The third generation of Toyota’s Corolla was sold from 1974 through 1981 and is probably the vehicle you could credit with putting Toyota on the trajectory from a Saab-sized company in 1974 to the worlds biggest builder of automobiles in 2021. The Corolla wasn’t fastest or the sportiest or the best car you could buy in 1974, but where American cars used electronic carburetors and digital dashboards to get buyers in the showrooms to plunk down you cash, the Corolla was just as simple thing that you could run for miles with basic maintenance. I don’t know if it makes sense as a classic, because classics are supposed to be pretty or loud or flashy or rare, but for the asking price you can’t get much these days. Find this 1978 Toyota Corolla Liftback Deluxe offered for $3000 in South Pasadena, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
We’ve featured some interesting Shorty conversions over the years — the winged Shorty Type 2, a super cheap 56 BelAir, and a particularly eye-bending Dodge Omni with rear doors that Kate Moss couldn’t squeeze through, but this next custom is special. Not short bus special, but with that wheelbase, it’ll be twitchier than Jeffery Epstein at a Disney princess convention. Find this 1980 Toyota Corolla Shorty offered for $3800 in Perth Amboy, NJ via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
This next car isn’t for the faint of heart. It features a garish paint job that will get you more attention than you might want. It does, however, have a 4-speed manual gearbox, and at least 3 of the gears function. Not bad for less than $2500. Find this 1993 Toyota Corolla Station Wagon offered for $2400 in Oakland, CA via craigslist. Tip from Matt V.
The easiest way to describe an engine to a novice is that it is an air pump. The more air you pump, the more horsepower you make. If your original engine had a silly little plastic airbox, then you replace it with individual throttle bodies. If you original engine had a exhaust manifold with a Lincoln Log logo on the side, then replace it with headers. Just keep increasing the amount of air you engine can flow and eventually it will be as wicked as this next thing. Find this 1982 Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftback offered for $7,500 in San Mateo, CA via craigslist.
The last time I posted a Tercel, I made the mistake of calling it a Corolla…which CFlo caught and pointed it out. So this time I’m calling it a Turdcel, because even though this next car might have some wicked SR5 stripes on the side and louvers to die for…it’s got a seriously scuzzy headliner and a case of paint psoriasis that’ll take more than the potentially deadly ointment they are always trying to sell me in commercials (you know the one where the lady is running around in shorts and playing tennis and the calm doctorish voice warns you about fungal infections and travel from certain third world countries — are they reading my browser history, how do they target these ads on the TV so well??) Anyway…I wish this car was more of a survivor and less of an active patient. Find this 1982 Toyota Tercel SR5 offered for $2999 in Suwanee, GA.
I responded to the sight of this car with a visceral utterance that was something between an “uggg” and a “whoa”. What happened to the boxy lines of the 80s Corolla? Was it really necessary to turn it into a giant 4-wheeled suppository? Oh. This is a Tercel, which Toyota occasionally badged as the Corolla II and Windy. Find this 1992 Toyota Corolla Windy II offered for $4750 in Seattle, WA via craigslist. Tip from JB1025.
I have strong memories of an 81/82 vintage Toyota Corolla and let me tell ya…they ain’t good memories. The car was owned/driven by a friend of mine and it was slow, an ugly shade of jaundice, handled like crap, and saddled with a recalcitrant slushbox. Did I mention it was slow? But here’s the thing…with the all other cars from that era, I remember having to find a payphone to call someone for a ride, or needing a quick fix on the side of the road, but that stupid Corolla just kept running and running. It is no surprise that Toyota sold 44 million Corollas from 1966 through 2016 because they figured out how to make a car that, although soulless, was reliable. Perhaps an injection of horsepower could make this thing fun, but then would you need to remove the custom clutch pedal extender? Find this 1982 Toyota Corolla offered for $6,350 in Philadelphia, PA via craigslist. Tips from ME and Cory.
This next yellow thing comes from tipper JB1025 who writes; Toyota Corolla super low miles Cleaner then Skeeter’s Peter. Is it worth this money ? Hard to find this clean! I’ve answered this question before, but I’ll ask again; Why is it that the nicest preserved classics are always equipped with automatic transmissions? Because the […]
The seller of this next vehicle describes it as “museum condition” which might be a bit of a stretch, because I doubt any museum would want an 80s Toyota Wagon…but now that I think about it, there was a Toyota museum next to the North American Torrance, CA headquarters that was filled with all manner of original Toyotas before they moved it to Texas and the Toyota Museum in Japan is filled with all sorts of strange stuff, so perhaps this does belong in a museum, but I’d like to use it to haul my kids around for a few hundred thousand miles first. Find this 1989 Toyota Corolla All-Trac Wagon offered for $8,500 in Long Beach, CA via craigslist.
At first glance this next car might seem out of place on these pages dedicated to automotive ebullience. But believe me, when I assure you it does belong between a Fiberfab Aztec and a Double-Double-Ranchero-Ranchero. A vast plurality of the eighth generation E110 (1995-2000) Toyota Corollas were sold with a penalty box autotragic transmission and subsequently ridden hard and put away bloody by their owners…but not this one. This one has a 5 speed shift-it-yourself manual gearbox, decent cloth seats, a not-too-shabby exterior, and roll-it-yourself manual windows. It shockingly meets 8 of the 10 things i need in a car in 2020, and a Canadian spec speedo/odometer in kilometers. I love it. Find this 2000 Toyota Corolla offered for $2800 in Campbell, CA via craigslist.