Junkyard Find: 1982 Toyota Corolla Liftback

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin

It 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.

You 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.

Most 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.

The interior doesn’t look too bad here.

Just 69,000 miles? That suggests a blown head gasket followed by 20 years of storage in a driveway.

The 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.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Murilee Martin is the pen name of Phil Greden, a writer who has lived in Minnesota, California, Georgia and (now) Colorado. He has toiled at copywriting, technical writing, junkmail writing, fiction writing and now automotive writing. He has owned many terrible vehicles and some good ones. He spends a great deal of time in self-service junkyards. These days, he writes for publications including Autoweek, Autoblog, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars and Capital One.

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  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on May 30, 2014

    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.

  • Bill mcgee Bill mcgee on May 31, 2014

    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 .

  • Bd2 If they let me and the boyz roll around naked in their dealership I'll buy a Chinese car.
  • THX1136 I would not 'knowingly' purchase a Chinese built or brand. I am somewhat skeptical of actual build quality. What I've seen in other Chinese made products show them to be of low quality/poor longevity. They are quite good at 'copying' a design/product, but often they appear to take shortcuts by using less reliable materials and/or parts. And , yes, I know that is not exclusive to Chinese products. When I was younger 'made in Japan' was synonymous with poor quality (check John Entwistle's tune 'Made in Japan' out for a smile). This is not true today as much of Japan's output is considered very favorably and, in some product types, to be of superior quality. I tend to equate the same notion today for things 'made in China'.
  • Mike Beranek No, but I'm for a world where everyone, everywhere buys cars (and everything else) that are sourced and assembled regionally. Shipping big heavy things all over the planet is not a solution.
  • Jeffrey No not for me at this time
  • El scotto Hmm, my VPN and security options have 12-month subscriptions. Car dealers are not accountable to anyone except the owner. Of course, the dealer principles are running around going "state of the art security!", "We need dedicated IT people!" For the next 12 months. The hackers can wait.