598,310 Miles! 1983 Toyota Corolla DLX Wagon

We’ve seen cars with low-mileage claims and those usually get their share of jeers. How about a car that looks like it has low miles but has almost 600,000 miles?! This 1983 Toyota Corolla DLX Wagon is that car. This is one amazing little machine. It’s listed here on eBay with an equally amazing price of, gulp, $7,990! It’s located at a dealership in Canton, Georgia.

This is one amazing car. On top of having almost 600,000 miles, or more than a trip to the moon and back, this car looks almost like new. The seller says that it’s a rust-free car, too. I know a lot of you are saying, “Big deal, it’s a throwaway Toyota..” I don’t care what it is, if it looks this good with 598,310 miles on it, it’s a special car. If it looks this good with 50,000 miles on it, it’s a special car. Whether it’s $7,990 special is another question.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of small cars, especially small Japanese cars like this little wagon. It’s not my favorite era with the big black bumpers but Japanese market bumpers are probably available on auctions and a person could tighten up the look a bit. I don’t see one flaw on the exterior of this car but if there is one someone will notice it and point it out, I have faith. One reason there doesn’t appear to be a flaw is that the seller had the car painted six years ago, that explains it.

Ok, finally a flaw: the crack on the top of the dash. I was getting worried that I wouldn’t see one thing wrong with this car. And, don’t we always expect to see an automatic transmission in a car that’s this nice? The librarian’s-car syndrome? Not here, the seller says that this “5-speed transmission was re-built in 2004 at approx 525k and had new clutch and gone thru and is tight and smooth” The interior, other than the cracked dash top, looks great. The seats had to have been reupholstered, there is no way that 600,000 miles were driven on those perfect looking seats. The back seat was probably never sat in for 500,000 of those miles as the second owner is the one who put the miles on it as a pharmaceutical sales rep. The rear cargo area looks great but used, which it should be after hauling things for the last 35 years.

For having almost 600,000 miles, this 1.6L inline-four sure looks great. The plate on the firewall says that this is Toyota’s 4A-C California market engine but the sticker on the engine itself says that it’s Toyota’s 3A which was a 1.5L inline-four. In either case the current owner says that they “had t-belt done approx 5k ago with full tune-up!” Other than the price this is one desirable car, at least in my opinion. I can’t see it ever selling at $7,990 but I could be wrong and I guess you have to start somewhere. It’s certainly worth much more than NADA’s high estimate of $3,275.

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Comments

  1. Nrg8

    598K miles? Yeah um no

  2. 8banger dave Member

    Aw, those ignition cables sure are pretty!

  3. Rube Goldberg Member

    While there’s no arguing with a 6 digit speedo, ( I’m amazed it worked for that long) this motor had to be rebuilt at some point. Even the best Asian cars won’t make it a half a mil without a rebuild, although, it’s possible. Regardless, someone drove the heck out of this car, and never in salt.

    • Fred w.

      I also doubt it could go 600K miles with just a timing belt and tuneup, but who knows? They routinely go 300K miles, so with frequent synthetic oil changes, maybe it’s possible. Can’t imagine the wheel bearings could go that far though. As far as driving the heck out of it goes- it’s only 17,500 miles a year on average.

      • Rube Goldberg Member

        It’s possible today, but remember, synthetic oil didn’t really gain steam until the 90’s, so half of it’s life had to be on conventional oil. 17,500/year, I suppose, is not a lot of miles, but it would be EVERY year for 35 years, and for it to look like this, something fishy.

      • Steve65

        It has a replacement motor in it. Where it came from and what its condition was when installed isn’t mentioned.

        “The plate on the firewall says that this is Toyota’s 4A-C California market engine but the sticker on the engine itself says that it’s Toyota’s 3A which was a 1.5L inline-four.”

      • grant

        New upholstery, repaint and a replacement engine. It’ll go 2 million miles if the owner keeps restoring it.

    • Concinnity

      I ran a newer model 7th gen E70 model of Corolla past 1 million km (620,000 miles) as a courier vehicle. When you do big mileage every day, it soon adds up. It would still be on the road bar a minor accident, (try getting a good valuation from insurance at that mileage, so the car was written off)Other than cambelt changes, I rebuilt the A/C twice and repaired a 5th gear selector but had no other trouble, when it was written off, it still had the original clutch. The 6th and 7th gen FWD models were even better built than these 4th gen but the mechanicals even on these were well made. These cars are the reason Toyota is bigger than GM or Ford, their assembly quality and design for maintenance are so good. The model I had is still popular transport as taxis in poor countries like Afghanistan or Uzbekistan.

  4. 8banger dave Member

    As for our shop, our little ’92 240 wagon has 287k and it hasn’t missed a beat yet…

  5. edh

    At that many miles Toyota or not it’s best years are likely behind it.

    • Nrg8

      The metal would be all fatigued after rolling that many miles. New suspension and bushings would help a bit, but there would be a lot of flex.

  6. OIL SLICK

    why?

  7. Rich G

    I once saw an Acura Integra at the Kitchener Acura dealership with 798,000 km (about 500,000 miles) and it was their centerpiece vehicle sitting up on a platform with big bold letters proclaiming the mileage. I’m sure they made more selling Acuras than the car was worth. Maybe some Toyota dealer can do the same?

    A counter point – the different engine, non factory interior upholstery, and likely repaint are distractors from the true indication of longevity implied by the odometer.

  8. grant

    It’s worth whatever someone will pay for it. Personally, I’ve had a few. They’re one of those cars that you love while it’s serving you well, then you trade up and never think about it again. The partial restoration makes the mileage less remarkable.

  9. Classic Steel

    I bid one dollar on the price is right for
    this future no oil pressure car drew on the price not right😜🤣. Hmm do they make 150 oil grade beside rear end gear oil to aid all those worn rings.

    Now send it to a charity donation center!👀😗

  10. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    600,000 miles is no problem what so ever for almost any vehicle if the owner/s keep maintaining and/or changing and rebuilding the things that “need fixed”, as they say in 2018. Irv’s Volvo with 3,000,000 miles on it has had probably everything changed or rebuilt several times. There is no reason why this Corolla can’t have almost 600,000 miles on it, just like your unicycle could if you keep up on it (no pun intended).

  11. Gary

    Does the price include the seller’s secret on how to keep a 35 year old car with 600k miles looking like new? That would be worth something. But I don’t think $8k worth of something.

    Pretty entertaining find but I wouldn’t be interested in something like this in my garage.

    • grant

      The sellers secret isn’t so secret. Repaint and reupholster and put in a fresh engine once in a while.

      • Classic Steel

        Winner! The secret is out! 😎🤓🍾🥂

  12. BarnfindyCollins

    I like this car and the miles don’t bother me. The price does, but I’m cheap. That’s me. The former owner sounds like me as I drive 40k a year. My ’12 Versa just got totaled at 225k by a texting rear ender. When I sold cars 20-25 years ago we’d see 300-500k mile cars and trucks of all makes at the Toyota and Mazda dealer. The repaint seems nice. Back then and before everyone had problems with metallic paints. GM, Jaguar, ect. Even Rolls Royce with their ThermoPlastic cured paint gave problems. Others used it also. Back to the wagon here, I’d say the longtime owner loved his car, spent as he wanted and later decided to do something else or some salesman put him across the curb in another whiz bang car.

  13. BarnfindyCollins

    Scotty, I’d leave the bumpers as-is. I know they look like baby buggy bumpers as they are but those old 5mph bumpers did tend to work. Years ago my ’82 Datsun wagon got rear ended by a new ’93 Isuzu sedan and the whole front end was toast. My Datsun was not hurt. The heavy shock absorbers behind the bumper did their job. Bring us some wagons to drool over. Ford, Puegeot or Fiat. Thanks for the write up.

  14. Adam T45 Staff

    If as claimed this was a traveling reps car, then there would be a couple of very good reasons why this would be maintained to a high standard. Firstly, the appearance would need to be top notch as quite often a rep’s car is the first thing that a potential customer sees. Remember: The biggest problem with first impressions is that you only get to make them once. If you were a business owner, how would you feel if the rep’s vehicle looked like it was on its last legs?

    Secondly, a rep’s car needs to be reliable. Time parked in a workshop, or parked on the side of the road waiting for roadside assist is time that you are not dealing with customers and making money. That factor alone greatly increases the chances that this car has been maintained to the highest standards.

    As for longevity: Many of the late 70s/early 80s Japanese cars were notoriously prone to rust. The proof is in the rate that they have disappeared from our roads, many biodegrading back to Mother Nature. From my own experience, Corollas of this era seemed far less prone to these problems. I’d be giving it a thorough inspection, but there’s potential here. Is it worth the asking price? That’s up to the potential buyer. Only they know if they want to pay that much.

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      With all due respect, in America, the sales reps, that I dealt with, showed up in Lincoln’s and Cadillac’s, and such. If a sales rep showed up in a Toyota, unless they’re selling chopsticks to Asian restaurants, it was a turnoff. ( that was right from a body shop supply’s sales reps mouth)

      • Adam T45 Staff

        Reading the advert Rube, I think that it’s a case of “horses for courses” with this particular car and its history. If the description in the advertisement is to be believed, this was formally a the vehicle for a pharamceutical rep. If this is accurate, then the majority of what was carried would’ve been information pamphlets and papers for both doctors and drug store owners. Pharamceutical reps usually carry little or no stock to avoid being targetted by thieves, so a car of this size would actually be appropriate.

        I fully understand that some reps would require larger vehicles to carry samples and possibly deliveries. These guys are somewhat an exception to the rule.

  15. Sparkster

    I think we have a case of odometer tampering here on this Corolla. Too clean to have this amount of miles.I just had my daughter’s dark blue 2003 Corolla repainted as it is coming up to the 300,000 mile mark. The factories sure put a very thin layer of clear coat on cars. Her car runs flawless. Every 6000 miles she comes by the house and jacks up her Corolla and changes her synthetic oil . I told her after the paint is completely dry (30 days ) I was going to have an XPEL clear bra put on the hood and front bumper. So she’ll be good for another 300,000 miles. Great cars just not fast

    • JTNC

      I think that would be the first case of tampering the ODO to INCREASE a car’s mileage! I have a friend who has a TR4 (of all things) with over 400K miles on it. But it’s a bit like George Washington’s proverbial axe, everything has been replaced, some things more than once. But still, shows what dedication can do.

    • grant

      Read the story. The car has been refurbished, if not restored.

  16. BarnfindyCollins

    T45, you are right on about the sales rep description. Your car is your business tool, and any man can appreciate having a sharp knife when you need it.

  17. BOP Guy Member

    Cool ! I learned to drive stick on one of these, same year Corolla SR-5 two door hatchback. My Dad (as was his practice) bought it one year old with like 7,000 miles. After two years, he sold it to my aunt & uncle. They kept it for 15+ years, put 300,000+ miles on it, then sold it to someone else. He still sees it around going strong. Yeah, he had to rebuild the engine and transmission/clutch at some point, but treat them right and they just keep going !

  18. P Wentzell

    Proof that if you maintain a vehicle……
    Rube Goldberg – This car is in Canton, Georgia, it hardly ever snows there, this far South, the rare occasion there is snow, it is usually gone in a few days (read a few inches if that). Therefore, little to no salt on the roads.
    My dad was a Pharm rep, and he did carry samples (nothing worth breaking into the car for unless you had a headache or needed hospital grade body cleaning products). He was a big guy and went for full size Fords, then to Chevrolets, then to Buicks. More practical than a Corolla Wagon!
    My high mileage cars: 1993 Ford Escort Wagon 333K until a deer hit me – the car was driveable but my insurance company totaled it. 2001 Nissan Sentra – 374K until the clutch went out. The 2011 Sentra that replaced the 2001 was T-Boned and totaled at 183K (broke my knee cap in that one).
    But this Corolla….almost too perfect….and you really have to want it at $8K.

    • Miguel

      It sounds like you should hire a driver. You seem to be bad luck for the cars you drive.

  19. doug johnson

    My hhr has 556,711 miles on it and the motor has never been opened. About 5-7 weeks a regular synthetic oil change. Tranny was replaced at 425,000. This trip averaging about 28 mpg because its a little cooler in Mn this week

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Fantastic, Doug, that’s an amazing amount of miles!

    • dweezilaz

      Love reading this, Doug, as I have a 2.2 in my 05 ION. It’s getting the same sort of maintenance as your HHR has [ though less frequently ] but only 70,000 miles.

      A lot of people continually bag on this engine because of the early ones and I more often read others with absurd numbers of miles on theirs with few problems.

      Good for you.

      And I love reading about high mileage vehicles, Scotty. It’s indicative of a philosophy that can reap many benefits over the years.

  20. Bill Tracy

    I bought a truck from that dealer 5 years ago. Good guys, generally good vehicles for sale. I would drive this little wagon.

    Like 1
  21. Mark-A

    It’s just like the soon to retire Council Streetsweeper, that worked 50yrs & STILL her the same Brush he was given on his first day (even though he had fitted a Dozen brush heads & 11 Handles) but it was STILL the same Brush to him!!??

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