By on February 23, 2016

Aliza McKeigue with her 2001 Toyota Corolla, Image: Claire Brennan

Some fans of this website might call it an econobox. Others, who obviously don’t know better, might even call it a “penalty box.” But to Aliza McKeigue, 25, the humble 2001 Toyota Corolla is a beloved companion. She refers to the car affectionately in the third person singular, feminine.

So when Aliza left Boston, Massachusetts in January 2015, for what she thought was going to be six months of WWOOFing in Hawaii (that awkward acronym stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), she left the car at the old family home with her father and brother. But she soon found herself wanting to stay indefinitely, and began considering her longer term transportation options. Among other things, she had started recycling stuff — collectable and otherwise — at a local market, a business that she calls Funky Finds. She needed a vehicle. The more she looked at local used cars, the more she wanted her Corolla.

Aliza McKeigue at Funky Finds, Image: Claire Brennan

Aliza, whose mother is a close friend of mine, has had the car since ’08. When her grandmother gave it to her, it had all of 45,000 miles on the clock, to the best of her memory. It now has 115,000. Much of the mileage was accumulated on the frequent trips between Arlington, Massachusetts — home — and New London, CT, where Aliza spent four years at Connecticut College.

The Corolla has been a major nexus of Aliza’s social life. She was the first among her friends to have wheels. Besides all the in-town miles, there were numerous trips to the family campground in Bridgton, Maine, trips to NYC, and a big trip to Washington, DC, via Philly and Baltimore. And at 18, she and three of her best friends drove the Corolla to Montreal, where they spent a week.

Then there was that memorable 228 mile round trip to New London, for a school theater production with her friend, Claire (who took some of the photos of the reunion).

“I started to hear something rattling and dragging,” says Aliza. She pulled off the highway, into a little commercial area. Aliza called her then-boyfriend, Nick, a mechanic, for advice. “He’s like, is there any way you can tie [the exhaust pipe] up?” she says. Claire suggested using a clothes hanger, and got one from a dry cleaner. “She’s looking on YouTube as to how to tie it up, and I’m on my back under the car,” says Aliza. “I was able to secure it, and we drove the rest of the way to New London like that, and then back to Boston. It reminded me of the resilience of the car.”

Unlike a lot of kids, Aliza has been relatively meticulous about car care. That was obvious from the list of “Corolla rules” which she kept in the glove box, and the fact that she’d had her three best friends sign off on them. These included: “when we exit the car, the front passenger is responsible for turning off the iPod and putting it in the middle console;” and “passengers are responsible for removing their trash from the car,” she says.

In Hawaii, Aliza had searched for cheap cars on Craigslist, but everything she looked at was “crappy, dingy, and rusted out.” The sellers all seemed a bit shady. Anything decent cost $2,500-3,000, more than she wanted to pay.

“I was thinking about how the Toyota was sitting at home, not being used, not being loved, and it occurred to me that I could put some car racks on top and use it as if it were a van.” How to get it to Hawaii?

Aliza began calling friends who she thought might want to drive across the country. She knew her friend and recent roommate, David, was feeling stuck in a rut, and maybe could use an adventure. Furthermore, “he knew my beloved Corolla,” she says. He’d worked on the car fairly recently, and she thought it might need work prior to being driven across the country. She called him from the turmeric patch she was weeding at one of the organic farms she worked on. “I said, ‘Do you want to go on a road trip with my car?’ and immediately, he said, ‘Yes.’”

(It should be noted that when David moved into the group house where Aliza lived, she immediately figured — correctly, it turned out — that her mother would think she should marry him.)

They worked out budgets for the trip. Aliza would pay for lodging — which David kept low by camping out— and gas, parts, and car repairs, which worked out to around $300, plus a $500 thank you. LA to Hawaii cost $1,100.

But first, Aliza had to deal with some resistance from her family about shipping the car. “My dad and my brother were using it, and my dad wanted to keep it, as it was a good winter car,” she says.

But resistance went deeper than such practical matters. Shipping the car to Hawaii would mean that Aliza was actually living 6,000 miles from home, and not just taking time off to WWOOF, her mother complained to me at that time. I could deeply sympathize. Few parents like to see their children leave home, let alone leave the continent. And Aliza wasn’t just any progeny. She lights up the room wherever she goes.

The Corolla’s transcontinental expedition went without a hitch. It worked out especially well for David, says Aliza. At the time, he had just begun dating Emma — someone whom Aliza had met, and whom she trusted with the car. But taking a cross country road trip together demonstrated something important: Emma and David were not a good match. So they split up.

Actually, there was hitch, one that seems minor in the grand scheme, but that Aliza found majorly annoying at the time. The very morning the car was supposed to arrive — just as Aliza and Claire, who was visiting, were about to walk over to the Mamalahoa Highway to hitchhike the two hours to Hilo — the shipping company called. The car would be a day late.

But despite the delay, the reunion was a grand occasion. In this case, that old cliché about the value of pictures over words is apt, so I’ll say no more.

Aliza McKeigue and her friend Claire rejoice with the 2001 Toyota Corolla, Image: Claire Brennan

 

Aliza McKeigue with her 2001 Toyota Corolla, Image: Claire Brennan

These days, Aliza devotes most of her working time to Funky Finds. She travels the island in the Corolla every week, collecting stuff at thrift stores, yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales, as well as those waste depots people euphemistically call “transfer stations.” Then, on weekends ,she gets up at 4:30 a.m., cramming the Corolla to the roof racks with her finds, a process she likens to assembling a puzzle. She then drives to the Ocean View Market, and sets up, a process that takes an hour and a half.

“I’m the only one who has it organized so it looks like a shop,” she says.

People always want to help Aliza pack the car when she leaves, especially if it has started to rain. Hawaii is just that sort of a place. But she has to do it herself, she says, because she’s the only one who can reassemble the puzzle.

As for the big island, “it’s kind of a magical place,” says Aliza, going on about the location in the middle of the ocean, the volcanic mountain, Kilauea, and the amazing diversity of climate and geography. All this brings out the best in people, making the dream of a sharing society something of a reality, the way Aliza describes it.

“When you want something, it just kind of manifests,” she says. It almost feels as if the Corolla arrived thus.

[Images: Claire Brennan]

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200 Comments on “Aloha, Corolla: A Reunion on Hawaii...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    (edited out the garbage —ms)

    Even old Corollas have people who love them. My wife has a deep emotional attachment to her 2005 Vibe even as she approaches 130,000 miles and we’re talking about the next child we’re going to have.

    • 0 avatar
      Felix Hoenikker

      My son loves his 2005 Vibe too. Last week, he came by to hard wire his dash cam so I ended up in my unheated, 15 degree F garage assisting with the project. At least there was no wind in the garage. I would have waited for spring. I’m getting too old for that kind of discretionary stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      ihbase

      It is interesting to note that the owner of the subject of the article appears to be an attractive and happy person and the bulk of the comments (PrincipalDan & below) appear to evidence a number of ugly and sad chauvinists.

      Holzman might think twice next time about exposing good people to the internet wrath of the impotent.

      -Mike

    • 0 avatar
      Darwinian

      @Dan…And what are you driving again these days? Last time this Corolla hate came up, it was an F150 and a scooter.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        How is my comment “Corolla Hate” – I said some people love them. That was more like a reminder that “HEY B&B, there are people who love their Toyotas even though they are largely soulless appliances.” My wife loves her Vibe (although would somehow love it less if it was called Matrix – she’s got a thing for Pontiac.)

        A true Automotive Enthusiast has an enthusiasm for nearly all things automotive. If your enthusiasm is narrow than define oneself that way: A Mustang Enthusiast, A Corvette Enthusiast, A Ferrari Enthusiast etc.

        Not that it is really any of your business but I’ve had a 1982 Chevy Celebrity, a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, a 1997 Escort station wagon, a 2004 F150 Heritage, a 2010 Toyota Highlander, and a 1967 Ford Mustang. I have loved and been enthusiastic about each one in its own way for its own qualities. I have also found things to dislike about every vehicle I have ever owned.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “When you want something, it just kind of manifests,”

    I’d like a navy blue 2009 Bentley Brooklands, with parchment leather! I want it!

    Oh, didn’t happen. Probably because I live in the real world.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    This is great.Good for her and her family. So, she’s farming and running her own small business on the side? Nice. Its refreshing to see millenials portrayed in a positive manner.

  • avatar
    rentonben

    The secret to making the Corolla appealing: Strategically placed beautiful people to hide it.

  • avatar
    baconator

    Good for her! Cars are at their best when they enable freedom in someone’s lifestyle.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      “Good for her! Cars are at their best when they enable freedom in someone’s lifestyle.”

      @baconator,

      This may be the single best post I have read on this site.

      David,

      Good job. It is good to see a positive story on how any car can have an impact on someone’s life.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you 2drsedanman!

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Off-topic, but this wouldn’t be TTAC if everything was on-topic:

        2drsedanman, what would you consider the last 2-door sedan? I’d say it’s the Ford Fairmont.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          There was a 2-door LTD after the Fairmont’s demise, yeah?

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Fox-body? Nope. The Panther LTD Crown Victoria had a “pillared hardtop” until 1987, but I do consider that distinct from “2-door sedan” mostly because of the marketing.

        • 0 avatar
          2drsedanman

          For me, the 1978-1981 Chevy Malibu 2 door. I had a 1965, 67, and 69 Chevy 2 door Biscayne in the past. Love those cars. The 78-81 back windows didn’t roll down in the two door model but I still consider it the last two door sedan, at lease that I would own. Currently looking for one now, actually.

          As a matter of fact, the back windows on the four door sedans and wagons on this model Malibu didn’t roll down either. Made for hot summers if you didn’t get the optional a/c.

        • 0 avatar
          Compaq Deskpro

          The Dodge Challenger is the only 2 door sedan, distinct from coupe, in production.

          Feel free to prove me wrong, I considered Merc S-coupe and the Beemer 6 but they are too swoopy and coupy.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            What exactly are the parameters here for this designation?

          • 0 avatar
            2drsedanman

            My original definition for a two door sedan or “post car” was one in which there was a post between the front and back glass, which became readily apparent when the front and back glass was rolled down together (think mid 60’s Biscayne, Fairlane, etc). The cars also came in a two door hardtop in the same model. The two door sedans were usually a little lighter, stiffer, and cheaper; ideal for drag racers on a budget.

            The lines blurred as the cars got newer. I would consider late 70’s and early 80’s Malibu, Fairmonts two door sedans too, but not Monte Carlos. Does that make sense? I guess it’s like porn or art, you know it when you see it. I think the Challenger would still fit in the two door coupe category though.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            In the mid-late ’70s, most true hardtops were replaced with “pilarless hardtops,” meaning they once again became sedans, right? But wait–the definition of sedan doesn’t mean everything with a B-pillar is a sedan. It could still be a coupe–just not a hardtop coupe. The word “coupe” comes from the French verb couper, to cut, referring in my mind to either a cut-back rear window or a shorter WB. So once the pillar vs. pillarless distinction was lost, IMO it’s still a coupe if it has a distinct silhouette from the 4-door sedan.

            So…is the ’78 Malibu a coupe or 2-door sedan? It may have been a 2-door sedan in ’78, but after 1980, when the sedan adopted a more formal roofline, the 2-door became a coupe by default.

            Even though the early coupe versions of the Celebrity, 6000, Ciera, and Century look square enough that they could arguably be 2-door sedans, they’re juuuust sloped enough in the back that the rooflines don’t match. The same goes for the coupes of the FWD Ninety-Eight and Electra.

            Another important distinction that must be brought up is the price point: 2-door sedans are meant to be the cheapest option, so the last true 2-door full-size sedans were the 1969 Chevy Biscayne and Bel-Air and 1969 Ford Custom.

            The 2-door Fairmont would’ve been a 2-door sedan even if it hadn’t been explicitly called such in the brochure, because the place of coupe was already occupied by the Futura.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Land sakes, I’m gonna have to make an Excel sheet to keep all these parameters in line.

            So if the roof line must match, and there must be a trunk – wouldn’t the ’92 Escort two door count as such? Pillar between doors, lots of glass behind the front door glass.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Even if they are a CUV?

      gas on fire

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    I can corroborate that there are quite a few Corolla and Camry here in Arlington (thanks to the proximity of Lexington Toyota) but Subaru still seems to be the (un)official town brand of choice.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    A) I grew up not far from Connecticut College, and my mom went there. Didn’t think it had much of a hippy vibe, but I’ve been wrong before.

    B) I’d drive a Corolla too if it meant residence in Hawaii, where a nice car is basically superfluous anyways. A truck/SUV might be a little better suited to exploring, but Corolla isn’t bad.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    She should celebrate the occasion by reworking The Knack’s classic “My Sharona” into “My Corolla”.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Ooh, my little hungry one, hungry one
      Open up a package of my bologna
      Ooh, I think the toast is done, the toast is done
      Top it with a little of my bologna

      Never gonna stop, eat it up
      Such a tasty snack, I always eat too much, then throw up
      But I’ll soon be back for my, my, my, yi, yi, woo
      M-m-m-my bologna

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        Nicely done.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        You should give Weird Al credit, not everyone has heard his version.

      • 0 avatar
        06V66speed

        That’s a nice rendition.

        But what geographic region are you from where they pronounce such (“buh-low-nee”) as buh-loan-uh? Correct spelling aside…?

        Just sayin’.

        I’m thinking everyone here has a hangover or something. These comments are golden today.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          The “ng” is pronounced “ny-.” See also: cognac, lasagna. The common American pronounciation “baloney” actually comes from the Irish word “blarney,” as both have come to mean “nonsense” in American slang. So when you’re referring to the deli product, it is more properly pronounced “bolonya sausage.”

          Even though “baloney” is more widely used, “bolonya” fits Weird Al Yankovic’s intent of parodying “My Sharona.”

      • 0 avatar

        I actually still have a 45 of that song somewhere in the garage. Met Weird Al once, and I wish I’d had it with me for his autograph. Tidbit: he wears size 14 shoes.

        Those who brought negative comments to this entry have forgotten the utility, freedom and exhilaration their first set of wheels brought them. Pity.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        More tactful than Cheech and Chong’s version………. “My Scrotum”

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I’ve been married 38 yrs to my wife and 18 to my Corolla, so I understand this lady perfectly well.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Good for you on both counts, Corollaman; 25 years next month to my beautiful wife, and about 14 to Blue Goose, and still counting. And I also understand; I think any car that manages to stay in the family that long earns that kind of status; regardless of make.

    • 0 avatar
      ericb91

      My daily driver is a 2001 Toyota Camry LE. 4cyl, 4spd automatic. Has about 133,000 miles on it. My in-laws bought it new as a demonstrator, sold it to my wife when she was 18 and when we got married it became ours. Now my wife has a 2010 Honda Odyssey LX and I will be driving this Camry until Kingdom Come. Is it fast? No. Is it sexy? Definitely not. But it’s paid off, relatively fuel-efficient, comfortable and more reliable than the tide. Can’t beat that.

  • avatar
    cpu

    I bought a 1995 corolla with 156K on the odometer for my daughter to drive to high school. she was a Sophomore. She drove it 2 years.

    My younger daughter drove it 2 more years. Her boyfriends hauled Subaru engines and engine hoists from Pick and pull in the trunk. It made several round trips from Seattle to Utah.

    It was my daily driver for 3 years.

    I sold it to a coworker whose daughter is driving it on a daily 70 mile commute. Its approaching 300,000 miles.

    I replaced a leaking radiator for about $80 and its had regular maintenance, but no other actual repairs.

    What more can you ask from a transportation appliance?

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I helped my friend locate and buy a similar vintage (’98) E110 body Corolla for his then-gf-now-wife, who grew up in NYC and never got her driver’s license until she was in grad school. Scooped her up a 140k example down in rust-free Atlanta for $2200 as I recall. A bit of faded paint but otherwise clean. Side airbag warning light on like all of them with these optional bags do, and a leaky valve cover gasket were the only notable maladies. I forget how they solved the light issue, but the valve cover gasket was a quick fix for my mechanically apt friend. A high pressure power steering hose burst within the first week of ownership, but that too was a quick and cheap DIY fix. These are just about the perfect first car/commuter beater, along with the previous 93-97 cars which these are basically updated versions of. The one issue that is commonly encountered is oil burning at higher mileages on cars that didn’t get timely oil changes. As long as you keep an eye on it, these are just about perfect in terms of no major components failing systematically, no interference engines to worry about, and cheap and easy to work on. I personally give these Corollas the nod over similar vintage Civics for their more robust suspensions and longer lasting CV axles. Cushier and quieter riding as well, and slightly torquier engines that are happier saddled to an automatic transmission (IMO).

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Just goes to show: the cheapest used car is the one you already have.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    I enjoy any story about a person who loves his/her car. Well done, Holzman, well done.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I’m not mentioning any names, but some of you need to lighten up. We spent the last week of January on the big island. I had never been to Hawaii before. You pretty much need a car there to get anything done. After seeing some prices on ratty used cars there, I think she did the right thing by importing her Corolla.
    As for her entrepreneurial business, as long as it pays the rent who are we to criticize?
    We met a Canadian woman from Alberta near the end of the road just south of Hawi on the northern coast. Her daughter and husband run a farm that borders the ocean. She said the future son in law stopped on the big island 20 some years ago on his way to New Zealand where he planned to live. Instead, he stayed and got a job on a farm. He and his wife now own the farm.
    So yes, opportunities do manifest themselves there.

    • 0 avatar
      Felis Concolor

      While still living in HI in the 1980s I would occasionally hear the sad tale of a new acquaintance who had sold their decent VW Bug or Bus while in CA before moving to the islands with the thought, “I’ll just use the money to buy another one once I get there and save on the shipping!” It was the same familiar refrain to hear their surprise when they learned how much more treasured those vehicles were in the local market, which went equally well for various old Datsun and Toyota standbys.

      Better to pay the $750 (at the time) shipping and be guaranteed your preferred ride be delivered to the docks than stuck looking for a hard deal on a “Maui Cruiser” or similarly rotted out hulk.

      And while I departed that state decades ago, I never begrudge those who manage to find a niche which allows them to live in the most beautiful and remote location on the planet.

      Congratulations, Aliza; may all your days in the islands be wonderful.

      P.S. Right hand drive? It would appear one of the photographs used for this article is reversed.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Corollas are good cars. Some people love them and take care of them properly. Other people neglect and abuse them, taking their quality and relibility for granted.
    It’s nice to read about someone that appreciates their car.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I had a ’98 Chevy Prizm which I eventually sold to my parents (who still have it), and I feel secure in calling it a penalty box. It’s noisy (not helped by the 3-spd auto), the interior is cheap, and it’s pretty much a mediocre vehicle. (And was even when I still owned it and it was new-ish.) It wasn’t a horrible car, but it certainly had nothing really to distinguish it.

    I suppose it wasn’t bad as the first car I ever bought (it was an ex-rental I got a good deal on), but it certainly wasn’t anything more than a “good first car”. (And I’ll never forgive it for blowing a radiator the weekend a good friend was supposed to graduate from college; it was only a 2-yr-old car at the time. For all it’s foibles, my now 12-yr-old “unreliable” Passat went about 10 years before it had it’s first “repair it now” repair.)

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    So, this woman got an education, moved away from home, is saving her resources and considering expenditures, not buying material things unnecessarily, and running a small business to make money. And she’s still not good enough for the ‘Best And Brightest’? What in the heck is wrong with people?

    • 0 avatar
      Sloomis

      She’s female and liberal. Two big strikes.

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        I’m liberal and a male and I’m finding some of the Best and Brightest to be quite boorish.

        Get with the times folks, it’s the 21st Century, not all of us want to go back to the 1950s.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Right, better to march forward to the abyss than to return to the golden age of American power.

          You is so smrt dawg!

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/603:_Idiocracy

          • 0 avatar
            Sloomis

            Ah yes, America’s golden age – when men were men, women were second-class citizens, and minorities knew their place. Such a pity we’ve moved on from those days…

          • 0 avatar
            omer333

            I see you have a MAKE AMERICA GREAT hat that was made in China.

          • 0 avatar
            omer333

            Alright, I’ll agree the 1950s were awesome in the sense that our infrastructure was better, kids actually got a good education, wages and job opportunities were better; but as Sloomis put it, socially the 1950s sucked.

          • 0 avatar
            fvfvsix

            @Sloomis-

            My grandfather was a prominent Black business owner in the southern town I grew up in. Please miss me with that “…and minorities knew their place in the 1950’s crap”.

            You people need to take your history coursework with a grain of salt.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Sloomis was speaking in general terms (and I hope you caught his sarcasm too). You were speaking from personal experience. Both are correct because they aren’t comparable.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “better to march forward to the abyss”

            didn’t we cover lemmings in another thread?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Oh, the 50’s were awesome for the T-Bird, Chevy Bel Air,and Corvette.

            Since this is a car site we might as well talk about cars.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “Alright, I’ll agree the 1950s were awesome in the sense that our infrastructure was better, kids actually got a good education, wages and job opportunities were better; but as Sloomis put it, socially the 1950s sucked.”

            yep, not least since we were in a recession and involved in an unwinnable foreign war…

            but it’s not like we ever made *that* mistake again.

            Right?

            Right?

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            @Sloomis:Ah yes, America’s golden age – when men were men, women were second-class citizens, and minorities knew their place. Such a pity we’ve moved on from those days…

            Ask the black community today how liberalism worked out for them. (Hint: it hasn’t)

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “My grandfather was a prominent Black business owner in the southern town I grew up in. Please miss me with that “…and minorities knew their place in the 1950’s crap”.

            You people need to take your history coursework with a grain of salt.”

            if you’re telling the truth (and I’m not so convinced you are) then you need to realize that one counter-example doesn’t disprove anything. If you’re going to claim Jim Crow/”separate but equal” segregation and voter disenfranchisement wasn’t widespread back then, just come out and say it so we can rip you to shreds for the liar you are.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I feel the hate flowing through you.

        Sean Hannity has indoctrinated you well.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      (no —ms)

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Sorry, I didn’t realized you had been appointed Namer Of What Is A Real Job And What Is Not.

        • 0 avatar
          DeeDub

          (shtaaap it. —ms)

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Nice way of dodging the issue. Why does what somebody else does for a living bother you?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Drzhivago138 – “Why does what somebody else does for a living bother you?”

            Being a farmer you will know the origins of “pecking order”.

            Some people feel better if they think they have more feathers on their ass then on someone else’s.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            We haven’t had livestock since 1994. My father barely remembers having chickens, which dates them to around 1968. The chickenhouse was his wood shop from about 1975 on, and is now mostly a junk storage room. Someone who’s been WWOOFing would probably know more about chickens than me.

            (But yes, I know about the origins of “pecking order” and other idioms. PWC requires proficiency in copyediting, which requires proficiency in grammar, which requires proficiency in the basic history of English.)

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Doctor Yuri Andreyevich Zhivago – you are a Gentleman and a Scholar.

            Always a pleasure.

      • 0 avatar
        Dawnrazor

        The level of sour grapes and resentment in some of these comments is borderline pathological! Are you guys truly cynical and bitter to this degree? Are you stuck in 50s-era chauvinism? Bored and nothing better to do than troll a car blog comments section? “Best and Brightest” indeed…

        Counterpoint:

        This woman is the very definition of “winning”!

        She had big dreams after graduation and was eager to get down to the business of carving out a rewarding, livable, and enjoyable life for herself as she was facing a major life transition. She used the education and life experience gained in college to overcome challenges and make smart decisions, and can now be seen in the photo above smiling and triumphant because this effort has resulted in her (and her car!) getting settled in one of the most beautiful and expensive locales on earth. That which you arrogantly dismiss as “a hobby” rather than an “actual job” seems to be working just fine for her present situation. Her parents should be VERY proud!

        A great car story, and a great human story!

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          to some people, the *only* measure of success is how close you get to the corner office. anything less simply makes you a failure at life.

          I on the other hand have made it clear to my management that if they want to get rid of me, the fastest way to do it is promote me (the next level up from where I am is supervisor.) No way do I need that level of stress.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      @PeriSoft

      EXACTLY this.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    I though it was not a bad idea until I saw that her parents want to keep the Corolla home because they were using it.

    If they were using it why spend so much to move it across the country and then on a boat? I know there’s economical value but she should have just pay a bit more or settle for less and buy a local one.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “I know there’s economical value but she should have just pay a bit more or settle for less and buy a local one.”

      Some people have a hard time understanding the difference between (in this case) a car with 115k miles that you put 70k of them on yourself, and a car with 115k miles of unknown history.

      They are not the same.

      • 0 avatar

        Buying a car “on island” isn’t like flipping open cars.com and searching your five nearest cities for that unicorn Brown Manual No longer diesel wagon….Probably a lot easier to replace the corolla in the CONUS than buy one on island, and it isn’t unknown for parents to help out offspring with a car…I consider that a good thing, not cause for cynicism

    • 0 avatar

      @PandaBear
      Her ***father*** was using it. But he has his own car and had no need for her car. And it IS Aliza’s car.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Remarkable young lady and a great story. Thanks, David.

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      Yes, remarkable.

      Keep the remarks coming, as long as they are glowing.
      We put her life on display, and we approve…so must you.
      Cause, think about it, how can you be the B&B if you aren’t as evolved as me?

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    What a wonderful article about a wonderful young person. Thanks for the article, David. I hope Aliza is smart enough to see through all the looser comments here.

  • avatar

    I sometimes sell at hamfests (swap meets for ham radio types) on the side, so I get the whole “loading the car is a puzzle that only the owner can solve” thing. With my previous vehicles (a Ranger with a tonneau cover and my current DD Pathfinder), everything had to be loaded just so or it didn’t fit. I helped a friend move with the Ranger, and he put like 2 things in the bed and declared it full – with a little moving around I was able to get the rest of his apartment in there.

    I was recently gifted my parent’s old Plymouth Voyager for use as my hamfest/auction beater, and with the seats permanently in storage, I now have the opposite problem – it can hold way more stuff than I could reasonably fit in a tailgate space or 2.

    As far as our lovely hippy corolla driving friend, while I suspect we wouldn’t see much in common on politics, I admire her ability to find an opportunity to do something she enjoys in a place she likes – and I understand the appeal and excitement of making money off things most people see as junk.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “loading the car is a puzzle that only the owner can solve”

      Tell me about it! My father has been bringing farm literature to farm toy shows for the past 30 years. This year I helped him pack 3 tables worth of literature, a spinning rack, and a hand truck into a 6.5′ pickup bed with topper. Granted, we had to put the posters in the back seat.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey ! Does this 706 work on 11 meters ?

  • avatar

    Put me in the fan club. Aliza is clearly following her dream, and having driven on “the big island”, cars there spend a lot of time in traffic, there isn’t much that looks interstate, and most is two lanes, 40-50 mph, max. A used Corolla is a good idea, and perfect for conditions. Most cars stagger around till they can’t move, since the demands aren’t too high and I don’t think they have inspection. There are groups of guys on Harleys, and neither the riders or bikes have been washed since they hit the island. The spirit of the island is to drive nice, and while I saw traffic, I didn’t see any aggression.

    Anyone who has ever lived on an island is kind of like a farmer…very good at not wasting things, and/or adapting what you have to what you need to do. Sounds like she is quite good at that skill, which is useful anywhere.

    There also isn’t a huge amount of money…you live in rural world, not a big city or middle class suburb. There are lots of trophy homes and those who service them, but you don’t get rich living in what is the closest thing to a real Paradise that exists.

    Puerto Rico has the highest percentage of surviving RWD Toyotas in the world…the resident just keep rebuilding them, they are simple, and don’t rust out. Another island oddity.

    Hawaii, being American, does not have the marvelous cornucopia of world market cars you see on other islands, just US of A beaters. My wife was entertained by seeing how entertained I was looking at actual “Great Wall” cars (not so great…)

    There’s no need to rush headlong into the harness of mortgage, tuition and kids….not in that order. Why is the path to happiness ‘no fun’….I disagree.

    Go surf for me. Better yet, a nice two tank dive with sea turtles….and if you are reading, ignore the cranky old men with keyboards. mahalo !

  • avatar

    Looks like I need to go to the garage to get my ban hammer.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Let me translate a number of these comments.

    How dare someone be happy, know what they want and be living the dream in sunny Hawaii.

    They should give up on such foolishness, live to be miserable and watch the world pass them by, just like me.

    Because my life sucks, and the power of anonymity of the internet, I will attack and tear down this person based on my assumptions of their life choices.

    My life sucks – hence your life should suck too.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    To the point of the story, I find a picture of a Corolla with Massachusetts plates in Hawaii completely AWESOME.

  • avatar
    AprilFools

    Fun article. I thought the cost to import to Hawaii would be much higher.

    She loved the car enough to bring it thousands of miles. My 06 Corolla has been wonderful, it’s fun to drive, and been reliable for 10 year.

    Someday I’ll have a Miata, but even then I will keep the Corolla. I can understand how she feels about the car.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Lady isn’t receiving anything of astonishing monetary value (come on, it’s a Corolla, it’s basic transportation).

    She isn’t gaining any unfair social or career advantage–her family did not hand her ownership of the Mauna Loa factory.

    She isn’t gaining any significant benefit at the expense of the US or HI state governments, or other residents in her communities.

    And she is perfectly happy, at least to the extent that Holzman lets on.

    I personally prefer articles that are more technical with the car itself, but I see nothing but a humbly positive feel-good story. And some of us want her to “try harder” to be what? Wall Street Wolf? Detroit Car Czar? Buyer of a brown diesel manual AWD wagon?

    Sometimes the B&B can be surprisingly American–jealously intolerant of those with goals that are different from their own.

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    I quite like this article! It’s nice to see someone following their dreams! I never knew so much could fit in a Corolla sedan! Making me think how much I can fit into a Corolla Hatchback!

    She seems to have a good experience with the Corolla (especially since it’s been transported cross country).

    So have I as well, in my parents 1996 Corolla (only at 110k (km)/about 68.5k mi). Not the sportiest car on earth, but it’s nice to drive (and handles reasonably well too) The 1.6 4A-FE is a reasonably nice engine for it’s purpose. Yeah the 4-Speed Automatic is a little dated these days, but it works.

    As mentioned before, an MA plate in Hawaii is pretty cool (and probably unique) as well!

  • avatar
    Chan

    It’s actually surprisingly affordable to ship a car between Hawaii and the US mainland. I came close to buying a car from Hawaii once, to the point of figuring out which shipper I wanted to use.

    Major enclosed trailer carriers charge nearly $2000 for coast-to-coast runs on the continental US.

    The negative comments seem to be from the “Why aren’t you an alpha male?” crowd, who actually are beta and wish they were alpha.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Let Aliza be Aliza. Most of us work at jobs we really not that crazy about and own a lot of stuff we really don’t need and that does not bring true happiness. I get why she wanted to ship her car. I have an old truck that I have had for 17 years that I would not trade for a newer one. My truck still looks new and is very reliable. As for picking up others discards and reselling them, why not. Waste not, want not. How does anyone know what is best for Aliza, only Aliza knows what is best for her. Thanks David for the great article with a true human interest.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      Clearly, according to what I’ve read here earlier today, a stranger commenting on TTAC knows what’s best for her.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Jeff S – I love my job but that is partially because I have the ability to change specialities almost as often as I want (or am willing to spend time studying).
      I know a guy before grade school. He was always mister popular and is a handsome fellow. After graduating high school his mom got him a job with the city’s municipal works department.
      32 years later I’m driving my truck through road construction and there he is. He isn’t a supervisor in a white helmet, nor is he a machine operator. He is standing in coveralls holding the traffic control sign.

      Jack’s rant about settling makes perfect sense for some people.

  • avatar
    Redshift

    A very nice story and thanks for sharing. Nice to read a positive story about a person doing good things and living their dream. You be you Aliza.

    Taking the car seems to makes all the sense in the world, both financially and spiritually. Bringing a little bit of home and all kinds of memories with it.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Great article, Holzmann. I’m glad I didn’t read it until after Stevenson cleaned up the comments.

    • 0 avatar
      Whittaker

      These kinds of comments confuse me.

      If you didn’t see the comments how do you know their deletion merited your approval?
      Or do you just trust anyone in a position of authority to do the right thing.

      The editor(s) of this website put the young lady’s lifestyle on public display.
      Now, it seems, only comments approving that lifestyle will be allowed.
      I’m not sure that meshes with my understanding of TTAC.

      Moderation is a necessary and difficult job.
      But is discussion of moderation standards off-limits now?
      If TTAC is changing and anything but approval for female “non-public” figures is grounds for banning, M.S. should just come right out and tell us.
      That way us non-PC types can go quietly and the thinner-skinned can continue fortifying their safe space.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Whittaker – I saw a couple of the comments before they were deleted. You can approve or disprove without being disrespectful and without belittling the protagonist.

        Too many people get mixed up with exercising the right to freedom of speech.

        Any right comes with responsibility.

        The responsibility is in exercising your rights without adversely impacting someone else’s rights.

        “UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS”
        “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

        Speech isn’t free to strip others of their dignity.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The overall story feels like a rom com I see the preview for and then avoid (oh and David would have to come back at the end of course and realize they are perfect together etc) but since evidently Aliza’s business was the source of scrutiny I’d like to weigh in after the fact. I’m a sucker for finding diamonds in the rough, and she is operating the kind of place I would stop for a visit and most likely patronize. I see her as finding new purpose in old or discarded things for a small premium, which I am happy to pay if I like an item. I don’t think she’s going to IPO Funky Finds anytime soon but don’t forget a website business built on fees from *jitney cabs* is worth like forty billion so the world is just a tad upside down and anything can happen.

    Oh and did anyone just take in the fact this girl LIVES IN FRICKING HAWAII?

    Haters gonna hate Aliza but you’re living in paradise, I wish I could join you.

  • avatar
    oldladycarnut

    David, thank you for posting a fun story. Of course the cynical misogynists had to chime in just because they can hide behind anonymity and spew their venom.

    Great story!

  • avatar
    jnik

    Reminds me of an old Robert Klein comedy skit:”We’re here in beautiful Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to test the Ford Escort against the Toyotq, from another land”!

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Kudos and blessings to Aliza – this kid has her head on straight and is adventuring out there like I wish we all had the chance to at her age (I did as well).

    I’m a stone’s throw from 60; a close childhood friend has been roaming South and Central America for the last 25 years helping empower especially women in villages with how to upgrade and build modern, protective housing, develop clean water sources and the like. She’s doing incredible work and lives richly while maintaining an oath of near-poverty. She is happy and content. I wish that for everyone, yet it sadly escapes so many.

    Back to Aliza – the fact that perceived lowly Corolla is her faithful friend and loyal companion speaks volumes as to her moral compass. We should all be that rich. Rock on kid.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Nice story. Nice kid loves her car and finds a way to use it to help her live a dream. Sounds like she has a good and noble steed that has earned and repaid her care and admiration.

  • avatar
    Synchromesh

    As a former resident of the Godforsaken hell hole named Massachusetts I don’t get why anybody in their right mind would want to bring a nearly 20 year old car that spent most of its life in New England anywhere but the junk yard. I’ve owned several cars while living there and aside from Miatas which weren’t driven in the winter and the Subaru which was under 2 years old when it left the state – my cars quickly turned to junk. Not only because of the awful weather and horrible pothole-ridden salted roads but also because drivers are just so amazingly awful at driving.

    So why bring a car that’s thoroughly trashed and probably quite rusty to Hawaii? I can see spending money importing a clean CA vehicle but a MA one? Not on your life. Maybe I’m just too rational.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      @ synchromesh, you must of missed the part where this car was originally owned by an elderly lady and averaged roughly 6-7k miles per year the first several years of its life. Probably didn’t see much salt until Aliza got the car and began using it for college. Not only that, but older cars do rust in Hawaii. It’s not exactly a hot spot for pristine 15+ year old vehicles. For the $1900 it cost her to get the car there she probably couldn’t find a car in as good of condition as her Corolla in 10 years of searching. And I’m not sure how you expect her to import a car from California. Buy a car sight unseen via the internet? Spend money on air fare, lodging, food, cab fares, etc and go car searching? You do remember this is a young lady don’t you? Not an ASE mechanic.

      I think your “rational” compass is pointed in the wrong direction.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        true. Sunk cost. Flipping it and acquiring another could yield wasted resources. There is something to be said about service history too.

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        @mason

        Regardless of the fact that granny owned it a while ago, at this point it’s a well worn 15+ year old MA car. And that means it’s going to be ready for the junkyard soon enough. New England exacts a major toll on daily vehicles and I personally would rather buy a CA vehicle with 200K miles than a MA one with 100K. And there are ways to remotely have a CA car inspected including forums, friends and agencies.

        But on the other side, I do see your point. It would probably cost more to get a better car, especially for somebody who doesn’t know much about them. So perhaps there was some logic to it although that doesn’t mean this car was a worthy investment down the road either.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The devil you know…

  • avatar
    threeer

    This is so my son. Sure, different lifestyles and careers…at 24 years old, my son is a pilot and 1st LT in the Air Force. When his other Air Force Academy graduate buddies were taking $30000 loans to buy Mustangs, Camaros and Corvettes, he stuck with the 1997 Tercel We Gave him when he was in high school (this was in 2008). He has driven it from Colorado Springs to Sheppard AfB in Texas to Oklahoma and just recently all the way to Deleware. With no debt and a solid income (as well as no family), he could easily afford virtually any car he wants. But he simply won’t give up his beloved Tercel, now with well over 230k on it. So what does that make him? Hmmmm…given the bird he flies, he may well be stationed in Hawaii…maybe he should be introduced to Aliza and they could park their old Toyota together…she’s rather cute. Lol…

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    Thank you for sharing, David. I can identify with Aliza’s attachment to her utility vehicle. Since I hold onto vehicles, my cars always tend to become a ‘companion’ as I travel through life.

  • avatar
    Notadude

    My husband drove a Geo Prizm, a rebadged Corolla, for many years. He only traded it when we had a baby and we needed more room for our stuff. That car was not exciting, but it was thoroughly dependable. Sweet article. I like to hear about women and the cars they love. And all my cars are she cars, all of them named.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    I love toyotas for there reliability. Both the Camry and the Corolla are good examples. A few years back, a friend at a camp of mine explained that they owned a 22 year old car, a old Toyota Corolla. It had something like 200k on the clock and, was overall “inpossible to kill”

    I’m so tempted to buy my neighbor’s 2000 Toyota Corolla and, use it as a winter beater!

  • avatar
    stuki

    Man, Hawaii is nice…..

    At some level of perfection of execution, reliability in and of itself can give a car the much vaunted, hard to define, “soul.” Mid 80s to early oughts Corollas fall into that category. They may forever stand as the ultimate high point, of what is achievable wrt sheer perfection of a production process aimed at creating and mass producing a complex mechanical product. Those behind them are now mostly retired, and I’m not convinced a culture simultaneously able and willing to match their achievements will arise again. At least not for a long, long time.

  • avatar
    SomeGuy

    Reading the commentary here is amusing as hell:

    1.) Mark (as I haven’t read your follow-up piece about the ban hammer yet), please stop calling the commenters here the “Best and Brightest.” That title is a little too generous.

    2.) Interesting article showing a love for a simple car. I find it far more interesting than some fluff piece about a 196X Mustang. I personally do not think I would go through that much trouble for a car I owned at some point; however, based on her business model it seems using an item for its entire life makes sense, so getting the car back does as well.

    3.) How do the commenters know this girl went to college? Didn’t see that anywhere in the article, and last time I checked, we don’t know her student loan situation, if there even is one. My wife went to college with zero help from the government or her parents, and graduated debt free.

    4.) If I had children, I would rather they try a hundred times to be business owners with NO college education than some shill who just went to college, got a crap degree, then bemoans that “the man” is holding him or her down. What she is doing is admirable and 100% the American dream.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      3) “Much of the mileage was accumulated on the frequent trips between Arlington, Massachusetts — home — and New London, CT, where Aliza spent four years at Connecticut College.”

      Gotta read it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Perhaps [email protected] = dim and dismal

  • avatar
    RogueInLA

    Thanks for a great story. It’s not “whoever dies with the most toys wins”, but “whoever leads the happiest life wins” Nice to see someone enjoying living their life to their own standards, not anyone else’s.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Enjoy the Big Island! We spent a week there visiting my brother and it’s a special place. He chucked the big job and nice place in Chicago and went there and opened a B&B. It wasn’t perfect and did not last forever – but what a ride.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, this is a sweet story (and I mean that as a compliment). As the father of 3 daughters (ages 35, 32, 25), I smiled at this. This young lady is a problem-solver. She solved the “problem” of what to do with her life . . . And the car was part of the solution. That’s the story here. She should be proud of her accomplishments. For all those grumps here: where is it written that a college obligates its recipient to take an office job? If a college education is really worthwhile, isn’t its value that it equips the recipient to solve problems? N.B. I paid for the college educations of all 3 of my daughters, FWIW. As for the argument that the Hawaii gig isn’t permanent, what gig is these days. . . Other than working for the government.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I saw this after Mark cleaned it up so I don’t know everything that was said but when I read this my impression about Aliza is that she does farm work. Now I don’t care if you think organic farming is a joke or for hippies or whatever, but farm work is hard freaking work. And then on the weekends she gets up at 4:30 am to run her business? You couldn’t get me or I’d bet 90% of the B&B to get up at 4:30 am on weekends.

    Aliza is clearly a hard worker. She’s going to do just fine whereever she ends up.

  • avatar
    laserwizard

    There is something to be said for the pre-electronic garbage that is in all new cars these days that takes up what used to be a simple radio and heater system. I love my 1997 Escort because it is simple enough that I can replace a heater blower motor without having to tear the dash apart. I managed to repair this for $50 with a new motor AND another new part that was accessible while I was down there as preventive maintenance.

    As for the Vibes – those were good vehicles except when they were redesigned – then they became total garbage.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Thanks for the article David, it’s a nice story and a reminder that a car doesn’t have to be a Challenger Hellcat to be the object of affection. It’s nice to see someone taking advantage of their youth to live out Aliza’s kind of adventure and a car playing a central part in it.

    As to the haters, as much as they shake one’s faith in human nature, you just have to accept there will always be such people.

  • avatar
    zanadu

    Nice story, I admire her entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit.

    I visited the Big Island last year for the first time and was taken aback by the beauty and its vast size. As a Toyota truck owner I was also surprised at the sheer amount of Toyota trucks there, they are common and well loved.


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