Junkyard Classic: 1977 Toyota Corolla Revisited

1977 Toyota Corolla 1

I usually enjoy seeing cars again that I’ve previously photographed. It can be somewhat like running into an old acquaintance after several years. Often it is nice to see the car still on the road and taken care of but sometimes the reunion is under less happy circumstances. The first time I saw this 1977 Toyota Corolla two door sedan it was outside an older building that housed an independent mechanic’s shop. Perhaps the repairs didn’t go as smoothly as expected given its current location.

1977 Toyota Corolla 2

Here is the same Corolla roughly a year earlier in more hopeful time. The distinctive pin striping and front bumper rust confirm it to be the same car. The flat hood pegs it as a Standard base car but the yellow and green pin stripes really help jazz up the basic refrigerator white paint. The passenger side mirror would have been a later addition as basic cars of the era made do with just a driver’s side one.

1977 Toyota Corolla rear 1

The rear view confirms this is quite a solid car overall with some surface rust gaining a foothold around the edges. This generation of Corolla is code named E30.

1977 Toyota Corolla interior

I never did get a photo of the interior on my first encounter as I was rather rushed at the time. At the yard the parts pullers have already snagged the steering column but no interest in those remarkably intact looking seats yet. The interior still sports rubber mats instead of carpeting which was common to the lowest cost Japanese cars of the time. The duct tape shift boot would, undoubtedly, make Red Green proud.

1977 Toyota Corolla label

Some clueless yard worker labelled this one as a Camry despite the fact the Camry was years away from seeing production. I did appreciate the smart ass correction in pencil by one of the previous patrons.

1977 Toyota Corolla engine

The tiny 3K-C four cylinder engine has lost a few parts like the two barrel carburetor, thermostat housing and valve cover. The exterior of the engine was on the dirty side but the exposed valve gear was extremely clean and looked to have little if any wear. Displacing a mere 1,166cc the engine routed its modest 55hp output through a four speed manual gearbox to a live rear axle. A two speed automatic was optionally offered for those who wanted to travel even slower. The more plush Deluxe model featured a larger 2T-C 1,558cc engine with 75hp but couldn’t match the smaller engine’s impressive fuel economy.

1977 Toyota Corolla rear

Around the back we can see into the Corolla’s modest trunk complete with fuel tank mounted against the rear seat. Also visible is the drum brake equipped leaf sprung rear axle while the front had the usual struts with disc brakes. Steering was operated via a recirculating ball set up and Corolla’s of this era were not known for their fine handling. Priced at just $2,711US for a base car in 1975 the Corolla offered good value for basic transportation needs. It is a shame this old Corolla ended up in the bone yard as it looked be very savable with a little work last time I saw it.