Junkyard Find: 1984 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, Spray-Foam Rust-Repair Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1984 toyota corolla hatchback spray foam rust repair edition

Let’s follow up 21st Century Junkyard Find Week and Volkswagen Junkyard Find Week with Rusty Junkyard Find week, shall we? On Tuesday, we saw this ’83 Toyota pickup with not-so-effective fiberglass-and-Bondo cover-up-the-rust-and-hope-it-goes-away repairs, and today we’ll be looking at a thoroughly used-up Corolla with similar squeeze-another-few-months-out-of-this-heap repairs done by someone who knew he or she would be the vehicle’s last owner.

Americans didn’t much like the look of the AE82 Corolla hatchback, although we bought a fair number of its NUMMI-built Chevy Nova siblings.

Does this rust mean that important structural components are likely to fail soon? You bet!

So close to that magical 300,000-mile mark, but another 38,868 miles in this hooptie would have been pretty miserable.

Even if the structure held together, there is no quantity or type of air freshener that could cover the stench of the fast-food-detritus-and-bodily-fluids-caked interior of this car.

Plus it’s a real hassle to have a hatchback with a nonfunctional hatch.

Crab Spirits is sure to find inspiration about this Corolla’s previous owner via the large number of stickers on the back glass. For example, he or she was a fan of Propaganda E-Liquid.

This retailer of smoking accessories also gets a shout-out on the Corolla’s rear glass.

You could get a diesel version of this car, but few did. Wikipedia editors believe that the 4A-LC engine was sold only in Australia, Switzerland, and Sweden, but you’ll see plenty of these two-digit-horsepower cockroaches in US-market Corollas.

US-market ads for Corollas and their kin seldom employed the word “sexy.”

San Franciscans— hundreds of them, lining the streets— doubted that the ’84 Corolla sedan could do anything.

John Davidson pitched a special New Zealand version of this car.

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6 of 27 comments
  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on May 28, 2015

    OMG, I hope you got a tetanus shot after photographing that. Secondly, you can actually kill them. Where I come from, one of these would have easily 500K kms, with maybe 2-3 rebuilts on the engine. How come you guys didn't get 3-point seat belts on the rear seats of these?

    • See 2 previous
    • Lack Thereof Lack Thereof on May 29, 2015

      In the US, 3-point seat belts weren't required in the backseat until 1990. Only a handful of US-market cars had them in the mid 80's, none of them cheap.

  • Curt in WPG Curt in WPG on May 29, 2015

    My buddy growing up had the Nova version, I think it was an 86. AM radio, crank windows special but the abuse this car took was legendary. Everything from hitting the ditch (repeatedly) in winter on the highways to seeing how slow we could go in 5th gear (@ 25km/h IIRC with the proper clutch feathering) - nothing could kill that car. Interestly enough his version diodn't rust too bad, maybe because its too cold in Winnipeg for road salt much of the winter.

    • TrstnBrtt89 TrstnBrtt89 on May 31, 2015

      My uncle had the Nova version when I was about 3 or 4 years old in the early 90s, Blue on blue, I remember him being very skillful at driving it with his knees. I don't remember him having it that long though, nor did he have the Hyundai Pony the Nova replaced very long either. I think it actually was a victim of Winnipeg road salt though.

  • Lou_BC I realized it wasn't EV's burning by the absence of the usual suspects.
  • Kwik_Shift A manual bug eye WRX wagon (2001-03) would interest me more.
  • El scotto Ferrari develops a way to put a virtual car in real time traffic? Will it be multiple virtual players in a possible infinite number of real drivers in real time situations?This will be one of the greatest things ever or a niche video game.
  • El scotto It's said that many military regulations are written in blood. Every ship's wheel or aircraft joystick has a human hand on it at all times when a ship or aircraft are under power. Tanks, APC's and other ground vehicles probably operate under the same rules. Even with those regulations accidents still happen. There is no such thing as an unmanned autopilot, ever. Someone has to be on the stick at all times.I do not think MB understands what a sue-happy nation the USA is. The 1st leased MB in a wreck while this Type 3 "Semi-Autonomous" driving, or whatever it is called, will result in an automatic lawsuit. Expect a class action lawsuit after the 1st personal lawsuit is filed. Yes, new MB owners can afford and ever are lawyers.Mercedes Benz; "The best wrecks or nothing!" Oh and has anyone noticed that Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura, the gray suit with white shirt and striped tie, automobile companies have stayed away from any autonomous driving nonsense?
  • Merc190 Very streamlined but not distinctive enough for a Mercedes. And besides, the streetcar of the early 20th century seems a far more efficient and effective method of people moving in essentially an autonomous manner. A motor car is meant to be driven with proper attention to what's important in every situation. To design it otherwise is idiotic and contradictory.