Behold the humble Corolla. Respected the world over, doing its job day in and day out, year after year, decade after decade. Demanding little, yet giving all of itself. This one managed to get to 440,960 miles before it ended up here. Yet I’m not even convinced it was the car’s fault, such is the general condition of it. Let’s take a look at just what that many miles do to a Corolla.
Here’s the tip-off that a car did a lot of miles in Colorado. A road-rashed front end from the gravel the road-crews use in the winter on our icy roads. The Toyota logo looks like a piece of art with its stippled background pattern.
1992 was the last year of this generation, and the black bumpers give it away as a somewhat rarely seen base model (in 1992 most seem to have had the painted bumpers). Still, even the base models were decently equipped, especially in the engine compartment with there being no difference to the most upscale one. A little rust is starting to present itself in the wheel arches. I’ll bet every light bulb still works though.
Corolla. Seven letters that in most cultures are pronounced as Respect.
This one’s a local from just up the road (down the road?) in Boulder. So it’s braved temperatures from negative single digits in the winter to triple digits in the summer. The paint still looks sort of shiny, not a little ask up here a whole mile closer to the sun than some of you coasties wondering when the water is going to start lapping at your feet.
I wonder how many windshields this one’s gone through, some cars up here need a new one every year, others seem to manage for over a decade before the pitting gets too bad. That dent in the fender is likely from the forklift here at the ‘yard. Them’s some skinny pizzacutter tires on this base model Corolla, the better to help it slice through the slush.
There’s the 1.6liter 16-valve electronically fuel injected inline four (same as every other 1992 Corolla in the U.S.) that powered this over hill and dale, day in and day out for a mileage more consistent with the cumulative total of three more mortal cars. 102 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 101 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. Slow and steady wins the race, although 102hp is exactly what an ’86 VW GTI had, albeit from a larger engine but with fewer valves. A svelte 2257 pounds helps here though, even with a full four doors and windows that roll down in all of them.
I wonder how many of these stickers this car went through. Changing the timing belt is likely the biggest routine maintenance expense on a Corolla. Actually, strike that, I checked and as of 1998 every Corolla, at least in the US market, uses a timing chain instead, as do most of their other vehicles.
Looks pretty good from back here as well. The styling is fairly anonymous but was a decent change from the prior generation, somehow looking lower and leaner at the time. Fit and finish seemed first-rate, and this one was built at NUMMI in Fremont, CA, the same factory that Tesla now uses.
Inside the trunk sits a piece of non-OEM plywood, perhaps the flimsy pressboard spare tire cover absconded over the years along with much of whatever dressing was on the sides of the trunk, if any. Still, a fairly square and usable shape with a low liftover height, j’approve.
Moving inside, we see blue! And lots of it! This was back when Toyota still used exciting fashion colors in its interiors. This may be a base model but it doesn’t seem all stripped and devoid of, well, things. The dashboard actually has shapes and curves, it looks soft and inviting too for those that derive pleasure from fondling such things.
That driver’s seat looks fabulous considering the age and mileage. Full stop. The missing door handles don’t mean they failed, I believe the same items are used on Toyota pickups so they tend to be picked up from Corollas at junkyards to be re-used since we all know that Toyota pickups just run forever.
Alright, the driver’s seat looks a little slacker than the passenger one. But not shapeless or remotely collapsed. That tweed fabric is similar to the stuff they put on the bottom of the Space Shuttle to protect it at re-entry. D-u-r-a-b-l-e. Also a seven letter word, by the way. The vinyl headrests are a practical touch that would never fly today but I don’t want to imagine what 440k+ miles worth of someone’s hair product on a cloth headrest would look like.
The steering wheel cover is ribbed for 440,960 miles of pleasure. Whatever it takes…
That’s a smooth operator right there. My wife used to have one of these cars, also in white, but hers was an automatic, I have to think that this car wouldn’t be terrible to drive with a stick-shift. Although in Denver traffic you’d soon build up an NFL kicker’s leg.
Having been built at NUMMI, this is veering close to the infamous “Dashboard of Sadness” look perfected and perhaps patented by GM in the ’70s, but it escapes that by not actually having any blank dials. The tach’s space us taken up by larger versions of fuel and temp gauges that fill the space and the roundels on the sides are for a plethora of warning lights that likely never have to warn about anything. Stop squinting, the money shot will be in your face as soon as you scroll down a little…
BAM! Thar she blows, all 440,960 miles worth. It was a long time coming but for the low base price of $9,418, apparently very well worth it, wouldn’t you agree?
Heading to the rear, the backseat cushion is likely under a Benz or BMW somewhere nearby to help someone harvest something or other, but the backrest looks unused here as well. I wonder if those windows have every been wound down. Speaking of winding down, I guess that’s it for this one, I’m all out of words for today. The commercial below though says what many owners would agree with.