Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Corolla is a model Toyota branded as the Liftback, although the style is very obviously a shooting brake. Let’s see if this classic Corolla is priced to break the bank.
While merely his sophomore effort, Paul McCartney’s RAM, issued in May of 1971, is considered by many to be the finest-ever solo album ever by the ex-Beatle.
Many of you found yesterday’s 2012 Ram 1500 R/T to not be quite so fine an effort. Liked for its color and 5.7 Hemi, the truck’s shortcomings were evident — and literal — in its short cab and short bed. Those aspects kind of crumbed the deal at its $17,000 asking, as many of you voiced that bigger, better options are available. The outcome was a 64 percent No Dice loss.
Continuing the theme of bigger and better, I’d like to recognize that Toyota has been doing a remarkable thing of late. It has been reconstituting to some degree the Corolla line that was once the company’s mainstay and at one point in time had more flavors than an overstocked Snapple store.
While just a few years ago the Corolla line had been whittled down to a single sedan body style, it has now bounced back to include an aggressively styled five-door hatchback and (‘natch) a small crossover. That, of course, pales in comparison to the Cambrian explosion of Corolla models that arrived midway through the mid-1970s.
Those ’70s models included both two and four-door sedans, two-door hardtops, five-door wagons, and a long-deck hatch the company branded as the “Liftback.” And that was just in the U.S.! All these models were built around a fairly mundane but extremely robust and well-constructed rear-wheel-drive chassis, making them heavier and less roomy than the FWD competitors that were popping up at the time, but also a lot more forgiving of rough treatment.
This 1978 Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftback looks like it has seen some rough days in the weather, but since it’s a Toyota from the brand’s gilded age, it seems to be little worse for that wear. The ad claims that the car was originally from Oregon, and a life lived in that state’s wet climate is obvious in the light surface rust that covers pretty much every exposed and unfinished surface.
Is it all bad? Probably not. And the seller says that it’s nothing more than aesthetic, claiming the car underneath to be “Super solid.” The ad also says the car has “95% Original paint along with its original and totally sweet ’70s side stripe decals. That 95% claim is a bit specious, however, since the paint is worn through to the primer — or worse — on every horizontal surface and even a few that are not. Overall it’s either a job for Maaco or just a cool patina to be left untouched and contemplated for patterns and hidden meanings.
The interior is a little less worn, although the carpet in front does come across as dingy and in need of a good lather-rinse-repeat. Strangely enough, the rugs in the back — facing the big shooting brake-style hatch and windows — seem totally un-faded and in great shape.
While the body and interior may show signs of age and use, this is a ’70s Corolla so you can safely bet that the mechanicals are still ticking away with little complaint. That’s made up of a 1.6 liter SOHC 2T-C four with 76 horsepower and 86 lb-ft of torque matched to a five-speed stick and a live rear axle with a standard diff. Not the most exciting stuff but for the ’70s, the five-speed was kind of big news.
A peek in the engine bay shows the car to have the optional A/C and an air cleaner and cam cover that both look suspiciously fresher than their surroundings. That air cleaner especially looks like some sort of ghostly apparition with its seemingly fresh off-white paint scheme. Also new-appearing is the heat shield under the brake master cylinder so some work has been done here.
In total, this Corolla has put 106,000 miles on those mechanical bits, and, per the ad, has maintained a clean title to the present day. Should anyone be interested in making a present of this Liftback to themselves, they will need to come up with its $9,500 asking. We’re about to decide if anyone really should.
What’s your take on this Corolla asking that much cash? Does that make it seem like a deal for one of the only shooting brakes Toyota ever sold in the U.S.? Or, is this classic just too worn to warrant that much?
Baltimore, Maryland, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.
H/T to DWSmith for the hookup!
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