Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Corolla really checks all the boxes. It’s a wagon, a manual, and - praise all that is holy - metallic brown. It’s also imbued with a Mazda 12A which the seller hopes will check the box next to screamin’ deal.
Anytime any of your stuff breaks down, it’s a good opportunity for an upgrade - to reassess that original decision perhaps - and maybe strike off on a new path. That’s just what happened to yesterday’s 2001 Audi S8 as when it’s five-speed automatic gave up the ghost, its owner switched that dead soldier out for a six-speed manual. Yeah, it makes for more work for the driver, but also more fun.
That fun was a possible contributor to the car’s substantial 63% Nice Price win. Another factor may have been its now sub-ten grand price, which is an almost four-grand plunge since the car was offered back in July. I guess you could say interest at that price was cool while the weather was hot.
Summer’s now all over but the sweating. Well, to be precise it’s not exactly over, the fall equinox isn’t actually until tomorrow. Still, let’s not go around picking nits.
Instead, let’s pick this 1983 Toyota Corolla wagon which shuns its factory reciprocating engine for a tiny 12A out of the house of Mazda.
Now, today the Corolla consists of a single FWD sedan body style, and it’s pretty much synonymous with being in a coma, an appliance on wheels as it were. Back in the day however, the Corolla served as the backbone of Toyota’s U.S. product line, and was offered in a slew of body styles including this handsome and boxy wagon.
That wagon could be had in brown, and could be driven off the lot with a five-speed stick. What it didn’t offer was a rotary engine as Toyota hadn’t hitched their wagon to Dr. Wankel’s star as had Mazda. Fortunately that’s a pretty easy oversight to rectify seeing as there are tons of Mazda mills out there just begging to be put to use.
The 12A is 1,146-ccs of apex seal scraping rotary power, and in most guises pumped out about 100 horsepower. Here it’s fed through a 44mm Mikuni side-draught and exhales through a two and a half inch exhaust that dumps out a side-stinger out back, just below where the rear bumper would be if it hadn’t been removed.
The front bumper’s still there - in all its black rubber glory - as is the Scirocco-esque grille. The body has been dropped and rides on KYB dampers in front, and Bilsteins in back. The car must be fast as the ad says the wheels need a balance soon seeing as they’ve thrown off their weights. If only it were that easy for me to lose weight.
Other issues are a starter that’s on its last legs, an A/C compressor that’s not compressing anything, and the need to toss 2-stoke in the fuel to keep the engine from eating itself. None of those negatives can overcome the inherent power of a manual rotary wagon in brown however, right?
If you’re not convinced yet, then check out this short film of the car idling in a driveway and see if that doesn’t sway you. How this got missed for the Jalopnik Film Festival is beyond me. What you need to decide is whether the seller’s $5,800 price tag is beyond this Corolla’s reach.
What do you think, does this custom Toyota push enough of the right buttons to make it worth that kind of cash? Or, is this a frankenyota with just too much baggage to command such a dowery?
H/T to trbyrne for the hookup!
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