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Car History

By AlvinB, August 27, 2007

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There is another thread that was asking what kind of person drives a Corolla. There were some posts about people trading F150s for Corollas that I found interesting.

I was wondering then, how did others end up driving Toyotas - corollas specifically - and do you plan to keep doing so?

Myself, my car history has been quite varied. The fact I'm driving a Toyota is something I couldn't have predicted a few years ago, but I've earned a healthy respect for them.

Here's my car history:

1984 Dodge Charger - (1992-1995) - Sold Running at 140,000 miles after only 1 blown headgasket.

1985 Dodge Charger - (1994-1998) - Sold Running at 145,000 miles - a bit hotrodded, it was massive fun. Needed a headgasket not long after being sold.

1983 Ford LTD II V6 (1996-1997) - Sold Running at 115,000 miles- Smaller bodystyle but still only got 13mpg highway or city. Drove it over most of the western half of the U.S.

1990 Plymouth Acclaim (1997) - Voluntary Repo - Mitsu v6 blew oil, transmission quit, rear wheel literally FELL OFF, and I told the finance company "what to do with it" at 155,000 miles.

1976 Plymouth Duster - (1998-2001) - Totalled - \6 engine, most reliable ever made (sorry Toyota fans). Was restoring it, put 70,000 miles on it for a guesstimated total of 250,000 miles. Then hit by a Dodge Ram.

1967 Plymouth Belvedere - (2001) - Sold Running at 85,000 miles - Hugely regret selling it, needed MINOR work but nobody would let me park it for the 1 month until I could afford the work.

1994 Dodge Shadow - (2001-2004) - Given Away Dead at 161,000 miles - Cost me a new tranny, had to replace the headgasket 3 times, then it blew the font seal and died. Made me hate Dodge.

1992 Toyota Tercel - (2004-2005) - Insurance Loss at 152,000 miles- When I got this in 2004, it looked so good people thought it was a rental. Fixed tons of stuff, drove it all over the place. Then a woman in a 96 Corolla pulled out in front of me on the freeway.

1994 Dodge B250 Van - (2005) - Ran Away as Fast As I Could at 70,000 miles - My family's "answer" to buying me a replacement for the Tercel. P.O.S.

2001 Ford F150 - (2006) - Given Back at 203,000 miles - Family's second "answer" to helping me replace the Tercel. Great truck, looked & ran like new. Got 15mpg. I gave it back to my sister.

1990 Toyota Corolla (2006-2007) - Current Vehicle) - Bought it for $500 from a friend who let it get flooded rather than bother moving it before the water rose. Water was only in the floorboards, so it still ran. After I bought it, put on new CV joints, fixed the AC and a few minor things - and now have put another 20,000 miles on it for a total of 221,000 miles.

Next car? I'm leaning toward Volkswagen. Mostly because I really don't like most of Toyota's current lineup. The Yaris tantalized me, but it is too much a "cutesy" car for my tastes. I prefer something a little more sporty - not that I always get my wish since I'm a bargain hunter.


Try one of the 7th generation (1993 - 1997) Corollas. They are great cars.

I have had 23 cars in 37 years and also 9 motorcycles and 3 motorhomes as well as 58 bicycles.

My first car was a 1963 Pontiac LeMans that I bought for $40.

My first Corolla was a 1992 and I paid $1500 for it.

My latest Corolla was a 1994 that I paid $900 for - from e-Bay.

Even though I've had previous experience with Toyota and other imports - my Corolla was not my first choice in 2001 when I got it new. Actually we were shopping for a Honda > dealership was too busy to help me, even with cash in hand - so we rolled over to the Nissan lot, same deal there. Hit dealership after dealership until we stopped at Toyota. Walked up the sales guy and said that he had the easiest sale - take $1000 off that Silver Corolla and it was a done deal. Came back with $750 off + free maintenance and it was a done deal.

Cool - looks like we have another former MOPAR owner here. That actually happens alot - many have gone from Mopar to Toyota, kind of weird. I've never had a real beef with any Mopar vehicle, save our current 2nd gen Dakota (got lucky with a fresh 2nd gen Dodge Ram - no major problems over its 240K+ lifespan - so figured what could go wrong, turns out - just about everything). Problem that I've had (most of them were older 60s - 70's era vehicles, ie. tanks and land yachts) was the body always rotted out before the drivetrain gave out (lived in the salt-belt).


I'd driven nothing but Celicas since I got my '74. I didn't like the Calty design Celicas, and shortly after I bought my Corolla, they ceased production of the Celica, anyway. Guess I wasn't the only one who was disenchanted!

I have only had a handfull of vehicles since I got my first car in 1972. I find the new ones cost more, but the lifespan "should" be a long time. My '07 Voyager lasted over 15 years without even changing a muffler. In 2003 I bought a low mileage "mint" 1988 Buick...which rusted right out in two years. That took me to a vist to the local Toyota dealer as we already had 3 Echos in the family.

Basically..the reason I walked out of there that day without looking around further was the unique colour of my car. ..Love at first site.

Generations of Mopars in my life and family before me. My small (10,000 person) hometown was heavily a Mopar town since the most ethical dealer/service shop sold them. I got a K-Car Aries wagon to 180,000 miles. Got a Dodge Dynasty up to unknown miles (surely 200k, but the odometer broke years before). An Intrepid filled with suck, a Dakota pickup I still drive (about 2000 miles a year, almost always pulling a trailer), and now this 96 Corolla that fell in my lap from grad-student friends returning to their home country. As gas prices have gone up, the Corolla rocks. The fact that I can't go to a Dodge/Chry showroom today and pick up something that gets over 26 mpg on the highway is ludicrous! My 11 year old well-ridden Corolla gets 36 still. DCX was hoping they would be importing SmartCars and Chinese Chery's by now, so they put no design effort into an efficient car after they riced up the Neon (then axed it). Bad business when gas is north of $3.

As an owner, I love that there isn't a bolt, bulb, belt, or panel in the Corolla (that I've had to deal with... I draw the line and let a shop deal with timing belts) that isn't obviously engineered to be as simple as possible to get to and replace.


I just bought a Mazda3 for my wife, granted it's not a Toyota, but it is still made in Japan.

My '93 is the first and only car I've ever owned. I bought it used back in 1997 for around $9,000, after I graduated from college. I wanted something reliable and fuel efficient. Coming from a family that subsists on 60's cars, anything modern seemed luxury. I was a big fan of the metallic blue-green color as well. It's been as reliable as I hoped it would be.

Over the last couple years it's begun to need more repairs, but on the other hand, it's paid off. I'll keep it around for the foreseeable future.

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I just bought a Mazda3 for my wife, granted it's not a Toyota, but it is still made in Japan.

You're right.

Mazda = car with a soul

Toyota = car

I had a 1995 Lebaron GTC convertible for my first car. It was 5 years old, had 38k miles on it and was absolutly mint. After 18 months the electrical system went to hell in a hand-basket. Traded it in on a 1999 Contour SE sport with 12k on it in 2002. It was a good car when it worked. After keeping that car until 2005, I got rid of it and leased my 2005 LE. Then I started driving a Mazda3 s because a family member needed a car with better fuel economy. Now I'm driving another family members car because they are close to the miles on their lease and I'm not on my Corolla.

I'm not buying another Corolla. I'm going for a Subaru Impreza. So much more fun to drive, so many more standard features, and AWD!

If I needed a car with high MPG and high resale with good engineering above all else the Corolla would be it, but I want a car that is fun to drive and well engineered and I'm willing to give up some resale value and MPG for it.

I just bought a Mazda3 for my wife, granted it's not a Toyota, but it is still made in Japan.

If I needed a car with high MPG and high resale with good engineering above all else the Corolla would be it, but I want a car that is fun to drive and well engineered and I'm willing to give up some resale value and MPG for it.


I've actually been intrigued by the Scion TC lately.... of course, I'm not quite sure what it would say about me - a 33 year old straight-laced guy, driving a youth-market ricer like a TC, but hey... its got good features, a bit of fun, and the right price.

Of course... I'll probably end up doing something crazy like the time I bought the 76 Duster .. or the 67 Belvedere... except this time, I'm thinking British, about 1969.

about 1969.
Ahh, 1969. My first car was a stock immaculate 1969 big-block Chevy Nova, handed down from my grandfather in 1989 with 77K miles on it. No matter where I went, I kept getting offers for it. Unfortunately, I drove it until the tranny fell out (literally) in 1999 on the 880 Freeway.


I'll post my history soon. It is short, but I'm tired . . .

My 98' Corolla is my first and only car. I bought it used in August 2005 for $8000 in order to commute to college. It was previously owned by an elderly man who put only 50k miles on it. I have no plans on ever selling it. If the engine dies, I'll put in another, if gas runs out, I'll convert it to an EV car.

My family:

Start: 93 Corolla, bought Dec 1993 at C$18580. Traded in Jan 1997. Was fed 91 octane for some time until I told my dad 87 octane will do.

94 Accord bought at ~$26k as my dad started his brief stint in real estate. Stolen Dec 1996. Recovered soon after but still turned over to insurance.

97 Camry, bought Jan 1997 at C$28500 with aforementioned insurance money plus traded in 93 Corolla for ~C$7600. Broke camshaft the next day!!!

99 Corolla, bought Apr 1999 at C$24800 for my brother for his internship at Honda . It then became my commute car for years, then stowed for 10 months as my old insurance wants a big hike. Switched insurance, did manual conversion and suspension upgrades, got vanity plate, cancelled unlucky plate, and got ownership from my dad all in Jul 2007. Recently track proven. default_biggrin It has seen more mods in 2 months than all other cars had seen in their lifetime. LOL

I was the one who drove the 97 and 99 off the lot. Hehehe.

My uncle's family (have same plate throughout):

Start: 93 base Corolla, totalled shortly afterwards. His daughter was airlifted to Sick Kids and the incident made it to the newspaper...

Replace by a Nissan Sentra of unknown year - maybe a 94, slowly turning into a maintenance headache, and was traded for a...

01 Corolla. That's all I know.

I wish I had a few of these back...............


1952 Ford pickup....

1957 Plymouth Savoy 4 door - another free one from my uncle

1962 Ford Falcon - I think I was 12. Free from my uncle who owned a repair garage.

1963 Corvair Greenbriar van - perfect condition...bought from another uncle...needed an engine.

1963 Corvair (parts car) - another free one from my uncle

1963 Chevy Impala 2 door

1963 Chevy Impala 4 door - another free one from my uncle

1964 VW bug

1965 GTO convertible - traded Greenbriar van for this after I rolled the van.....good deal. Needed an engine

1965 Plymouth Belvedere 4 door

1966 VW bug

1967 Buck Skylark GS

1968 Plymouth Barracuda fastback

1968 Oldsmobile 88 4 door

1969 Ford F250 4WD pickup/plow

1969 Triumph TR6

1970 Triumph TR6

1970 Chevelle SS396

1970 Chevy C10 4x2 pickup

1971 Triumph TR6 (3)

1972 Ford Pinto wagon

1973 Triumph TR6 (2)

1979 Dodge Apen SE 2 door

1980 Plymouth Volare wagon

1982 Chevy Malibu wagon

1985 S10 4x2 pickup

1986 S10 4x2 pickup (2)

1988 Plymouth Reliant wagon

1988 Jeep Cherokee

1989 Mercury Grand Marquis 4 door

1989 Jeep Cherokee

1995 Toyota Corolla

1996 Plymouth Voyager minivan

1998 Ford Ranger 4x2 pickup

1998 Toyota Camry

1999 Toyota Camry

2000 Jeep Cherokee


1972 CZ 250 motorcross

1971 Honda SL175 enduro

1972 Honda CB750

1974 Kawasaki 900 Z1

1980 Honda MR175 enduro

1982 Suzuki PE175 enduro

That is a NICE list of cars there TRCar54! Some nice GM A-bodies, MOPAR B-bodies, some classic imports - nice mix.


Buurin--- Always good to hear about other Corollas being autocrossed or taken to the track!

Staying on topic-- I drove a Corolla originally out of convenience, but later decided it was a keeper default_cool

In late 2005, I bought a sportscar that I wanted to autocross and daily drive when the weather was cool-- then keep it in the garage during most of the summer. No snow or salt to worry about here in Arizona, but the sun and heat warps interiors and fades paint in a nasty way. I planned on keeping my 97 Grand Cherokee as a partial daily driver and summer car, but it only lasted another 4 months until it spun a pushrod on the freeway and retired at 160K miles. It wasn't worth replacing the engine. My wife was still driving her 'college car' (a 99 Corolla VE with 75K miles) at the time, but was planning on buying a new car soon. She stayed loyal to Toyota and bought a new Matrix XR shortly afterwards. Rather than trade the Corolla, we kept it as an extra daily driver.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep the Corolla for long. I wanted something a bit 'sportier' that I could take to autocross sites over 150 miles away. Anyways; I went ahead and autocrossed the car as-is (crappy Nankang tires and all), and did OK. It kinda started as a joke. It is far from ideal (soft suspension, small stock wheels, AUTOMATIC...), but I learned a lot from autocrossing a car that shifts weight all over the place. I've learned more from driving a Corolla in HStock than I have from any other car I've autocrossed! Heck, I've managed to PAX 1000 with it. I don't autocross it much anymore, but it is still fun to see what it can do once and a while. It is at about 90K miles now. The car held up well, hasn't required anything more than routine maintenance so far, and gets good mileage-- So I decided it was a keeper...

Here's my list of automobiles owned, and a short history of each:

1965 Ford Galaxie 500 LTD: My first car at age 17; purchased for $1,095. Gift of my parents to be used as transportation to/from college, a 15-mile one way commute. The car was 5 years old when purchased in 1970, and had only 27,000 miles on it. It was in beautiful condition. 2-dr. sedan, 352 cube V-8 2-bbl and dual exhaust. 10 MPG city, but could get 18-20 highway if I was careful. I was young and usually wasn't. Many girls in large accommodating back seat! I had it for a mere three years, ended up with 90,000 miles and it was totally shot - rust everywhere, and leaking stuff from every pore. Traded it for $50.00 for --

1972 Mitsubishi (Dodge) Colt - Purchased in 1973 for $1600, used. 1600 cc. 4-cyl. 4-speed. Great little car, great gas mileage, for the time, usually around 30 MPG. Purchased with 16,000 miles, and again I ran it up to 90+ K miles, then sold it for $900 just before I left for basic training in the Air Force in 1976.

1978 Plymouth Horizon, 1700 cc. 4-cyl, 4-speed. Purchased as my first new car in 1978 after returning to the states to Andrews AFB, MD after my 1 yr. tour at Osan ABB, Korea. Also a nice car, but had a few maintenance issues early on, the carburetor had to be replaced. Also had some recurring overheating issues. Ran it for 5 years and 50 K miles, then sold it for $2500 before leaving on a tour at Rhein-Main AB, Germany.

1983 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, 4-dr. Sedan, 305 cube V-8, automatic, loaded. Very nice car, but again, had plenty of maintenance issues, mainly related to the emissions system. I owned this car while stationed at Plattsburgh AFB, NY, cold North country, very snowy winters. It performed great, never got it stuck, even drove it out of snow up to the door handles; was using Goodyear F32 snow tires on this RWD car. This car had an annoying problem in that the stamped steel "spoked" wheel covers were very noisy -- I ended up removing them just for some relief on long trips. I owned it for only 19 months, then sold it for $6,000 before returning to Germany for another tour at Rhein-Main AB,where I bought...

1986 Opel Rekord, 4-cyl, 4-speed, not at all "loaded." Probably one of the finest automobiles I've ever owned. Would cruise the Autobahn's all day at 160 kph no problem. Owned for 2 years, and sold before moving to England where I bought...

1987 (British "D" Reg.) Mitsubishi Lancer, which was essentially another Colt under a different name tag. 1200 cc. 4-cyl, 5-speed. Absolutely a perfect car in every respect, purchased 2 years old with around 27,000 miles. I owned it for 2 years and had it up to 52,000 miles. I bought it 2 years old in 1989 for $5200 USD and sold it 2 years later for $3,725! Try renting a car for 2 years for under $1500!

1991 Ford Tempo 4WD -- I purchased this car from AAFES Auto Sales while still in England, and picked it up in Denver, CO after arriving at the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs in early 1991. I owned it for 7 months, racked up 20,000 miles, and sold it because it was just too underpowered with a 100 hp. 4-cyl. and automatic transmission dragging around all that 4WD gear that got used almost never! I made a good trade on a...

1991 Ford Taurus GL -- 3.8 L. V-6, auto, loaded. This car had great performance, but lousy brakes. I owned it for 9 years and 134,000 miles and the car had 5 brake jobs in that time. Also replaced most of stuff under the hood, including the head gaskets. The big V-6 engine had great torque, and "fun to drive" acceleration, but it ate up the tranny. Transmission was replaced under warranty at 50,000 miles. Basically a POS. Like my old '65 Ford, I drove it to a Toyota Dealer leaking out of every pore, and got a $500 trade on...

2001 Toyota Corolla LE, 5-speed. Great car, but the hydraulic clutch was simply way too stiff for the 99% city driving I do, so after 2 years and 20K miles, traded it for my present...

2003 Toyota Corolla LE, Automatic. Now going strong after five years and almost 50K miles. No need to replace it, really, but if the '08 Corolla appeals to me, I could be motivated to change. Only major maintenance so far was new front brake rotors/pads done this June at around 47,000 miles. Amazing.

I looked at the dodge neon, nissan sentra, honda civic, and toyota corolla. The neon had a cheap feel and I didnt like the interior layout. Same with the sentra plus I think the hp was lower. The honda civic was nice but I think the hp was a little lower and the cost was too high and they wouldnt budge much from sticker price, so I decided to get the most car out of my money and I got the corolla. The design isnt as good as we'd like but the name of the game is reliability. Sticker was over $18k and I drove it out for $15.5k. 7yrs and its taken me wherever I needed to be. Granted Im having mileage problems right now but it will get me across the country and back if I need to.

Cars Ive owned:

74 vw bug

88 toyota mr2 sc

90 honda civic

73 gmc sierra

88 chevy sprint

92 ford escort

01 toyota corolla

I watched a report earlier today in CNN Money and it talked about how on average, you can save between $30,000 to $50,000 on average by keeping a car for its lifetime and doing all the scheduled and neccessary maintenance instead of buying a new one every 5 years (the average duration American's keep their cars).

I watched a report earlier today in CNN Money and it talked about how on average, you can save between $30,000 to $50,000 on average by keeping a car for its lifetime and doing all the scheduled and neccessary maintenance instead of buying a new one every 5 years (the average duration American's keep their cars).

That's a no-brainer for me since mine is so far away from the norm now. default_biggrin

Some people aren't so smart. When the 60k servicing comes along and they see they need to spend $1,000 for new tires and brakes (which is what I had to do), they immediate use it as an excuse to trade in for a new car. But what they don't realize is that it makes more sense to fix the brakes, buy new tires, and drive your car ANOTHER 60k miles instead of wasting $10,000 on a new car which is going to run into the same problem again at 60k miles.

Other people just buy into the marketing scheme which tries to continually make you feel your old car is out of style, less powerful, and inferior to the new ones.

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Other people just buy into the marketing scheme which tries to continually make you feel your old car is out of style, less powerful, and inferior to the new ones.

Other people buy new cars because they get bored with what they bought 3 years ago and want something new now, not necessarily because they think their current car is inferior to the new ones.

I'm one of those people. My Corolla is a classic example of this. I leased the car thinking it would be great to get 38 mpg, only to find after I drove a Mazda3 for a year that I didn't care that the Mazda only got 27 mpg. I cared more that the Mazda was fun to drive.

When my lease is up I won't get another Corolla. I'm aiming at buying a certain Japanese car with AWD, not because it is better than my Corolla but because I don't need the Corolla's 38 mpg and I want something fun to drive.


I get another car because I want something different.

I usually buy used cars that I can work on (just a hobby), then I either sell it or drive it for a while.

When I get another car that is better, I sell the old one. I never trade it in for a new one.

I think new cars are overpriced and that is evidenced by the rate of depreciation.

You put a couple of miles on it and it become used. You will never get your money back if you sell it.

Get a used car, keep it running, and drive it for many years. That will get your moneys worth out of it.

Long story...

I learnt to drive on a 1990 holden nova. Originally my parents were going to get my brother and myself a used car each for university. However, the plan didn't work out; the 1990 nova (aussie version of chev prisim) ended up being the family's second car. It had no power, no brakes, and lousy fuel economy - to get it to keep up with traffic it needed the gas down a bit, which negated any possible fuel economy gains. It was a 3 speed auto, carby 1.6L motor. Rubbish. I wish I learnt to drive on a manual but my brother was learning on an auto and that is what we had. I wanted paid manual lessons, but the folks had no bar of that. But the nova at least looked nice...

A few years down the track I was car-less at uni, relying on friends and the ambigous public transport system. I continually asked to borrow the nova, me paying for petrol etc. however the parents wanted two cars. Dunno why; Mum had just stopped working, they had no need for two cars. Anyway I had saved up some $$$ and was going to get a $1500 dunger from a lot in newcastle; it would be in my name, they could not do anything about it. So they then announced they would help me. I could have a 4 cyl car with at least one airbag. I wanted a manual but they were paying for it so they called the shots - it had to be an auto, so that my brother could drive it - he bloody only drove it a few times, didn't he?!?! We started looking in lots around orange; we considered a new elantra, a '99 Ford Laser, and then we found the prize...shiny bright blue '00 corolla conquest liftback. I loved the looks, that was the main thing that attracted me to it. So we got it, and I used it from October' 02 to March '05.

When I got confirmed for my first job out of uni, I immediately started looking for a possible replacement - I investigated a new Golf (to $$$) new astra (too slow), new corolla (found the seating position weird) and a used BA Ford Falcon. I thought it may be better to upgrade my vehicle a little to make it more interesting; fitted some alloys to it. Looked even better. But a few months later in Feb '05 I found myself one saturday feeling a bit lonely - I was missing one friend from university in particular. So as a cheer up I went out 'caryarding' - you know, out tyre kicking, just to see what was out there.I went to a few different yards before arriving at the local Toyota Dealer. The salesperson came up to me and asked if I was interested in anything. Instead of the normal 'no,no just looking, thanks anyway' for some reason, even to this day I do not know why I said this, the words slipped out 'hmm, maybe a corolla conquest auto'. I suggested white as a possible colour. They asked me about my trade in etc, and asked what change over I was looking for. I suggested a number that was very low, hoping they would bugger off. However, They came back with a figure which was in the ball park of what I could have possibly afforded - we went from there, the haggling dragged out til 6.30 that eveing before I shook their hand, saving $3500. No, didn't even really consider another car - to this day I think maybe a manual Mazda3 would have been a better pick, but everyone is an expert in hindsight. So in a sentence it was, well, dumb luck I guess I just fell into it....

As for future purchases well I am squirrelling away the money I was paying the loan off (paid it off over 3 years in advance!) into a managed fund. I have considered replacing my car with

*Triumph Stag

*BMW E36

*Holden Commodore

*Ford Falcon

*Holden Barina

*Mazda 3

*Toyota Yaris (list goes on)

but I just haven't got it all to add up in terms of cost, fuel economy, reliability, safety, practicality, features and so forth - out of all these, keeping the corolla remains the sensible choice. May be 'we' were meant to be together from day 1?

That is a NICE list of cars there TRCar54! Some nice GM A-bodies, MOPAR B-bodies, some classic imports - nice mix.

Starting in 1976

1972 Triumph TR-6. Traded for a...

1974 MG Midget. Traded for a...

1969 Opel GT. Traded for a...

1980 Dodge Colt. Traded for a...

In 1985, I married a 1982 Subaru 4WD Sedan and a wife came with it.

In 1988, traded the Dodge Colt for a 1988 Subaru 4WD Hatchback.

In 1992, traded the Subaru 4WD Sedan for a 1992 Mazda B-2600i 4WD Pickup

In 1994, sold the 4WD Hatchback and bought a 1991 Honda Civic from my Mom.

In 2001, traded the Civic for a 2002 Honda Accord.

In 2002, bought a 1998 Honda Civic for commuting purposes.

In 2003, traded both the 1992 Mazda and the 1998 Civic for a 2001 Toyota Tundra.

In 2007, bought a 2002 Corolla for commuting purposes.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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