By on May 27, 2014

12 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAfter yesterday’s Corolla Junkyard Find, it seemed right to follow up with another, newer, Corolla. You know how you can tell when you’re a car’s final owner? Such was the case with the final owner of this much-abused Corolla, who drove his or her Corolla a couple thousand miles west, no doubt to be where cannabis is legal.
09 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis sort of paint job attracts a lot of attention from members of the law-enforcement community, especially when the driver looks like this guy or maybe even this guy.
15 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe house-paint-and-rattle-can-graffiti look also tends to enrage neighbors, which increases the chances that the car will get parking tickets and then get towed away by The Man when those tickets aren’t paid.
08 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe drive out from New Jersey probably featured a lot of E.Town Concrete on the stereo.
03 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinJudging from all the stickers and tags on the car, the owner must have been a big fan of Creature skateboards.
04 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMany Eastcrust stickers as well.
25 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou see many of these Grenade Gloves stickers on various mud-splattered SUVs and final-owner hoopties in Denver. They’ve become quite commonplace in junkyards, maybe even more so than ICP Hatchetman stickers these days.
13 - 1998 Toyota Corolla Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOdds are that this car’s first owner was a rental-car company, as is the case with so many Corolla LEs.


Or perhaps the original owner came from this Buick-like demographic.

It’s hard to imagine any car company being willing to torpedo their wholesome image with a song from the notoriously drug-addled Sly and the Family Stone back during the band’s heyday. What’s next, Iggy Pop selling Cadillacs?

OK, now we need some of Sly’s yodeling, from an era when cities were burning, bombs were dropping, and shit was getting crazier every day.

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33 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1998 Toyota Corolla LE, New Jersey Skater Edition...”


  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    I’m not surprised when I see a 10 year old Cavalier or Sunfire featured in one of these Junkyard Finds, but I am surprised to see a 16 year old Corolla. The skater who owned this thing last obviously practiced some sort of scorched earth ownership style but one would think that even this monstrosity could have had a second life south of the border.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Art/LeMons car in the making.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This is a hateful generation of Corolla. I drove one of these off and on for a while, and it was a cramped, had a rubber-band-powertrain, ass-on-the-floor seating and floaty yet easily discombobulated suspension.

    The redesign for 2003 that raised the hip point and cleaned up the ride couldn’t come soon enough.

    The Civic of the time was better. The Focus was waaaaaaay better. I’d hazard even the Neon was better; this car was like an indestructible, low-TCO Cavalier with better materials.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Focus didn’t arrive until the 99 or 2000 model year, this thing sold along Escort and Tracer in 1998. I worked for Enterprise during the late 90′s and early 2000′s. These cars ( and it’s Geo/Chevy Prizm sibling) were typical Toyota: bulletproof and boring compared to anything else compact in the Green E’s fleet.

      The Neon drove better, but was crude. The Cavalier and Sunfire were what you’d expect. The Escort/Tracer twins were more refined than the Cavalier/Sunfire, except they weren’t as powerful. The Toyota cars took their rental beating in stride, the same couldn’t be said for the others. Even the early Focus had many well documented problems, including door handles that broke easily. I still bought an 01 ZX3 with a stick because I liked my experience with the rentals.

    • 0 avatar
      kmoney

      We have had 4 Corollas (89,93,98,04). The 98 was far and away the worst made of them all. Crappy turn and wiper stocks that constantly broke, beach-towel upholstery that looked ghetto even for an ecobox, and plastics and build quality about half the level of any of the other Corolla model years. It was the only Corolla that we bought that felt like an actual POS.

    • 0 avatar
      Demetri

      Disagree. I owned a 2000 model, and the only truly bad thing about it was the cheap interior, and even that wasn’t any worse than the Focus. The 1ZZFE engine was strong with the 5-speed stick and returned excellent fuel economy. The steering was loose and unfeeling, but I wouldn’t say it handled poorly; once I got some good Yokohama rubber on it, I was actually carrying more speed through freeway ramps than the Mazda3 I replaced it with. Compared to the 2001-05 Civic, the Corolla was significantly faster and handled better; that generation of Civic plowed like a pig. The Protege put the Corolla to shame when it came to steering and handling, but it did that to every car in the class; the Protege’s weakness was the lame engine that was not only short on power, but returned poor fuel economy. I hated the seating position on the re-designed 2003 Corolla and it had worse performance than the old model. If you asked me to pick any Corolla from 1992 to today, this is the one I’d take, because all the later models got bigger, heavier, softer, and slower (aside from the XRS), and the model that came before this one, while nicer inside, didn’t have the 1ZZFE, and was basically the same car otherwise.

      • 0 avatar
        ttacgreg

        I have a 2000 with 90K on it. I like it very much. The ride is quite plush and smooth for a 2500 lb car. Granted it wallows if pushed hard in curves, but I did not buy it for that. I have another car for hooning in curves purposes. Moderate hypermiling nets me mid 40′s mpg. It has reserve power in 5th at 85mph on road trips. Would love to say it is bulletproof, but the 5-speed would not stay in 4th, and required a tranny rebuild at 80K. Ouch. Love the under stated clean styling, and it is a great speeder’s car. What cop looks at an every day little white Toyota sedan and thinks “speeder”? Verified in Wyoming that it shuts off the fuel supply at 110mph. :( Very happy motor at high RPM’s, I have to watch the tach while passing because it spins right up to RPM fuel cut off with no apparent wheezy decline in power in the last few hundred RPMs like some other vehicles I have driven that really did not offer any reward, or felt willing heading for the redline.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      There was no Focus in 1998, in USA.

  • avatar

    Iggy Pop is popular with ad creators, apparently. He appears in person in the ad for the John Varvatos edition of the Chrysler 300 and a while back Mitsubishi used “Lust For Life” in their Eclipse ads. Royal Caribbean cruise lines has also used Lust For Life. I wonder if anyone at those companies has bothered to read the full lyrics.

    Here comes Johnny Yen again
    With the liquor and drugs
    And a flesh machine
    He’s gonna do another strip tease

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      Nah, marketing types just love the bass drum beat, although you don’t have to go back that far in the music video timeline to see what the song was about in the Trainspotting video.

      Either way it’s a great tune!

      I’m waiting for the day when “Pretty Vacant” will be used to sell Swiffers.

      • 0 avatar
        skor

        Madison Ave seems to have a talent for bizarre music selections used to sell whatever it is they want to sell. Anyone see the recent Apple ads using the Pixies song ‘Gigantic’ to sell iPhones? Gigantic is Kim Deal’s ode to big penis. Yup, when I think of iCrap, I think big penis.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Man, I remember being a recent grad back in ’98 and trying to calculate the payments and insurance on this thing, a Sentra (SE was my dream) and a Civic EX and juggling the options to fit within my budget. Now look at it! Ugh. Ugh! Uhhhhgghhhhh!!!! My freakin’ eyes!!!

    • 0 avatar

      Heh. There was a girl I was friends with in high school with whose parents bought her a brand new ’98 Corolla. I feel ancient knowing that that is now a beater.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        It was fine for a girl but a dude driving one during the height of the dot.com era may as well have doused himself in pussy repellant. All the real men back then were taking their ladies out for sushi in their BMW M3s and Porsche Boxsters and wowing them with their stock options.

        That doesn’t change the fact that it was shiny, smelled very new, and was pretty cool. I note that this one was originally that medium green I liked so much back then that I believe was also available on the Supra. This is a disgrace, how they’ve sullied it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    This is anecdotal proof of the idea that the biggest leading indicator of the lifespan of a car is the care and maintenance it receives during its life.

    If you treat a “reliable” car like a ’98 Corolla with nothing but abuse, it will be chewed up, spit out, crusher fodder in 15 years. Superior engineering is only part of the equation.

    Nothing can overcome neglect and/or abuse. (OK, maybe a slant-6 Dodge Valiant, but otherwise…)

  • avatar
    matador

    I can’t even begin to explain this thing.

    Crabspirits???

    • 0 avatar
      AllThumbs

      Just another example of lack of impulse control, that’s all. Most of us have areas it kicks in– his (and I’m assuming it was a young man) was the unconventional notion that a car should look like this.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      My best “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Crabspirits” ™

      Alec was a skater boy.
      Klarissa said “See you later, boy”

      After another violation of drugged driving, Alec knew what he had to do. He parted ways with his girlfriend, and drove off in his Toyota. Klarissa was nice, but not too smart. After all, she did drive an American car. Alec could never understand this. Her maroon Grand Prix coupe made a ticking noise as she left the 7-11 parking lot.

      With his belongings in the back, Alec merged onto the freeway. He was excited about his new future. The little 1.8L engine wasn’t. Leaving the Garden State behind, Alec made his trip- slowly. Another Dodge Charger pulled in behind, lights ablaze. Missouri’s finest handed Alec his ticket- 76 in a 65. The officer let the balding tire go- he wanted this junkheap out of the state quickly.

      Alec reached his new home. The mile high city. About as high as he was. He looked for work, but no employer would take him. Eventually, he landed a job. From 12-6, he would stock product at the local WalMart. The job paid decently enough. Dominos would be on the table, and Call of Duty would be on the XBOX. This tradition continued for about two weeks. The parking tickets started to add up.

      Alec sat down to his cereal and weed at 10:30 AM. He thumbed through his favorite magazine. There it stood- the new Creature. He had to have it! He set the magazine down, and looked through the rest of the mail. He could cut his phone bill in half, needed to pay for his electricity, and had a notice from the city of Aurora’s impound lot.

      Alec had a decision to make. He had just enough to pay to get his car out of the impound lot, and just enough for the Creature.

      This would be a tough decision.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    L.E. does it stand for Looney or Loco Edition?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Mine is also a 98 with a crapload of miles but I depend on it for work and to get me around, so I try to keep it running as good as my budget allows, keep the mechanical end of it in good working order.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    When the 1998′s came out, it was as if it was ‘all new’, seen so many of them with the Edsel-ish tailights. But most were bought by reverse commuters driving out of Chicago’s yuppie hoods to the burbs. Friends shopping for a 1999 RAV4 in city were told “we were expecting Corolla buyers, we cant keep them in stock.” And not just women, usually guys had a black or red one. Corollas were not prevalent in rental firms just yet in ’98, it was still Chevy Malibu or Ford Contour.

    Anyway, there is a class of car buyer that couldn’t care less about ‘handling in the twisties’, and just wants the car to start every day. And they are not ‘sheep’, ‘dumb’, or ‘idiots’. Also, they don’t answer to car cliques. So, cheap reliability wins over impressing “friends”.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Enterprise, not attached to any automaker like Hertz, Budget, etc before they were split,, has always had quite a mix in their fleet. I drove plenty of Corollas and probably more Prizms from 1996 until I moved on from Enterprise in 2000.

      • 0 avatar
        guy922

        Yeah Prizms/Corollas were ubiquitous with Enterprise in the late 90′s. People in my family were big on using them for rentals when there was travel to be done. I recall that more often than not we would receive a Corolla or a Prizm. They had other mediocre compacts such as Escorts and Neons but the “NUMMI” twins seemed more plentiful, over at Enterprise at least….

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Amen!

  • avatar

    Generally I feel sorry for most of these junkyard cars, especially the ones with lots of potential life left in them. However this one heading to The Crusher feels a bit like a mercy killing.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Damn kids .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    matador

    If “Alec” didn’t spend this much money on paint and stickers, he could have afforded a better car!

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Apparently even crabspirits has been rendered speechless by this car.

  • avatar
    boogieman99

    A lot of fun was had with this car… the type that can’t be had when parents buy their kids a brand new Civic or Altima instead of a decade old beater

  • avatar
    guy922

    These Corolla’s were probably the crappiest iteration yet. I have a lot of memories and experience with 1988-92 Corollas. In High school and the early years after, many of my friends had those. A few have had 1998-02 Corollas as well. the ’98s felt so cheap with the lame upholstery and the low seating position. The anemic engine felt like it was pulled from a Tercel powertrain and it probably is the blandest looking of all corollas of late. I find well used 1988-97 Corollas more visually appealing than a well used 1998-02. The cheapness and butt ugly looks were somewhat remedied with the 2003 redesign.

    I used to drive a my Aunt’s 1999 Corolla CE at times. After driving that and getting into my 1992 Camry, the Camry felt like a whole other world. The Corolla is good at what it does best-Cheap and reliable transport. Those looking for refinement and a high quality interior would be best to look elsewhere.


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