Curbside Outtake: The Two Best Cars From 1990?

If you had to drive something from 1990 or so, you couldn’t do better than one (or both) of these. Strictly speaking, the Corolla has the Accord beat in terms of longevity, as these E90 Corollas (as well as their predecessors and successors) are still very thicken the ground here, including one owned by our long-term tenant who rents the little cottage behind our house; she regularly takes three hour drives out to the southern Oregon coast to see her mom, and never thinks twice about doing so.

The gen4 Accord has a mighty stellar rep too, but they are quickly disappearing from the the streets here. Do they have weakness that eventually comes to bite them?

How did Toyota build the ultimate LLV (Long Life Vehicle)? And don’t start about them being dishwater dull; their brilliant little 1.6 L DOHC 4A-FE engines made 95 hp and scooted them right along, especially with a manual transmission. And they run so smoothly and refined. What more could anyone want in a little four?

The Accord was a class higher, and its all-new 2.2 L 16 valve fuel injected four was of course utterly brilliant. It was rated at 125 hp in the DX version; the EX had 140 hp, which made it a very fine sporting device that could still take the full family on brisk outings. I still pine for an EX…

It’s been eleven years since I picked up one of these Corollas for $200 from a tenant who thought the clutch was bad (it just needed some fluid in the clutch master cylinder).  It was for my son’s GF, but she couldn’t get the hang of the stick, and then I sold it to the guy who helped me build my last house. I keep thinking I see it, but gray Corollas of this vintage are still so common, so who knows. I do know that you’re not going to pick up a running one for 4200 anymore, even if they are eleven years older now.