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Sin City Silver Sedan: 1981 Toyota Corolla Sedan

061416 Barn Finds - 1981 Toyota Corolla - 1

This fourth-generation Toyota is in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I should be right now. It’s a 1981 Toyota Corolla Sedan and it’s listed on eBay with a current bid price of just over 2,600 spins on a dollar slot machine and there are five days left on the auction. These later cars aren’t as popular or collectible as the earlier generation cars are, but this is a clean one, it’s a two-door, and it’s the last of the rear-wheel-drive Corollas, so it has that going for it. There are less than 70,000 miles on this car which probably explains why it’s in such great shape.

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The fourth-generation E70 Corolla was made between 1979 and 1983 and it was the last generation to have rear-wheel-drive which makes them pretty desirable, despite the squared-off edges. But, it was the 1980s when it was hip to be square. As you can see, there is pretty much no rust on this car, but there is a crease in the right side. That may be hard to fix without having to try to match 35-year old silver paint, which would be tough to do as evidenced by the vast number of silver cars with gray doors roaming around out there on the strip. And, here’s another view of that ding, dang, door dent. The other side looks perfect, though, condition-wise. Again, and I say this every time, but I know that vintage Japanese cars aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak. I like this car because it’s in such great shape, it’s 35 years old which is reasonably old in the car world, it has rear-wheel-drive, and it’s a two-door.

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The bumpers are pretty intrusive, visually, but I’m sure they help in casino parking lot fist-a-cuffs. This car has the $86 shiny-tire option which only came on certain… er.. no, sorry, just seeing if you were still with me. Hey, it’s an ’81 Corolla, I have to do something to keep you awake!

061416 Barn Finds - 1981 Toyota Corolla - 4

Ga, my eyes! Yes, unfortunately it’s an automatic, which explains why it’s in such nice condition. The manual transmission cars were mostly modified to within an inch of their lives, the automatic cars were treated with care, for the most part, by reasonable, rational, sensible adults. Which is why I like manual transmissions, I’m none of those things. Of course, anyone with a modicum of skills could switch it out to a proper 5-speed in a weekend or two. The interior will need more work than just making the shifter move in different directions. The dash top is covered so I’m assuming that it’s as cracked as a 45-minute Marty Allen set from a 1981 Las Vegas Hilton show. But, that can be changed out for a hundred bucks and yet another weekend. What are you going to do with your weekends in Vegas anyway.. And, the seat covers need help, too. It looks like Siegfried & Roy kept their tiger in the backseat, you’d better order up a cover for that while you’re at it. Nice kitty.

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This is Toyota’s 3T-C engine, a 1.8L inline-four with 75 hp. That’s when a manual transmission would come in handy, when you’re that far under 100 hp. Of course, this engine can be modified to pump out 300 hp, so there’s that. The seller says that it has “very cold r12 AC”, which is nice, especially in the desert. This would be a good car for someone younger than the average collector car fan, maybe someone who was born in the 1970s or 1980s and doesn’t want a giant car with a giant V8. This Corolla has a lot going for it in my book. It’s in super nice condition, and it has two doors and rear wheel drive. This one is a bit newer than what is normally shown on these pages, but, are there any fans of these rear-wheel-drive Corollas out there? If so, would you modify this car with a 5-speed and a hotter engine or leave it as is?


  1. sparkster

    I had an 1986 rwd Corolla , What a great car. I believe 1987 was the last year for rwd Corolla’s.

    Like 0
  2. Danger Dan

    I had the hottest stripper in Northern California riding around in one of these. We met on a fluke New Year’s Eve. It was my only wheels at the time.

    Like 0
  3. Michael V.

    My sister had one of these, and all I remember about it was that it was already rusting around the rear window when it was only a couple of years old. I’m guessing the Las Vegas climate is a little drier than Alabama.

    Like 0
  4. Jenni

    I had a 1981 5-speed manual that I loved. I wish I still had it! It was such a great car!

    Like 1
  5. Luis

    Hi,The car is for sale Let me know please

    Like 3
  6. Ismael Rosa Jr

    I would like to buy Toyota corolla. I am a serious buyer.

    Like 1
  7. David

    Had this car in white Automatic transmission. It was an awesome car I ran the Hell out of it and tried everything in that car.

    Like 0

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