Today it’s not hard to think of Japanese auto companies being periodic specialists in high-revving, fun, little cars. But back in the ‘70s that was still something of a new concept. We went looking for a bit of that history in Williamsburg, and found a lot more, too.
(Welcome back to Carspotting! We’re back with The Worst Walking Tour of New York City, headed by me, a hack who is barely qualified to tell you how to get to the Empire State Building from here. We’re out to find the best cars of the Big Apple.)
The car up top is a third generation Toyota Corolla, a second-generation Toyota Corolla SR-5, a TE37, depending on how you want to call it. This is the car that came after the cult classic “Mango” Corolla, which did a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to introducing the world to the idea of a small Japanese car being something fun and desirable, not just cheap and disposable. American cars got flares and other sporty additions, while Japanese cars got the not-quite-legendary 2T-G engine, the first dual-overhead cam four cylinder from Toyota, courtesy of Yamaha, as is Toyota’s way.
The orange TE37 we found was a neat one! Look at the pizza cutters up front, the straight front axle, and the completely gutted engine bay.
This car is something like the grandfather of the AE86, and it’s wild to see one on the street that’s not rusted to nothing, crashed, or junked ages ago. To be fair, this particular car was probably all of those things at one point.
In looking for this car we found tons of other amazing shit, like a ‘57 Chevy still sporting a Lions drag strip sticker (another legend to those who know), a couple kit cars, and a pair of extremely economical cars that might be somewhat unexpected bedfellows.
Welcome to Brooklyn, where you’ll find vintage drag cars parked on the street!