The modern day Lotus Elise is (was…I believe Lotus stopped selling it in the US market a few years ago) a great combination of British handling/looks and Japanese powerplant. It took a while for Lotus to realize that putting French engines into their sports cars was not an upgrade over British iron. Regardless, the builder of this next car decided to put a late model fuel injected twin-cam Toyota engine into the engine bay in an Europa (a Europa…?) and made something very special. Find this 1972 Lotus Europa twin-cam offered for $20,000 in Ft Collins, CO via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
The Toyota line-up around 2006 was pretty awful. Well…not if you were the typical consumer who loved driving affordable cars for miles without unnecessary breakdowns or huge fuel bills…but you ARE NOT that typical consumer because you are reading this website. It was awful for the performance enthusiast who loves the rush of accelerating and beating that half asleep old guy in the So-Cal freeway on-ramp drag races (listen up Caltrans on-ramp light designers — you’ve got TWO lanes and TWO lights…why do they go green at the exact same time if not to promote street racing)…but if you accidentally ordered a Rav4 with the V6 and AWD you got into a car that was unexpectedly quicker than any other new Toyota and surprisingly fun to drive on-road or off. Find this 2008 Toyota Rav4 V6 AWD offered for $8000 in New York via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
This next Loony Labor Day submission comes from Safety Fast who writes; Seriously, what is this? Simple, it was a custom body on a Toyota HiLux chassis built at a time when Toyota product planners were insane. They built 100 of these to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1936 Toyota AA (which was a blatant copy of the 1934 Chrysler Airflow)…but I think they should have saved the design for the next generation of the Mirai because this is an improvement. Find this 1996 Toyota Classic offered for $49,975 in SF Bay Area, CA via craigslist.
Welcome to another DT Loony Labor Day. Most websites celebrate Labor Day with a 10% off coupon or some sale, but here at DT we celebrate the co-option of a worker’s protest movement (formerly known as May Day) and today known as Labor Day by sharing strange stuff. Instead of getting our sabots stuck in the gears of capitalism, we find the craziest, wildest, looniest rides around and share them with you. Up first is a sweet piece of Japanese engineering that has been turned into a movie production vehicle and the best ice hockey carpool ride around. You won’t have to worry about being asphyxiated by the odor of teenagers and hockey gear (it is seriously the worst smelling sport on the planet) and instead will enjoy the pleasant breeze and soothing screams from your passengers on the freeway. Find this 2004 Toyota Sienna offered for $3900 in Orange County, CA via craigslist.
ver dreamed about driving a car that is simple and reliable, gets mad attention at JDM car shows, but would be totally invisible to other commuters…this is it. The butterfly door equipped Toyota Sera was never sold new in the USA, but with those doors closed it could pass for a compact Toyota/Honda from the 1990s. Performance with the 1.5 liter 5E-FHE inline-4 won’t be superb, but with only 2050 lbs of curb weight the little Sera shouldn’t be a total penalty box. Find this 1990 Toyota Sera offered for $9,999 in Orlando, FL via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!
This next tip comes from David who writes: Ach zo! – hey you need to lay ocular orbs on this Nippon spacecraft: I lived in a Japanese town once upon a time known for its retired Yakuza (look for the missing pinkie finger) and a burgeoning subculture of Bosozoku numbnuts who liked to ride around in motorcycle gangs and block the roundabouts. Oh the stories I could tell. Anyway, this van was very much the style of the Yakuza’s son or wealthy Bosozoku who wanted to flex. As I cycled through the photos I had no idea that there was a door to a WC … Find this 1993 Toyota HiAce offered for $14,850 in Oldsmar, FL via facebonzai marketzuck.
a tip from Art C who writes: What could go wrong buying a Toyota from New Hampshire?? Let’s see where they rust (or what plastic parts they rust under) with this not too shabby sub 3k example! Shoot, if I were in the market I’d drive up. I’ll BE in the market when someone buys my G35 sedan 6M. Hey, send in your listing for the G35 to DT and buy this Celica. Find this 2001 Toyota Celica GT-S offered for $2999 in Intervale, NH via craigslist.
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!
This next car comes from tipper TeleArrow who writes: Looks to be in surprisingly good shape for a Northeast Vehicle. Price might be a little high given the mileage. 22re should last. Find this 1992 Toyota Pickup offered for $7500 in Kittery, ME via craigslist.
The highlight of the annual Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach was an annual Pro/Celebrity race in Toyota street cars that was first run in 1977. The race has always had lots of carnage and is typically more fun to watch than the Indy/IRL/ChampCar parade of high-powered wing-equipped spec-chassis ‘race-cars’ held later in the day. […]