Junkyard Find: 1977 Toyota Corolla Two-door Sedan

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1977 toyota corolla two door sedan
The third-generation Toyota Corolla, still on a rear-wheel-drive chassis, was a tremendous sales success in California. The cheapest model was the two-door post sedan, and these reliable commuters were seen everywhere in the Golden State well into the 1990s.Nearly all are gone, but this ’77 stayed on its own four tires until age 40, finally wrapping up its long career in this San Francisco Bay Area self-service wrecking yard.
1975-1979 Corollas still show up in California wrecking yards now and then, though not as often as their Honda Civic contemporaries. So far in this series, we have seen just this ’75 and this ’78 prior to today’s ’77.
During the 1980s, I had a couple of girlfriends who drove 1975-79 Corolla two-doors (along with the Dodge Colt, Ford Pinto, and Chevy Vega, this generation of Corolla was an incredibly popular parental hand-me-down car in the ’80s). One got tired of her car’s boring gray color and took it to Earl Scheib for The Very Cheapest™ paint job. This involved coating the body, tires, seat belts, door handles, and muffler with a thick, orange-peely coat of “Sun Yellow” paint, but at least the glass remained (mostly) paint-free.
An optional five-speed was available, but those mostly went to the high rollers and their spendthrift Corolla hardtops and wagons. This car has the very affordable four-speed.
The 1,588cc 2T-C pushrod straight-four engine didn’t make much power — 75 horsepower — but it was efficient and nearly impossible to kill.
Toyota went to six-digit odometers soon after this. Is this 151,584… or 651,584? The worn-out interior suggests many years of hard use.
What kind of car can four starving interns afford? This one!
In Japan, the Sprinter version of this car got semi-cloying ads.
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  • S_a_p S_a_p on Sep 03, 2017

    A car of my youth. My dad had a black on black example of this car. I remember it revving super high to get to "freeway speed" which my dad would go 70 in this height of the malaise era compact death trap. I was often scared by how fast my dad drove and his aggressive shifting of the 4 speed manual. This was back when my dad was a drinker so he would often be blaring Pat Benatar at unreasonably loud levels through the 8 track tape deck that he installed from CMC car stereo. This unit was his second one as he happened to let the smoke out of the first one whist "bench testing" it. My last memory of this vehicle is a private sale through the Houston Chronicle classified ads section. A group of people came and test drove the vehicle and promptly said the car was worth 500 dollars. I think my parents agreed and took this as a down payment on their brand new for '84 Plymouth Voyager minivan.

  • SavageATL SavageATL on Sep 11, 2017

    Ugh. We had the Datsun 210s as Driver's Ed cars in 1992ish. Yes, competent and reliable, but designed without a whit of style, luxury, fashion, or desireability. Ugly toad shaped proletariat tin cans filled with cheap plastic. Designed to be supremely functional, like an orthopedic shoe, and not one tiny bit better. By the way, we also had a coeval Malibu of the same generation as a driver's ed car and it was an infinitely better driving car, smooth and velvety, with some verve and style. I can understand why GM thought the Japanese didn't pose a real threat; sure the Vega was awful, but for not much more you could get a Malibu/Impala which was infinitely better than anything the Japanese were making.

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  • Alan I would think Ford would beef up the drive line considering the torque increase, horse power isn't a factor here. I looked at a Harrop supercharger for my vehicle. Harrop offered two stages of performance. The first was a paltry 100hp to the wheels (12 000AUD)and the second was 250hp to the wheels ($20 000 (engine didn't rev harder so torque was significantly increased)). The Stage One had no drive line changes, but the Stage Two had drive line modifications. My vehicle weighs roughly the same as a full size pickup and the 400'ish hp I have is sufficient, I had little use for another 100 let alone 250hp. I couldn't see much difference in the actual supercharger setup other than a ratio change for the drive of the supercharger, so that extra $8 000 went into the drive line.
  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 ( Bronze or Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
  • ToolGuy Last picture: Labeling the accelerator as "play" and the brake pedal as "pause" might be cute, but it feels wrong. It feels wrong because it is wrong, and it is wrong because Calculus.Sidebar: I have some in-laws who engage the accelerator and brake on a binary on/off all-in basis. So annoying as a passenger.Drive smoothly out there. 🙂
  • Johnny ringo It's an interesting vehicle, I'd like to see VW offer the two row Buzz in the states also.