|AN AUSSIE TIARA GETS RESTORED
Story and photos by John Ryan
To tell the whole story on how I came to get my Tiara, I would have to start by
mentioning my 1969 Toyota Corona 1600S RT51 Coupe. A few years back I was
driving my Corona from my home in the city of Toowoomba in Queensland
Australia to the city of Brisbane. Along the way I stopped at a service station. While
paying for my fuel, the woman behind the counter asked me some questions about
my car and then asked me if I knew anything about Tiaras (the best way to find a
classic is to own one). I told her that I had seen a few Tiaras but they were getting
very scarce now days. She replied by telling me that she had a Tiara station wagon
at her house that was a short distance away. She told me that the wagon was
purchased from the original owner in a country town and that it was in very good
I completed my trip to Brisbane and on the return trip I stopped into the service
station but the owner of the Tiara had finished for the day. I left my details along
with my interest in purchasing the Tiara with a co-worker of the owner. A few days
after arriving home the owner of the Tiara called me up and we arranged to meet
and for me to have a look at the Tiara.
When I arrived at the owners house she escorted me down to the shed where the
Tiara was stored. At first glance the Tiara seemed in very good condition, but on
closer inspection it became evident that during the few years it had been stored at its
new owners address that rats had taken up residence in it and gnawed on a lot of the
plastic and rubber components. There was some rust but minimal considering the
age of the car. The wagon also had a reasonable amount of spare parts in the rear
compartment. After a bit of haggling we agreed on a purchase price of $1500.00, on
the condition that I take it back to her to see once I had completed the restoration.
I purchased this car as a birthday present for my wife and after 2 1/2 years I am still
restoring it for her. Because she wants to use it as a daily driver I have made some
modifications so it is safer to drive in. Some of the additions I have installed include
front disk brakes, inertia reel lap/sash seat belts, halogen headlights, heater demister
and a modern stereo.
I've collected a lot of new and second hand parts over the time I have owned the
wagon and I have had to fabricate my own lower door, tailgate and fender rust
repair sections. Limited finances have stalled the project over the years but I expect
to have the wagon all finished by the end of this year.
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