1980 Toyota Corolla Wagon 1.8 pushrod from North America
Overall, it's a bit slow, and a bit small, but it's bulletproof and has surprising amounts of style
Head gasket wept (replaced).
Stock carb was rubbish (vacuum lines everywhere) (replaced).
Steering was very loose (pitman arm and idler arm) (replaced).
Rear hatch supports were bad (replaced).
Heater core line ruptured (replaced along with other hoses).
Brakes needed rebuild (rebuilt).
Driver's seat badly torn (replaced with junkyard finds).
Alternator went bad (replaced).
Various bulbs of all sorts (replaced).
Minor rust near hatch (on the list).
Transmission was leaking (rebuilt).
Rear diff was leaking (seal replaced).
Exhaust literally fell off in a parking lot (cat to muffler) (replaced).
A/C has stopped working (on the list).
I bought this car from an old man who was the first owner, and had driven it to the brink of death (both his and the cars by the look of it). Pretty much everything on the car was original, right down to the bulbs, which is miraculous when you consider it really. That said, all of the original (34 y/o) electronics and seals were not quite up to the task of daily driving, which is my use for this car. I love this thing to death though; it's simple and rugged. Pretty much everything I've done to it, short of major engine work, has been a piece of cake. Great car to learn how to mechanic on! I get looks and compliments everywhere I go, and people constantly ask if I'm selling it.
Since owning the car, I've replaced or rebuilt pretty much everything listed above (as indicated), rebuilt the motor with a high compression head and a Weber DCOE carburetor, and made many other mods. Thing is, I'm a 21 year old college student living on my own, so it goes to show how easy these things are to work on! Get yourself a basic tool kit (metric sockets, screw drivers, and pliers) and you can fix like 90% of the things on this car.
Also, from behind the wheel, what it lacks in pure get-up-and-go power, it more than makes up for in visibility and compact size, making it a great commuter in urban spaces. Even with manual steering, I have no trouble parallel parking.
If you're ever thinking about getting an old Corolla, or just want to know more about them, be sure to check out 3tcgarage.com, it's chock-full of useful info about these old Toyotas.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st April, 2014
21st Apr 2014, 09:37
Yes, it's true -- if this car had any amount of style, it would be surprising.
21st Apr 2014, 12:56
Nice... that'll EASILY go another couple hundred thousand miles, especially with all the work you've done. Those are the cars Toyota built their reputation on; it's a shame they've gone downhill somewhat (quality-wise) these last few years.