By on May 29, 2014

11 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinIt has become a Corolla Junkyard Find week, with this ’78 Corolla wagon on Monday and this skateboarder-enhanced ’98 Corolla LE sedan yesterday, so I’m going to keep the streak going with today’s find: a Late Malaise Era (yes, I invented the term) E-72 Corolla liftback, which I found late last year in Northern California.
12 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinYou can tell when a junkyard car wasn’t towed away for unpaid tickets, because it will still have the keys. This was probably a trade-in at a sketchy used-car lot.
08 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinMost cars don’t rust in California, but Malaise Era Toyotas find a way. This car might have lived by the beach in San Francisco for a while, though not long enough to look like this terrifyingly salty ’84 Space Van.
01 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe interior doesn’t look too bad here.
02 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinJust 69,000 miles? That suggests a blown head gasket followed by 20 years of storage in a driveway.
03 - 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback Down on the Junkyard - Picture Courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 3T-C engine made just 70 horses, but they were reliable horses.

Come on!

The early 1980s were the pinnacle of the “Oh, what a feeling!” era for Toyota ads.

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27 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback...”

  • avatar

    Considering how mechanically reliable 70s-80s Japanese cars were, I couldn’t understand why they rusted so badly. You could hear my sister’s Datsun B210 rust on a humid, warm night.

    • 0 avatar

      Honshu – the main island of Japan, which includes Tokyo and Osaka, gets a little snow in the winter, but they don’t salt the roads like they do in North America. I believe it took the Japanese a while to figure out how to build a car that would survive salted roads.

    • 0 avatar

      Also the thinness of the metal used. To keep weight (and price) down, most Japanese cars of this era used thinner gauge steel in their bodies than their American counterparts. So what would have been an ugly, but sandable, surface issue, quickly became full on cancer rust.

  • avatar

    Nice to see this series of Corolla LB. I had an “83 SR5 and loved it for 113,000 miles. Every LB I’ve seen in this series had a propensity to develop a fracture in the body below the B pillar. Toyota said this was not a problem in manufacturing or engineering and was my responsibility to repair. I haven’t purchased another Toyota since. This stress fracture was no doubt the impetus for the onset of rust. Other manufactures have repaired stress fractures in vehicles I have owned since that point. How are the current Toyota recalls doing? That news has all but disappeared.

  • avatar

    It’s a bumper car!


  • avatar

    Those are bumpers for the ages! Back when advertising a car’s bumper capability and trunk lid design were major selling points.

  • avatar

    It’s strange to see a car like that go to scrap. Where I live that would be worth 1500 euros at least, rust, dents and all – probably more due to the unusual liftback body. At some point old Toyotas stopped being horrid 100€ cars, and became cherished classics.

  • avatar

    I always liked the liftback body, it had a very clean look, especially in yellow. But even then the Corolla had a rep of being pretty boring to drive compared to competition like the Fiesta and Civic.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    These are something of the forgotten Corollas. About the only E70s I see these days are bargain-basement drift conversions by kids who can’t afford an AE86.

  • avatar

    Need some inspiration, not getting it from this one.

  • avatar

    Oh yeah, they do rust in San Francisco. There is an awesome black Hachi Roku SR5 with a 5-speed sitting a few avenues away from my house. Judging by the last license plate sticker it’s been sitting since at least 2000. That thing is just full of rust. Especially at the pillars. And, the owner won’t sell. I saw the guy’s father coming out of the house and asked but he said right away his son won’t sell. What a shameful waste.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    It’s not too late, this could be saved and turned into a nice hot hatch with the proper engine/tranny combo.

  • avatar

    All I can say is those plaid seats in the first video are classy.

    This car is in exceptionally-good shape for being 36 years old with what appears to be the original paint…

  • avatar

    My college roommate had one, brown over brown. It was fairly humble and at least 8 years old when he got it, but the mileage was pretty low and the price was good. Stick, A/C, and that weird-ass radio. (I remember it being a dial AM/FM but on a pod that pivoted perhaps 15 degrees to the right or left of center to be more visible to driver or passenger, did this one have it?)
    As much as he hated it (it was an “I supposed you have to have a car so take this beater” gift from his parents), it transported two double-bass fiddles, and us, all over the midwest for pennies in gas. It floated weirdly-comfortably due to either soft suspension or complete lack of parts replacement, and delivered pizzas on the night shift. When my 84 Cougar blew a freeze plug it towed me home with a laughably-short rope and a heavy friend for ballast riding in the open hatch taking pictures (I still have them).
    When he would pick up girls, he would tell them he didn’t bring his car and throw one of us the keys to drive the turdmobile home.
    At some point, long after I’d moved, it made an enormous clunk during a start attempt, and he bought a little red Oldsmobuick, disregarding the Corolla in the parking lot where it sat. Then he moved.
    A couple years later (not exaggerating) the complex tracked him down and he had to pay for a tow to the yard. You could say lots bad about the little cockroach, but it earned every cent of it’s $1500 purchase price many times over.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “reliable horses”?
    This was my first car. An 81 SR5 in the same yellow featured in the second ad. Never had a less reliable car, everything major part broke, and it rusted away well before its 10th birthday.

    The head gasket was the last straw, but the list is huge: gas tank, transmission mount, water pump, alternator, radiator, intake (a funny tube that went around the engine), radio, horn, bumpers (had to re-attach them with tie wraps, nothing but Styrofoam underneath the rubber covers), steering (pitman arm), plus wear items that had disturbingly short lives.

    The only good thing about the car was the transmission feel. The shifter went straight into the back of the tranny, which gave an extremely satisfying mechanical feedback. Fun to shift clutchless, which I learned how to do when the clutch master failed…

    I guess that the other good things were the independence, and the lack of fear of wrenching. Got thrown-in at the deep end and learned to swim.

  • avatar

    I agree with heavy handle. Brought one of these for my kids to use with 80,000 miles but with in 1 year the head gasket let loose, starter motor replaced twice and the manual transmission went. Turned out Toyota used three different transmissions in that model and i could never find the right one in the junk yards, Finally had to have the original transmission rebuilt. Sold it soon after fearing the trouble would never end. Never brought a Toyota again.

  • avatar

    Cars in Japan rust furiously when given the chance. But since the rigorous Japanese inspection system encourages people to get rid of their cars after only a few years no one there knew this.

    American military personnel stationed in Japan get a break from the national inspection requirements so they often drive older cars that would otherwise go to the scrapper. I remember seeing them-what rustbuckets some of them were! The salt air and acid rain from Japan’s nasty air pollution made them rust as fast as they would have on PennDOT’s heavily salted highways.

    In fact I think JDM market cars didn’t get as good corrosion protection as export or foreign-manufactured cars. Why would they when they’re exported or crushed before they’re even worn out?

  • avatar

    That these dissolved faster than orange Tang and still got respect shows that the Vega could have rejuvenated GM had they used a proper motor.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    A cousin owned one like this , in a nice shade of yellow . Actually I liked the styling of the liftback of the prior generation Corolla better – when they came out the styling was compared to a Volvo 1800 . The above comments about head gasket problems reminded me of when my wife’s 1982 Corolla blew its head gasket halfway between Houston and San Antonio on our way to a wedding . IIRC the car only had about 100k miles . Traded in on a Camry after the clutch went out a year later .

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