restored to factory specs and all trimmings and rubber moldings were completed. A Japanese version chrome bullet mirrors were also added.

Thanks to Jim and Jiji for bringing back to life a once dead car that was slowly being reclaimed by nature, covered in a garage that nobody could appreciate and turning it into the biggest head turner in town. At the end of the day, we can all concur that this Corona is one heck of a cool car. The car’s clean stance will definitely invite a lot of thumbs up and a sure conversation starter anywhere the car gets driven. Check out the photos of the Macho Machine’s restoration process. Happy Lumang Oto Motoring



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