VIDEO: Australians explain why the “shovelnose” was so important to Toyota

Toyota Corona shovelnose RT40 Shannons Insurance

The RT40 Corona was hugely important in the US, saving Toyota’s skin after an embarrassing debut with the S30 Crown. However, that was nothing compared to the way it utterly transformed the Australian market for Toyota when it debuted in 1965. 

According to Shannons Insurance video host Mark Oastler, Toyota even diverted the 900 of the first Coronas headed to the US to Australia (not sure if they also swapped the steering wheels to the opposite side). Australia eventually produced their own locally. The shovelnose, as Aussies call it, became a class leader, and made Australia Toyota’s largest export market in 1965: 17,000 sold in Oz, only 9,000 in the US. Aussies even raced the Corona at Bathurst, and its successes there converted many to the brand, making Toyota what it is today.

What’s interesting to note, is that in Australia, many owners are actually taking modified Coronas and turning them back to stock, with hubcaps and whitewalls, according to a bloke named Tiny. In fact, Japanese buyers have even taken many of them back to the motherland.

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13 Responses to VIDEO: Australians explain why the “shovelnose” was so important to Toyota

  1. Myron Vernis said:

    I’m of the generation that remembers the shovelnose as the first Toyota we saw. Ironically, when it came time for me to buy a special example, I had to go to New Zealand to source it. These are fantastic cars.

  2. Stuart Kayrooz said:

    Wouldn’t mind trying to find a shovelnose before they skyrocket in price the way most of that era has here in Oz. They definitely have a style that will remain distinctive a long while yet.

  3. Dankan said:

    Love how these old Coronas look. And it’s such a great sounding name as well. I simply cannot understand why Toyota doesn’t make better use of it. It’s a great name with an interesting history. A smart revival would be an excellent idea.

  4. Jim Simspson said:

    Really terrific cars that certainly put Toyota on the map in the USA, people were delighted with how they drove their comfort and completely blown away with their reliability and economy.. Was a great entry car for the US market too and established Toyota as a presence…

  5. Car Nut Seattle said:

    Awesome video! I love Shannons Club TV. This is my favourite generation Toyota Corona.

  6. Steve said:

    I have a friend who, back in the 80s just out of high school, inherited one of these (a 4-door sedan) from his parents. He did the normal, low-budget teenager things to it: cut springs, blocks, stripped the interior, and added a “roll cage” bent for him at a local muffler shop. We loved to tease him and nicknamed him “Ricky Racer” (his name was Rick). In spite of all his “mods” he was able to sell the car to someone for a down payment on an S110 200SX. I guess the last laugh is on us…

    • Car Nut Seattle said:

      I would’ve liked to have had a “shovelnose” Corona. I found them more attractive than the Toyota Camry that was introduced in the early 80s.

  7. Kurt said:

    Always wanted a shovelnose ute!

  8. Gary said:

    We’ve been telling the Holden, Ford and Chrysler blokes about these wonderful little cars called Toyota for years!!!

    • Randy said:

      Yeah, but once THEY start getting interested, the prices go up, so if you find something special, the word is: SHHHHHHHHHHH! 🙂

  9. Yoda said:

    I wonder if they were talking about production allocations at Toyota City. Since CKD assembly in Australia was planned all along, converting already built LHD cars to RHD would take resources away from that and lead to further delays.

  10. Randy said:

    This is the type of car Toyota, Nissan, etc., should bring back; as simple as possible, with enough space for humans, both front and rear, and good trunk/boot space. You can keep it as-is, or mod it to the heavens.

    Same as the Nissan 410/510/etc.

    I’m kind of thinking the closest we have now is the Nissan Versa…

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