The Extra Out Of The Ordinary … a 1976 Toyota Corona Story

It seems like if a car has to be featured in any magazine, it is required to be a gazillion dollar overly restored car. Not to say that something is wrong with the culture, as cars that has broken the bank definitely deserves to be noticed. But there are many old cars out there that may not be given too much attention but the story behind it makes it equally special. Because for us car people, there are more into cars than just a vehicle that transports one from point A to point B.

There is really nothing extraordinary about it. Back in the day, the RT100 Corona was meant to be driven hard and are not in any way that desirable. Many of these cars became taxi cabs and were driven like tanks. While many of these Coronas refuse to cease, time was not its ally. As tough as they were during its heyday, many of them simply died the natural death.
Although there are a number of survivors out there, it is an exception rather than the rule when we speak of those kept in the family since it was brand new. The sentiments behind it and all the fond memories put that extra out of the ordinary.

The RT100 Corona first came out in 1974 to replace the RT80 series. It is the fifth generation Corona and was Toyota’s mid-level entry aimed to complete against Mitsubishi’s Galant in the Philippine market. Although RT100s from other countries came out with a bunch of engine options, the RT100 Coronas in the Philippines were limited to the ever reliable 4 cylinder 1.6L 4 stroke 12R motor locally built by Delta Motors Corporation. These cars produce a meager 90 horsepower, but enough capability to push it around Manila traffic. While most aficionados during its day would prefer the more desirable 2 door model, the 4 door version have not had a fair share of attention from the car community.

This 1976 Corona was purchased new in April 11, 1976 in Agoo, La Union and has stayed all its life up in the north. The car was once owned by the late father of its current owner Dalmacio Jesus (Junjun) Vergara Jr., and yes, the car has been kept in the family to date. For Junjun, this was the very car he remembered being used by his Dad to drop him off at kindergarten. It was the grocery getter, the ride to church, and the long hauler when doing fun and never too boring road trips. It has always been there far longer than anything Junjun could remember. And it was the same car where his late father taught him how to drive.

Junjun has been involved in the car culture since he was a freshman in high school and got so hooked up with the hobby that he became a member of the Baguio Makaluma Auto Club. His interest in old cars eventually became a passion that led to his course in Automotive in Baguio City. Eventually, the key of the old Corona was handed over to him when his Dad sadly passed away. The family ride and all the memories that go with it is now officially his personal car. Although being in high school and having a lot of future plans with the car may not be a perfect scenario, Junjun learned to be smart in his spending in order to maintain his “new” car.

The car has been restored once many years back and the color was changed to white from original chocolate brown. Although its current paint may be peeling off and showing a lot of patina, the Corona has always been given the affection it deserved. It is still equipped with factory 12R motor hooked to a 4 speed manual gear box, and the suspensions have been modified and now the car sits low on 13×7/ 13×8 ATS rims wrapped in 185/60R13 tires.

Eventually, Junjun wants to restore this Corona to a factory original setting. He wants to get it painted back to its correct color and roll with original steelies wrapped in thin white wall tires, all in the name of nostalgia. For the meantime, he is very much contented of its setup. As ordinary as it was when it was new, his Corona is back in the streets with a vengeance. And the thumbs up and the cool comments of how clean the car is for its age proves that Junjun is doing the right thing. And yes, the car will be taken cared as long as he could, so he could one day eventually pass it to the next generation.

So next time you drive up in the City of Pines, be sure to keep an eye on this cool old Toy. Thanks to Junjun in helping to keep the old car hobby alive. Happy Lumang Oto Motoring

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