CC Capsule: 1976 Toyota Corolla Wagon – One Hard Working Corolla

You know some folks just can’t quit working, and they go on well past their prime; even well past their retirement age. Such is the case of this old late ’70s Corolla wagon, a tough worker, hanging in there despite all appearances.

Yes, one more scrappy find from the streets of San Salvador. And this one, I believe, the transport of a gardener. I’ve constantly written about how relevant Corollas and Sunnys (Datsun B210) of the 1970s were in this region, and this barely surviving one is a perfect example. The cars may be nothing more than rolling scraps, but they somehow keep on going. And as you can probably surmise, crashworthiness is a low priority around here. Rollingness, on the other hand, ranks high.

Nope, there isn’t one straight panel as far as I can see on this old Corolla, and I know that lax vehicular law enforcement helps keep this old heap on the roads. But still, it’s rather remarkable to see it in any working condition.

Now, the wagon is certainly the product of desperate handiwork; wobbly panels pushed into place, added bits of metal and wood, and more that my eye –and imagination– can’t wholly figure out.

No matter its poor presentation, there’s love in this wagon; makeshift remedies of all sorts appear throughout. Additional lights on the bumper to… do the work the headlights no longer perform? New –and dangling– rearview mirrors, and a hand-painted coat of white to cover the rusty bits. Sort of.

Even some hand-painted accents on the grille. I leave it to you CC readers, is this love or desperation? I, for one, will choose the former.

Another view up close. I’ve no idea how many maladies one can pick from this shot, but there are plenty. And if this car wasn’t in San Salvador, I would call its condition beyond terminal. But being here, I’m sure it’s got a few years of work ahead of it.

That’s quite the “CC find” interior. A barely working cabin, yet, I believe an efficient enough “working space” for this manual worker. It even serves as a rest and pleasure area, as that beer can by the hand brake shows. Though I hope its consumption occurs between shifts if this old ride is to survive.

That said, just about a couple of hours before typing this piece I saw this wagon drive by my home. Its driver looking sober, and heading home after a day of hard work. So, worries aside, I do feel this old one will remain on the roads for some time to come.