Pre-Corolla Resto-Mod: 1962 Toyota Publica 700

Everyone in their lifetime has come into contact with a Corolla, whether it was your first car, or the first car you crashed into. For me, a 2000 Corolla was what started my car passion obsession, when my parents bought it brand new. However, as commonplace as the Corolla is, its predecessor is almost completely unknown. This Publica has been retrofitted with a Suzuki three-cylinder and matching 5-speed and diff, so it should be able to almost keep up with modern traffic. Find this 1962 Toyota Publica 700 for sale in Gladstone, QLD for $4,000 AUD ($2,880 USD at the time of writing) via gumtree.

Although three cylinders doesn’t sound like much, it’s a 150% increase in number of cylinders over the car’s original boxer engine. Certainly not designed to be a performance build, the resto-mod’s intent was to keep the car useable, since the original 700cc unit had as much power as a heavy-duty washing machine today.

The best part about the little Publica is that apart from early 80s Corolla wheels, it looks completely stock. It’s unclear whether the paint is an original factory colour, but it’s plausible and suits the car surprisingly well. There aren’t any photos of the interior, but the seller says its been retrofitted with a digital dash – whether that’s a digital dash from the 80s, or a more modern unit is unclear.

The term ‘Japanese classic car’ might’ve still sounded alien by the time most early Japanese cars had been crushed, but today there’s a growing market for them. Hopefully, the Publica gets swept along by its more famous, more valuable platform partner – the Sport 800 – as it really does deserve a bigger spotlight.

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Michael is a teenager who’s been obsessed with cars since he was able to talk, but has no ability in mechanics whatsoever. His daily driver is a manual transmission Nissan Maxima – the Australian Infiniti I30.