The odometer on today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Corolla may read over 300K, but it sports an MR2 engine that was swapped in somewhere along the way. Let’s find out what all that might just make you to be willing to pay.
You know what? If you’re going to be asking premium cash for your used car, it damn-well better be in premium condition, and not just “premium adjacent.”
That seemed to be the case with last Friday’s 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport. Yes, that’s a very desirable model. And admittedly, its six-speed stick did crank up the nether region tingle factor a bit. The thing was, it wasn’t perfect. And having obvious flaws like bumper scuffs and a completely missing bit of A-pillar trim can dim any car’s star power. Hell, you have to look at the last bit every time you get in the car.
With the issues afoot, it was perhaps not the best idea to compare the car to one on BaT which had traveled about 10k further in life but still seemed to have far fewer flaws. Our car asked the same $21,000 and in the end that was unacceptably high to the 82 percent of you who cast the car down in a Crack Pipe loss.
I’d like you to think for a moment about the actor, John C. Reilly. Here’s a guy who has seemingly been in every movie ever made in the past 30 years. Seriously, I would not have been surprised to him to show up at some point in last year’s Parasite.
Over the course of that long and storied career, Reilly has performed in musicals, comedies, dramas, superhero movies, and pretty much everything in between. He’s a journeyman actor with a wide range who is uniformly good in everything he does, often being the best part of an otherwise unremarkable film.
With all that in mind, I’d like to posit that the long-lived Toyota Corolla model line is the automotive equivalent to John C. Reilly. I mean, if he were, you know, Japanese.
Take for a prime example this 1989 Toyota Corolla GT-S. This represents from the E90 series which saw all Corollas move from rear- to front-wheel drive with a smattering of AWD editions thrown in for good measure.
The GTS coupe was the Corolla’s halo edition in the U.S. at the time and featured enough sporty elements—aerodynamic pop-up headlamps, a rev-happy 16-valve engine, and available five-speed manual transmission—that made the more expensive Celica feel appallingly redundant.
Say what you will about the true sporting nature of a heavily biased FWD chassis (push, push, push… tree) but as evidenced by the Austin Mini, VW GTI and others, there’s entertainment to be had with the layout.
This Corolla is likely even more entertaining than most. That’s because its 115 horsepower 4A-GE DOHC 16-V four has been replaced by a 145 horsepower supercharge GZE edition of the motor. That’s an easy update for these cars, and the model did in fact rock the GZE in its home market back in the day. We never officially got that combo here though.
Someone sought to address that oversight and now someone else gets the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The car comes in Super Red II except for the hood, which is black. That’s obviously a replacement necessitated by the intercooler mounted above the engine’s cam covers and fed through a sizable scoop in that hood’s central valley. Wheels are factory alloys and at least one of those is half-way to saying goodbye to its plastic center cap. A few scuffs are noticeable here and there—and on the side-view mirrors—but overall it looks reasonably clean. There’s no road rot evident either.
The interior looks amazing for a car with over 300K on the clock. The seats and door panels feature clean fabric and the dash presents without cracks or discoloration. The three-spoke wheel does evidence some wear but that’s got to be expected. So too is the high emergency brake handle which makes you believe the cables could use an adjustment.
Everything is said to work on the car, right down to the metal sunroof. That’s pretty remarkable for a car of this age until you remember, this is a Corolla. The seller doesn’t give any indication as to the history of the supercharged mill or exactly when it began calling this Corolla its new home. The ad does use ALL CAPS which lends a sense of excitement and urgency to it, perhaps making any detail description a burdensome extravagance. It does at least note that the car comes with a clear title and ominously, that it won’t last long.
That, of course, is in reference to it being up for sale, not to its impending demise. The seller thinks that a $6,000 asking is a fair deal and is only interested in dealing with serious buyers. Sadly, it appears that few to none of those have shown up since the ad’s been up for the better part of two weeks.
Maybe that price is too high? Maybe it’s too low? Whatever the situation, we now need to vote on that $6,000 asking and talk at length about the merits of this car. What do you think, is this supercharged Corolla worth that much? Or, is this an engine-swapped GTS that needs a price-swapped ad ASAP?
H/T to Hampton Barclay for the hookup!
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