Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Corolla Tercel

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1982 toyota corolla tercel

I know it probably made perfect marketing sense for Toyota to piggyback their new subcompact’s image atop that of the fantastically successful Malaise Era Corolla, in spite of the fact that the two cars were unrelated other than having the same their parent company, but the confusion caused by the “Corolla Tercel” name persists to this day. For that reason, these cars always attract my attention when I see them in wrecking yards; in this series, we’ve seen this ’80 and this ’81 so far.

Because of the Corolla/Tercel confusion that Toyota set into motion back in the early 1980s, many 24 Hours of LeMons fans still think that I gave the coveted Index of Effluency award to an undeserving factory-hot-rod Corolla a couple years back, in spite of my protestations that the Tercel EZ is one of the most terrible cars ever to be inflicted on us by the Japanese. The EZ came two generations after the Tercel we’re admiring today.

The first-gen Tercel, however, wasn’t a bad car at all. Fuel economy was phenomenal and it was incredibly reliable by the standards of the era.

It looks like a rear-wheel-drive car…

…but it’s really front-wheel-drive, with the engine mounted above the transmission and sending power to a cute little differential.

Climate-control systems were simpler in those days. Holy mackerel, is that an air conditioning button? Such luxury!

I used one of these Toyota AC buttons as the main power switch on my homemade Junkyard Boogaloo Boombox project.

5-speed manual transmissions were boast-worthy.

By dirt-cheap Late Malaise Era Toyota econobox standards, these stripes were the height of frivolity.

The interior still looks pretty good at age 31 and 150,141 miles on the clock.

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  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?
  • El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.