1971 Toyota Corolla 1200 2dr from North America


Used car fixer upper


Over the two years I owned it, I had to replace McPherson struts, alternator, and starter. Then I discovered the coolant was all rusty and the radiator was quite clogged. Then when I pulled out the spare tire and lifted the rear floor mats, I discovered the metal was rusted with big holes, and you could see the ground outside below. Yet a buddy of mine helped me rivet some sheet metal in to patch it up.

I then decided to drive it from Hamilton Ontario Canada to the west coast city of Vancouver with a buddy and all my belongings. What a risk taker I was. After 4 hours of driving, it would no longer start due to voltage regulating issues, so we had to push start it. Lucky it was standard transmission. When we reached the Badlands of South Dakota and the 100 F climate, the temp gauge was red lining and we had to reduce our speed to 50 mph. This little 1200 cc engine somehow got us to Vancouver in six days and over 3000 miles. Miracle car.

The starter began working again with less driving and no more long days of the voltage over charging issue. I sold it in two months to a friend who may have kept it running for a year on Vancouver Island, of which I heard it ended up in a junk yard. This car model was a complete rust bucket that was not designed for the salty winter road conditions of Canada. Had it been rust proofed, then perhaps it could have lasted longer.

Like other writers said, this car was extremely noisy on the highway, but it didn't bother me. I had installed a great cassette tape stereo with two door speakers. 35 years later I still can't believe I made it across the USA and Canada. Simply a miracle and God willing!

General Comments:

First car. Canadian rust bucket. Replaced almost everything mechanical, other than the engine and manual transmission.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th May, 2014

11th May 2014, 07:35

Considering the car was only six years old when you bought it and it was already a "total rust bucket", that does not speak much of "Toyota quality".

1971 Toyota Corolla Deluxe 1.2 from Costa Rica


Most reliable and cheap to run car ever made


Dirt went inside the carburetor after 100 km in gravel roads.

One headlamp came off after a rally session.

General Comments:

The engine in this car is just bulletproof.

It is bigger inside than you would think when looking at it from the outside.

Changes direction like a dream.

After 36 years in the road it still has not develop rattles.

Back seat is a bit uncomfortable.

Noisy at highway speeds.

Anyone with a wrench and screwdriver can fix it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd October, 2007

3rd Oct 2007, 14:59

"Anyone with a wrench and screwdriver can fix it."

- That's understandable...it's like an oxcart by today's standards.

12th Oct 2007, 06:20

What an awesome car. I'd love to have one.

1971 Toyota Corolla Deluxe (KE20) 1.2 carb from Malaysia


Nothing much!

OK, worn driver's seat.

General Comments:

Very, very reliable and tough. Requires very little maintenance. Parts were easily available.

Nippy 1.2 litre OHV engine thanks to manual gearbox with low overall gearing (4 speed only). But gearing is too low for highway cruising - engine spins at highish rpms at the legal limit. Quite economical.

Mediocre ride, handling and steering and brakes.

Easy to drive in urban conditions.

Spacious interior despite being RWD.

A good basic motorcar for its time. Replaced by another Toyota Corolla in 1986 (the EE80 Liftback with 1.3 litre 12 valve engine).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th June, 2006

1971 Toyota Corolla 1.6 from North America


A simple but unreliable car


Cylinder head machining was coarse resulting in anti-freeze leaking into the oil and oil to the outside of the motor. This was corrected with a large file.

An engine valve spring broke resulting in a burned valve.

The front suspension ball joints wore out; were replaced.

The teeth on the side gears in the differential sheared off resulting in no forward or reverse motion.

The hydraulic clutch slave cylinder leaked; was replaced.

About once per week the starter gears would occasionally not engage before the starter motor ran, resulting in an awful clashing noise. This could not be corrected in spite of attempts to adjust the starter to prevent this. To be fair, no apparent damage was done to the starter.

General Comments:

The car was noisy at highway speeds, being geared geared too low. At 70 mph the car sounded like it would disintegrate before long.

The ride in the rear seat was very rough. The car rode better in the front seat.

The car was easy to work on and parts were cheap a the time that I owned it.

I don't know how Toyota managed to stay in business in the US after producing a troublesome car as this one was for me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th November, 2004

4th Aug 2012, 15:30

My first new car was a 1971 Corolla 1200, manual transmission. It was by FAR the worst car I have owned. Repeated valve jobs. Problematic cooling system. Voltage regulators were a maintenance item. Very weak acceleration and mediocre gas mileage. I believe Toyota corrected the engine and electrics on the 1200 engine by 1974.

The 1971 Corolla 1200 was a cruel joke foisted upon a young man with a family. Although Toyota may produce reliable cars today, I will never buy one.

My 1990 Honda Civic and 1997 Acura EL were and are outstanding vehicles. I am still driving the Acura with only minimal maintenance.

1971 Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.2 from Portugal


Japanese 70s quality


The starter failed.

Brakes needed a huge repair.

Body in bad shape (due to race treatment).

General Comments:

What a astonishing little car.

So reliable.

Me and two friends bought it to race it.

In spite of serious beaten, U turns, and violent jumps, the car never complained.

I miss it, the car was sold to a junkyard, no one would accept the car for regular use.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th July, 2001