Junkyard Find: 1978 Toyota Corolla Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1978 toyota corolla wagon

The third-gen Corolla was the car that made Toyota in the Unites States; you saw the occasional Corona or Celica and maybe a rare Crown once in a while before the mid-70s, but the 1974-79 Corolla was the first Toyota that sold in sufficient quantity to make the marque an everyday sight on American streets. These cars rusted fast east of the Rockies and— once they got to be 15 or so years old— weren’t worth fixing when they got ugly in the non-rusty parts of the country. That makes them fairly rare in junkyards today; in this series so far, we’ve seen this ’76 Corolla liftback and this ’74 Corolla two-door, and that’s about it prior to today’s find.

Most cars don’t rust much in single-digit-humidity Colorado, but these cars were very eager oxidizers.

The High Plains sun is hard on paint.

The 75-horse 2T-C engine was a sturdy, if noisy, pushrod unit.

Air-conditioning was a rare option on these cars, because frugal buyers of gas-sippers didn’t mind a little sweat. I’ll bet it felt like someone pulling the parking brake when you activated the cold air in this car.

This looks like an aftermarket setup.

Rear defrost! Rear wiper! Even most Country Squire owners didn’t get that stuff!

This ad was hitting Chrysler below the belt.

Didn’t Lee Iacocca use the “if you can find a better car, buy it” line a few years later?

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2 of 31 comments
  • Laine Callahan Laine Callahan on Jan 27, 2023

    I own a 1978 dlx with 41000. Orig paint, zero rust , in my garage since 05 lol

    going thru her now, valve gasket, tank reline, fuel pump , such a kick to drive

    need driver seat bottom cushion replaced or redone. Any suggestions?

  • Richard Richard on Feb 22, 2023

    What a waste. Who in their right mind would trash a classic corolla Wagon in that body condition, even with rust. If I was in a position to, I would go to that junkyard, if I had to travel across the country with a truck and trailer, and try to rescue the car and restore. Ridiculous.

  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.
  • Inside Looking Out Scandinavian design costs only $600? I mean the furniture.
  • Akear Lets be honest, Lucid will not be around in five years. It does not matter that it is probably the world's best EV sedan. Lucid's manufacturing and marketing is a complete mess. The truth is most EV companies are going under within the decade.