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98 Birthdays: 1972 Toyota Corolla


Can you imagine owning the same car for most of your life and being able to keep it in tip-top condition? This 1972 Toyota Corolla here on eBay remains in excellent condition and belonged to the original owner until he turned 98 years old and the car was sold via his estate. It is a time-capsule quality example today and available in Wisconsin via an auction with the reserve price unmet. 


This second-generation Corolla is an automatic, but that just means it was likely rarely driven hard or otherwise thrashed. The interior has held up well, despite being bought new in Arizona where the sun can be hard on vinyl and dash plastics. There’s a slight tear on the driver’s seat, right where you can imagine the original owner steadying himself before setting in.


The seller says this example sports the 2T-C 1.6L four-cylinder motor, which made decent horsepower for this era of Japanese compact. Though the sportier SR and SR5 variants that came along later are more desirable, this E20 chassis Corolla still featured the upgraded front suspension, complete with a factory sway bar. Mechanically-speaking, the seller has found no major issues to report other than inoperable A/C.


With just under 42,000 original miles, it’s safe to say this Corolla lead a sheltered existence. There are some dings and dents, and the biggest strike against it is that the original owner was a smoker – and while there are some burns in the carpet as a result, no word on whether the scent of cigarettes can still be smelled. This Toyota would make a nice additional to a vintage Japanese car collection, or to simply hold on to and enjoy for the next 98 years.


  1. Avatar photo Manuel

    Is it really a Corolla ? For me a TA12 model like that is a Carina.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

      I’ve only seen one Carina. And it looked like this, although a different colour and much nicer condition.

      Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Tom Reichardt

    My first owned car was a ’73 Toyota Carina. They were the ones with the vertical taillights; which makes me wonder if this ’72 is actually a Carina.

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo pajones1972

    Checked the picture and it is a Carina, not a Corolla.

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo Eric

    Carina deluxe

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Dave at OldSchool Restorations

    sharp Carina……

    Here’s a just painted SR5 TE37 with a TWIN CAM……

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Eric Dashman

    The others got it right, not a Corolla, but a Carina, the next model up before Corona. They did share the same 1.6 engine though (although Corollas could also be had with a 1.2 litre engine). My 72 had the 2T-C hemi head engine. Very easy to work on and solid (mine did about 160K before I passed it on to someone else). Performance was okay, but nothing like the Rabbits or Opel 2000s. 0-60 in somewhere around 13-14 seconds, but they’d run all day at 70+ and pull up hills too. Plenty of torque. I didn’t do anything to heat it up, but there were others who did. The worm gear (ball and roller?) steering box wasn’t the greatest. The car handled okay, but the steering would have benefited from a rack & pinion design.

    Like 0
  7. Avatar photo nessy

    I don’t know why I like these early Japanese tincans but I do. I still have my 81 Datsun 210 hatchback that my 70 year old aunt bought new. It only has 30k miles. With no air, no radio and an automatic, it was never a good everyday car. Still glad I kept her car anyway. The aunt is still around today too….

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Tom Reichardt

    Didn’t check the eBay listing before I posted. Mine was that dark purple color w/ a stick. Didn’t bother getting AC. Parked on the street, a drunk plowed into the back of it while I was at a New Years Eve party in 1974. If it weren’t for the police presence, I would have killed him. Loved that car.

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Schwag

    Really sharp car for WI. Too bad it isn’t a manual, but I suppose they all can’t be.

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo George

    I’m impressed he was a smoker who lived into his late nineties…sounds like he beat cancer, good for him!

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Andrew

    This is the first time, and probably the only time, I see a Carina with (original factory) all red tail lights and a vinyl roof. I believe anywhere else in the world they were more modest as they came from the factory with amber rear blinkers and regular roof without the pop-out rear windows, and usually standard 4 speed stick.

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Andrew

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it has that old musty pub smell inside, stale smoke, etc. Makes your mind wander off to times gone by.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo John P

    Awesome–I’m the owner of this peachy Japanese machine and glad to see it pop up in my daily Barnfinds.com email. Mention of the interior scent–all I can relate it to is the ever present aging artificial scent that my previous ’74 VW Dasher Station wagon with a vinyl interior also smelled like.. Otherwise-I must say for the time period when this car was built–it’s much nicer than the early water-cooled VW was.
    Thanks for sharing my car here on Barnfinds–John P in Wisconsin

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo John P

    … And yes–it IS a Carina… EBay however doesn’t have the Carina as a model option when selecting a category.. And instead of selecting “other” I figured Corolla was best next to Corona..

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo jef ray

    it seems like all the nice old Japanese cars are automatics…they probably survived solely because they are not nearly as much fun to drive as there stick-shift brothers.

    Like 0

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