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.