Junkyard Find: 1978 Toyota Corolla

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 toyota corolla

I don’t know where all these Malaise Era Japanese econoboxes have been hiding prior to showing up in Denver-area junkyards, but they sure haven’t been on the street. Under tarps, forgotten in back yards and driveways? A ’74 Datsun B210 fastback the other day, and now I find this ’78 Corolla at a yard about five miles away.

These things were once among the most common motor vehicles on American streets; they were cheap, simple, and weren’t very thirsty for go-go juice. Toyota’s reputation for build quality hadn’t really taken firm hold as of the late 70s, and the Corollas of this era were much flakier than those built in subsequent decades, but they were pretty decent little cars by the low standards of the time.

The Malaise Corollas were underpowered, cramped, and noisy, but keep in mind that they were competing with the likes of the Chevy Chevette, Dodge Colt, Fiat 128, and Mazda GLC.

Were I sent back to 1978 with enough money to buy a new subcompact, I’d skip the Corolla and head right to the Honda showroom for a Civic. Still, I hope at least a few of these Corollas manage to evade The Crusher’s jaws.

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2 of 26 comments
  • Peeryog OK , my fault. But there were a number of inadvertent scatalogical references in the original post. To which, having the intellectual maturity of a 12 year old boy, I snickered.
  • Ajla People that buy a new Silverado or Sierra without a V8 are like the people that get salmon at Peter Luger.
  • MKizzy The Mazda 6 wagon needs to be brought here pronto. Sexy looks aside, it would look less out of place in Mazda's CUV lineup vs the sedan, and since Mazda wants to go "premium," wagon customers tend to be the most affluent (if Daimer-Benz is to be believed). My second choice is the attractive Hyundai i40 wagon, which would replace the defunct VW Sportwagon in the small/mid size wagon niche.
  • Carlson Fan GM needs new leadership. A 9000lb off-road vehicle???? Don't get that thing stuck in a remote area.Imagine if they had brought back the iconic K5 Blazer name and built something to compete with the Wrangler like Ford did with the Bronco. They could have offered that with an electric power train in addition to the gas models. Ford may have some quality issues right now but whoever is steering that ship knows what they are doing. The Bronco & Maverick where both brilliant ideas.
  • Carlson Fan "But it does give General Motors an opportunity to dangle a diesel in front of the faces of consumers and presumably one that yields better gas mileage than the 6.2-liter V8 they’d otherwise be buying."I'll take the 6.2 thank you. The diesel offers some advantages over gas if you use the truck for towing, lower total cost of ownership isn't one of them. I'll add in the gas engine offers better long term reliability & cold weather performance if you live where it snows like me.