Just like a now sober but formerly wild college roommate, Toyota Corollas used to be fun. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 4A-GE wagon harkens back to those days, but does its fun come at too high a price?
It’s always good to see an underdog win, and with its 67% Nice Price vote yesterday’s rusty 1984 Toyota FJ60 Land Cruiser took home a laudable victory for the little guy.
Considering the marque’s current lineup it’s hard to imagine, but Toyota’s mid-Eighties range was pretty freaking magical. In addition to the stoic Land Cruiser represented yesterday you could also get a mid-engine MR2, a romper stomper Supra, and a Corolla with RWD and a sweet DOHC engine.
We never got that awesome engine in wagon form here in the States, but that oversight has been rectified by the builder of today’s 1983 Corolla wagon which not only rocks a Bluetop (early) edition out of an AE86, but backs that up with a five-speed stick as well.
The ad says the car has a dizzying 348,000 miles on the chassis, 175,000 on the 4A-GE’s bottom end and 15,000 on the head. I’m not so good at maths but I still think that’s all a lot. Still, it seems to be healthy. The ad claims 119 horsepower at the rear wheels and shows a dyno report to back that up.
Also claimed is a “significant mechanical and cosmetic restoration over the past six months.” That all seems to include brake rotors and pads up front and a rebuild of the drums in back. Fluids have all been replaced and there has been some tidying up of various drivetrain and steering components, as those things all tend to go south with age.
That’s all good stuff, but how about the bad? Well, just like yesterday’s Land Cruiser, this Corolla has the rust. It’s popping through in the rear quarters but is apparently not structural nor seemingly beyond the point of cost/repair. The body otherwise looks serviceable, and the fender mirrors and Supra wheels are each a nice touch.
Other demerits include a dropped suspension by way of blocks in the back and cut springs up front. Yeah, the car’s stance is what the kids are all about these days, but is the cost to the ride, handling, and RR track crossability really worth it? Thankfully there’s a lot of parts out there that can make the car both sick looking and well-handling. An exhaust leak wraps up the mechanical maladies, at least as disclosed in the ad.
We don’t get a look at the interior in the ad, although the seller promises pics soon. The description—ok shape, the seat vinyl is torn and they now have covers. The dash was recovered with vinyl at some point by a previous owner and looks pretty good—indicates that promise is nothing to look forward to.
Despite the negative nellie tone here, I think this is a really cool little car, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading about it right now. It needs a new daddy (or mama) to continue the drive to make it right, and the question is could its $3,000 price tag be low enough to make that an attractive proposition? The seller says a lack of space and an impending wedding are forcing the sale.
What’s your take on this 4A-GE-powered wagon and that $3,000 price? Does that have you saying “oh what a feeling?” Or, is that too much for a clapped-out Corolla no matter what the dyno says?
H/T to no-Kinja Jeff for the hookup!
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