CC Capsule: 1976 Toyota Corolla Liftback – The Very First Of Many

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No, this Corolla is not the first generation of that long line; this is the very first picture in my first series of many files I’ve shot of curbside classics. I did shoot a few individual cars that I’d run into before, but starting with this one, it became official: I was now a car stalker, and every old car I saw was now my prey. So perhaps it’s fitting that the very first one was an old Corolla, as that car certainly qualifies as one of the all-time Eugene-mobiles. And just how many old Toyotas have I shot since this one?

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I’m not exactly sure, as my meticulous record-keeping went on extended vacation about six or eight months ago. My notebook shows 127 Toyotas, but there have probably been about 40-50 since. That still doesn’t top Chevys in my book, as I’ve got closer to 250 bowties in the can. Of course, the are a lot of Chevys from the sixties and earlier around, unlike Toyotas.

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But once we get into the seventies, Toyotas quickly rival the number of Chevies, although I’m trying to turn this into either a scientific poll, or an editorial. But let’s just say that I know of at least four Corolla Liftbacks just like this one on the streets; I could take you to them. But I’d be harder pressed to find a comparable number of Nova Liftbacks of the same vintage; of course in another town that would be a different matter.

Facts: these were the E30, or third generation Corollas, and arrived for the 1975 MY (I’m calling this a ’76 arbitrarily). The big change, in addition to being just bigger, was the option of a substantially larger an  much more powerful 1588 cc 2T-C engine, supplanting the rather week-chested 1200. The 1600 had an alloy hemi-head, was rated at 102 hp, and turned Corollas into just about the briskest car in its class. And the fact that the 2t-C engine went down in history as one of the best of its kind was icing on the cake. But it explains why so many of this vintage are still around.

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I know that rust eliminated these in those evil salt-using states, but these were tough little numbers. And I say that from exposure to a number of them. My BIL had one that he kept going for a ridiculously long time; it was yellow–like so many of its kind–and we used to joke that that shade of Toyota yellow made the cars that wore it indestructible. This one looks like its been the beneficiary of someone’s paint sprayer, or maybe just a can of touch-up. Rust repair?  Ha! Nobody around here would have a clue as to how to do that.

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This one has obviously lived around here for a while, as the local flora is starting to grow on it. That lichen is even color-coordinated. Maybe this could be the start of a new trend in paint.

Of course, its been a couple of years since I shot this, and now I’m intrigued as to whether it’s still on the road. I’ll keep an eye out…it could then be my first and last.

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