Having driven quite a few mid-70s Corollas (these cars were as commonplace during my early driving years as are second-gen Tauruses today), I have to say that they were painfully slow even by the tolerant standards of the Middle Malaise Era. However, they were also shockingly reliable by the era’s standards, which means that these cars were still plentiful on the street until well into the 1990s. Since few outside a hard core of fanatics have shown much interest in pre-AE86 Corollas, these cars get scrapped as soon as something expensive breaks and/or the Rust Monster’s bites get too large. Here’s a Deluxe liftback that I found in a Colorado self-serve yard a few weeks back.
“A welded body, not a nuts-and-bolts body!”
This was the era of 5-digit odometers (I believe Toyota went to 6-digit units in the early 1980s), so there’s no telling if this is a 90,278-mile car or a 590,278-mile car.
The interior is in pretty good shape, so I’m guessing this car has no more than 190,278 miles on the clock.
While the 1976 Toyota subcompact version of “Deluxe” seems laughably Spartan today, this car did have some features you didn’t see on many cars in its cheapo price range.
Rear window defroster!
AM radio with slider-style tone and volume controls!
Most cars in Colorado don’t rust much, thanks to the area’s single-digit humidity, but Japanese cars of the 1970s were surpassed only by air-cooled Volkswagens in the “rust anywhere, rust everywhere” department.
It’s possible that this car spent much of its life in the Midwest, but this Colorado dealer emblem says otherwise.
The liftback hatch made these cars excellent haulers.
That is, they were excellent haulers if you didn’t have to move anything heavy… or carry passengers… or drive uphill. The pushrod 2TC was good for 75 horsepower, but it felt like less.
If you had one of these in your 2TC car, you needed plenty of patience when negotiating freeway onramps or attempting to pass a slow camper in the mountains. Still, these engines were hard to kill.