Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Corolla SR5

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1982 toyota corolla sr5

Keeping track of American-market versions of the Corolla got difficult in the early 1980s, because you had the rear-drive E70 Corolla, and then you had the unrelated front-wheel-drive Corolla Tercel. Here’s an example of a “real” Corolla that I spotted at a Denver self-service yard last week.

Powered by the 3T-C engine, these cars were fairly quick (for the time) when equipped with a manual transmission.

Speaking of confusing Toyota badging of the 1980s, what exactly does “SR5” stand for? 5-speed transmission? Toyota’s advertising didn’t do anything to clear up the mystery.

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  • Old Skool Toyotas Old Skool Toyotas on Jul 17, 2012

    Wow...how I wish I could have this sort of vehicle available. You have no idea how difficult it is to obtain parts for those type of vehicles in my area (Florida). I have an 80 Toyota Corolla and an 81 Hard Top, just like this one, and I am always searching for parts. I could had used some very hard to find parts from this one, such as tail lights, side view mirrors, instrument cluster (if SR5, it came with an RFP clock - very hard to find), etcetera. You are lucky you have such access....these cars are great, if care they will last forever. In my opinion some of the best overall toyota corollas were built in the 80s. :-)

  • Dualref Dualref on Sep 20, 2013

    I bought one of these new in 82' It was the Toyota Corolla SR5 Sports Coupe. It wasn't a hatchback as it had a separate trunk. This was on the dealers showroom floor. White on the roof & upper fenders and chocolate below the belt trim on the sides. The seats were strange. They were a woven type of vinyl. The part you sit on was tan and the sides were Chocolate Brown. And it had small gold pinstripes along the top of the fenders. It was a pretty nifty little car. Oh, and the radio was in a console that came down to the floor and then reached back between the front two seats. I never saw that on any other Corolla. It had the 3T-C engine in it along with a 5 speed. I paid $11,500 for it. It was fairly reliable, but I always had problems with the a/c in this car. If it was in the garage on a hot day it would keep you cool, but if it was outside in a parking lot on a hot day forget it. It'll take about 30 minutes to get the interior tolerable. I think the problem was that there weren't enough air outlets in the dash. And the ones that were there were really small. It had been to the dealer many times and an independent a/c shop and they said that the supplied unit just can't put out a lot of cold air. Other than this it was a reliable car. The car handled pretty good, but on the highways a truck could toss you around when passing. I think I got about 24mpg with it. It didn't rust or anything. When I had 118K miles on it a Suburban rear ended me and the Toyota turned into an accordion, with me inside. I wasn't too banged up but the drivers seat back ended up on the other side of the road. Has anyone ever seen a Corolla like I described?

  • Dukeisduke Globally-speaking, in August, BYD was the fourth best-selling brand name. They pushed Ford (which had been fourth) to sixth, behind Hyundai.
  • 2ACL Some of the reported issues sound expensive for all but the most committed wrenchers. Scant documentation on some of the previous work is also a minus. I wouldn't mind something like this, but whereas the seller is trying to make room, I don't have any for something this intensive.
  • Merc190 Any Alfa has a unique character built in, so there's that, once you get it running properly, until it doesn't...
  • Syke Yeah, no sympathy for the dealerships whatsoever. I've gone enough thru training a dealership's salesperson under the guise of trying to buy an EV. I'm pleasantly surprised that Ford's insisting on Level 3 DC Fast Charging rather than the usual Level 2 that most dealerships have now. This is definitely forcing a commitment on the part of the dealer that they're going to be serious about selling EV's.Oh yeah, DC Fast Charging is never free, so you're definitely talking another income stream for the dealership. The big question is are they smart enough to make something real of it?I continue to say that the legacy automakers biggest problem when it comes to selling EV's is their own dealerships. And this article really drives that home.
  • SCE to AUX Yeah, I'm going to spend 5 or 6 figures on a used/abused car from a punk.