Bronx Bomber: 1971 Toyota Corolla 2-Door Sedan

061716 Barn Finds - 1971 Toyota Corolla - 1

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This is a holy grail car for you JNC (Japanese Nostalgic Car) fans! This is a 1971 Toyota Corolla 2-Door Sedan and it’s not in California where I automatically assumed it would be, it’s at the other end of the US: Bronx, New York! This gorgeous example of Toyota goodness is listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over $2,200 and eight full days left on the auction! This one could get up there in price.

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I had this exact same car – my first car, in 1980 – but mine was a two-door wagon. Same color, same interior, but this one is so much nicer than mine was. I got mine for $400 when it was nine years old and starting to rust but it was a great, fun car Quirky? Yes, the clutch cable ran across the bottom of the dash and through a pulley connected to a bracket that would bend every few months. I had it down to about a half-hour job to take it off, weld it, and put it back under the dash again; like a pit crew changing a tire. I just about fell over when I saw car, I’ve been looking for a ’71 red Corolla wagon for a decade with no luck what so ever. (hint, hint)..

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Wow, this is a nice. And, it’s in the Bronx? Fugetaboutit, this thing should be littered with door dings and bumper dents. I’m in the Bronx at least once a year and I always come back with a few more dings and scratches on the bumpers; but it’s still one of my favorite cities. No, really! Actually, there are a couple of dings on the rear bumper. This is the E20 Corolla, made between 1970 and 1978, but only in the US from 1970 – 1974. And, it’s the TE21 chassis for the sedans; either 4-door or 2-door, as with this car. They made a coupe, also, as well as the wagon, that I’m still looking for (hint, hint).. Here is what the body styles looked like. The seller doesn’t give too much info on the car, but they do say that there is no rust, which.. wow! I can’t even imagine that, so yes, this is quite a find. They sum it up with two little words: “ALL GOOD”. I agree; well, almost all good..

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Dang it! You just knew that there’d be an automatic in this otherwise 90% perfect-looking car! That’s a huge bummer, even though we all know that it can be changed out to a 4-speed or a 5-speed. The 5-speed wasn’t available until 1972. The seller says that it needs upholstery in the “bottom front seat”, although I’m guessing that there may be more than just that needed on the driver’s seat; I could be wrong. The backseat looks like new, as do the door panels. Unfortunately, you probably aren’t going to find matching OEM fabric, but hopefully something close will do. The memories are flooding back looking at this car. Your first car shapes you a bit, whether it’s a Mustang, Chevelle, Pickup, or a Corolla wagon.

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This car has been been painted, we can see that now. The battery is in the trunk and you can definitely see that this car has been painted. I have to wonder if they put the battery in the trunk in preparation for putting in a slick, non-factory engine? It sure cleans up the look under the hood but it’s a huge bummer, for me at least, that this car has been repainted; I like to see whether things are decent before they’re covered up by new paint. And, you can see that this wasn’t quite a concours job with the spray gun by some of the overspray; another drawback.

This engine also has that funky, non-stock air cleaner. I don’t mean to be all negative on this car all of a sudden. I was all over it and now am having second thoughts after seeing the amount of work that has been done and wondering what may have been done too quickly for a sale. You can see overspray all over the engine compartment, unfortunately. By the look of the dirty, original engine they must not have pulled it when they sprayed the engine compartment.

This is the coveted “1,600” engine: the Toyota 2T-C, 1,588 cc inline-four with 102 hp. There is supposedly a better power-to-weight ratio in this car than in a new Corolla. Sadly, my Corolla had the 3K-C “1,200” with about 75 hp. This car has 25% more hp than mine did, that’s quite an increase. I used to run my car around an ice-racing track and it was a hoot, I couldn’t imagine having another 25% more horsepower. I still think this is a good car. It looks great overall other than some disappointing details that make me think it was done for a quick sale. Are there any early-70s Corolla fans out there? If so, would you lose the automatic?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. wade

    $4250.00 already, wow. strange being a auto and has what looks like to me a clutch pedal?

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    • Scotty GAuthor

      Good eye, Wade. I noticed that, too. Weird.

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    • Charlie H

      I think what looks like a pedal is part of the floor mat. It’s perfectly centered….

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      • wade

        okay I looked again and I agree it looks like the floor mat, but it started driving me a little nuts so I looked around for a pic of a 71 corolla and found this.

        Like 0
  2. HoA Howard AMember

    Man, this is one basic car. Point A to point B, economically, with as little fanfare as possible. I had a friend with a yellow one like this, man, that was one basic car. ( did I say that already?) The doors, I swear, were like 3/4 of an inch thick, it handled poorly when pushed, but turn the key and go. As with all, terrible rusters, they weren’t around long in the salt. So unusual to see one like this.

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  3. Woodie Man

    Man these used to litter Berkely like pigeon droppings. Weird how folks go crazy over such a basic rice burner

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    • Greg A Yancey

      I bought a brand new 1971 Green (looked like British Racing Green), black interior with 4 sp and what I remember to be the 1100cc engine….I paid 1749.00 plus tax and they threw in the AM radio for free. Had a recall shortly after that involved the package tray…seems like ‘stuff’ on the tray was falling off the unprotected end that was basically over the gas pedal and causing issues….so the recall was a clip on unit that clipped onto the end and provided a ‘dam’ to stop things from falling off. Toyota claimed a top speed of 78 mph….they were spot on!

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  4. Andrew

    I always thought that Japanese dashboards / seats were years ahead of their time, compared to European cars from that era.

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  5. Scotty GAuthor

    Luckily nobody is forcing you to buy one, Ralph..

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  6. John P

    I can’t believe the bidding on this… Speaking in reference to the ’72 Carina that recently sold–and this thing is clearly not original.. Poor pictures, details and paint work–makes me suspect hidden rust and repairs.. I’ll watch–

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  7. audifan

    Why don’t you find a Ford Escort, or whatever Ford/Chevy/Chrysler sold back then, of that vintage. They must be much better cars. P. S. Nobody forces you to buy a Japanese car. The big three need your business way more.

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  8. audifan

    By the way, Toyota is the largest car manufacturer in the world, followed by VW.
    Calling these cars jap junk shows me how ill informed and ignorant some people are.

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  9. Stephen

    This is a bigoted comment and should be removed!

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  10. Stephen

    Remove Ralph Terhune’s bigoted comment!

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  11. krash

    I love the “jap crap”….(and have owned a long list of old Toyotas)….

    They always got me to my destination…with zero maintenance…in the worst New England weather…

    wish I still had ’em….

    Like 0
  12. Charles H.

    I believe that absolutely is a clutch pedal that is missing the rubber cover, and not part of the floor mat……just look at in the ebay ad…..strange!

    Like 0

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