54k-Mile Survivor: 1990 Toyota Corolla DX Wagon

Thanks to a reputation for producing dependable and charming vehicles, Toyota is a well-celebrated auto manufacturer. Though most folks are partial to the sporty rear-wheel-drive models of the Corolla compact vehicle (myself included), this 1990 Toyota Corolla DX Wagon that’s available here on eBay is an immaculate specimen of the AE92 chassis, which represented a shift towards a more practical overall focus.

This wagon is available in Cherry Hill, New Jersey with a clean title. The seller purchased the vehicle from an auction where its only owner, an elderly lady, donated it.  She took excellent care of the vehicle, and there is paperwork documenting the entirety of its history and maintenance.

The maroon paint shines brightly, but there are some blemishes on the vehicle. The most noteworthy flaw is a scrape on the front bumper and driver’s side front fender. Except for that, the exterior is in great shape.

On a more positive note, the undercarriage appears to be free from rust.

The interior is mostly clean and original. It features “ice cold” air conditioning and all of the power accessories operate without issue.

There are some various signs of wear in the cabin, especially on the rear seat upholstery, but I enjoy the simple nature of the interior – especially the crank windows for all four doors.

Under the hood, there’s a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, which pairs to an automatic transmission to drive the front wheels. The combination has 54,170 miles, and even though it was last inspected in 2010, the seller mentions that the wagon runs, drives, and stops well.

At the time of publication, this no reserve auction is at $3,300. As a Toyota enthusiast myself, I’m not very keen on noticeable “flips” and how that practice affects the market, but regardless – there aren’t too many examples of these wagons left in this condition. Would you use this Corolla as a driver, or would you fix up some of the small flaws and make it a garage queen?


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  1. Stevieg Member

    Great daily driver! Cheap, economical, reliable, somewhat comfortable.
    I am actually thinking of bidding on this (if I could figure out that process) & letting my Hyundai go.
    I love Hyundai products, but this will have less electronics to break & probably far outlast my Hyundai.
    Plus, it has a wagon back instead of a trunk.
    If I were already in Az, I would bid without hesitation. Just store it until the Hyundai is junk. Then drive to the end.

    Like 5
  2. Oregon_Guy78

    A friend in college had one, very reliable and had very high miles and everything worked, AC, etc.

    Like 3
  3. Sam

    I sold the holy grail of these cars about two years ago, to pay for my then soon to be ex wife to move out of state. An ’88 All Trac Wagon. That was mint, minus some rust in the rear quarters. I will regret selling that car for life. I let it go for $2500. The guy didn’t even haggle. Just handed over the cash. He knew what he was getting.

    Like 6
  4. SMS

    Had one of these with a manual. Over 300k miles. Burned oil, common issue due to stuck rings, also a wheel bearing was getting noisy. Only things that broke were the radiator and the clutch pedal return spring. Not one tear in the interior. These things are robust.

    Like 6
    • Concinnity

      I had one of these in 2C diesel, five speed manual form. At over 1 million km, (620,000+ miles) I was run into and despite not being badly damaged the car was written off. A/C worked and it was still on the original clutch. Reliable as a rock, which is why they are still all over the place in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

      Like 4
  5. Andrew Franks

    A member of the Ultimate Drivers Group. You can’t go wrong. It’s too far away from me and I have no room anyway. Someone jump on it.

    Like 2
  6. Brent in Winnipeg

    I would have liked to see close-ups of the left-front damage and the rust behind the rear wheelwells.

  7. Marshall

    It’s from Connecticut and New York, yet no rust! She either never drove it in the winter, or hosed it down every day when she did. But I think 1990 was right about the time when car makers finally started rustproofing the cars so that they would not be all rotted out after less than 10 years. That was right about the time I first saw window stickers on new cars delineating a “five-year anti-perforation” warranty.

    I say this as I visited Connecticut in 2001. My aunt had a 1989 Taurus with over 100,000 miles on it with not that much rust on it. I also noticed most other older cars at the time in Connecticut were likewise.

    Rewind to 1974, when I was stationed near Chicago while in the army. Just about every car less than 10 years old was all rotted out behind the rear wheels. I bought a ‘67 Chevrolet that had fared better than most of them while stationed there. It was one of the best cars I ever owned.

    BTW, if that car really were as “extremely rare“ as that eBay flipper claims it to be, if I had a garage to put it in, and if it was close by, I might very well be on it. Otherwise, I’ll pass.

    Like 1
  8. Marshall

    I notice every time when I “click to edit”, I often can’t make corrections because I am unable to scroll from left to right on my iPhone 6s. Is there anything that can be done about that?

  9. Del

    Definitely a Barn Find

    I can smell the horse pucks from here

  10. Billieg

    Yawn…. Who collects Toyota Corolla DX Wagons?

    Like 2
  11. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Finished out at $5,127 with 61 bids.

    The rust behind the rear wheels was where the mud guards attach.
    Decent looking car, but I’d prefer a manual. Good and reliable DD for someone, though.

    Like 3
  12. PDXBryan

    I’m a life long car nut who grew up lusting after Shelbys, Vettes, Porsches etc. Yet I’m on my 3rd ’95 Corolla wagon. I know it’s the next model after this ’90 but all of these ’90’s Corolla wagons are just amazing vehicles. No, they’re not performance machines but yes, they are. They perform for you every time you turn the key, without complaint, with comfort, low maintenance, great economy, surprising roominess, excellent ergonomics, durable materials, adequate power and decent handling for mile after mile after mile after mile. If a car is judged by how well it accomplishes it’s design goals, I don’t think there’s ever been a better car made! Mine still looks, feels and drives like a mini Lexus after 258K miles.

    Like 2

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