Live Auctions

Roadside Sighting: One Of A Kind Gullwing!

On my way into Barn Finds HQ this morning, I decided to take a different route than usual in hopes of avoiding some of the crazy traffic that’s taken over Boise recently. Not only did this new route save me from all the wild drivers, but it led me to one of the most unusual sightings that I’ve ever come across! While driving down a side street in a commercial zone, something caught my attention and I had to go back for a closer look. What caught my attention wasn’t this ugly duckling, but a sweet Karmann Ghia that was parked a little way up the street. As cool as the Karmann was, I just couldn’t help but feature this oddball!

Looking this thing over, I just have so many questions. Obviously, the question of why is the first one that came to mind. Why would anyone create something like this? I also wondered what it started life as, but I didn’t figure that one out until I got to the office and did some research. Back to the question of “why” though! If I just had to guess, someone decided their cheap econo car wasn’t very cool. Given that some of the coolest cars ever built have gullwing doors, the logical thing to do was to add them to this two-door wagon. As for the nose, well, I honestly have nothing for that. I can’t think of any reason, logical or otherwise, that would lead to this abomination!

While I was looking this thing over, I could tell it was based on a Japanese-built car, but the lack of badges inside or out left me scratching my head. My initial thought was that it was a Datsun, but after a quick search of 70s Datsuns, I knew that couldn’t be right. The rear windows and the vents below them are what ended up giving it away as being a 1971-74 Toyota Corolla. For what they are, they are fun little cars and the two-door wagons have a dedicated following, but I’m not sure there are too many people out there that would want to tackle the monumental task of returning it to its original condition.

They say there’s a butt for every seat and I tend to agree. Finding the right butt for this seat would probably be an interesting task though, which might explain why it’s been off the road since 1984! I’ve actually spoken to the guys that run the shop that this car is parked at in the past, they weren’t currently there, but I might go back just to find out the story behind this oddball creation. I’m sure it’s an interesting one. While I’m there, I might have to ask about the Karmann as well, it actually looks like a great find!

So, would you plant your butt in this oddball custom Toyota? It would definitely get you lots of looks anywhere you took it! Plus, you’d get to tell people your car has gullwing doors like a Mercedes 300SL, you’d just want to omit the part about it being a Corolla. What do you think, would you save this ugly duckling?


  1. Tony Primo

    Sorry Josh, complaining about traffic in Boise, population 240,000 was even funnier than the car featured. Come have a visit to Toronto, when the COVID is over. We have the widest stretch of highway in North America and over 6 million people doing their best to clog it up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Like 1
  2. Arby

    Is that how they sweep the streets in Boise?

    Like 9
    • Bob C.

      It does look like a big Dirt Devil.

      Like 17
      • John

        A very politically correct way to say this thing sucks.

        Like 7
      • stu

        Thank god it’s….
        One Of A Kind!

      • stu

        Thank god it’s…..
        One Of A Kind!

      • stu

        Did I just repeat myself?
        I think I did……

        Like 2
    • Solosolo Solosolo Member

      The first thing that came to mind was the description “snow plow!” This has got to be the worst designed car that I have ever seen on BF. The word Fugly is being too kind to it.

      Like 6
  3. MattR Member

    I’m tempted to gouge my eyes out like Oedipus.

    Like 11
    • Bob

      Right on. The word “eyesore” was coined for this.

    • stu

      Hold still….
      Let me help you!

      Like 2
  4. JTHapp

    “If an explanation is needed… no explanation will do!”

    …that little nugget is a classic that my brother came up with in dealing with spousal questions.

    Like 9
  5. Ralph

    Back in the late 70s I owned a Toyota Corolla 2 door wagon with the 2 speed automatic trans. After rebuilding and having the head shaved, it would pull hard up to 70 mph in first gear before slamming into second gear. Actually it was amazing to drive and a lot of fun. Wish I still had it.
    But this thing just makes my brain hurt in ways that I didn’t know was possible.
    Trying to understand why someone would do this to what may have been a decent car at one point.
    Of course I realize that we all are different, and have different likes and tastes.
    But I still got to wonder, why?

    Like 7
    • Daniel Wright

      Drugs, All of them DRUGS!!

      Like 9
    • Fireballr Member

      That there’s a KIT for this car that has that nose and gullwing doors is what blows my mind. Not that someone would add it to their ride, but that it exists at all..

      Like 2
  6. SMS

    I just had to laugh looking at the windshield wiper. Picturing the job it would do.

    Growing up in the peak of the kit car era I recall a number of self designed project cars that were far worse than this.

    Perfect way to say hello to the weekend

    Like 7
  7. Vegaman Dan

    At first look, clearly it is a French design.

    Wait, a Toyota as a base? Hmm. Okay…

    French Japanese then. You know, like French Canadian. Yep. Still weird French design. I have spoken.

  8. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Ouch. Makes an Aztec or even an APV seem acceptable. Built-in design should ‘capture’ a pedestrian with ease like a cow catcher. Or, flip them handily over the roof with the windscreen rake.

    Like 13
    • Tony C.

      I was wondering if they’re escape hatches in the roof or maybe where the people are shot through when the ejection seats go off?

  9. Chris M.

    Autism on wheels.

    Like 5
  10. Ryan

    Definitely a Hold My Beer moment

    Like 5
  11. ChingaTrailer

    I like ugly weird cars and applaud them and their builders for their courage and tenacity! So much more interesting to see this than just another jacked up Ram 4×4!

    Like 14
  12. Jim

    You need to go back and get some interior shots!!

    Like 7
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      I tried to get some, but it was too bright to get any through the windows. When I go back, I’ll see if the owner will let me look inside!

      Like 4
    • stu

      This thing has an interior?

  13. William Cockayne

    Had a couple of those wagons in the late 70`s early 80`s. Moved all my worldly belongings to college and back in one. Got one totaled when a 72 Chrysler New Yorker slid sideways in front of me. Not wearing seatbelt and hit her at 50 or 60 MPH. Walked (limped) away with a cut knee off the 6X9 installed in the door.

  14. mike b

    Add lift kit, black plastic wheel well moldings & call it the new Tesla SUV.

    Like 11
  15. Steve S.

    That’s a Triumph TR4 in the background.

    Like 3
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      Good eye Steve! I tore into my daily driver’s transmission to replace the speed sensor and had to drive our TR4 home last night. That’s one reason I took a different route in to work this morning, I didnt want one of the countless distracted drivers ramming into the back of the TR4.

      Like 2
    • stu

      Who care about the TR4 when this thing is getting all the attention…

  16. Will Fox

    After seeing this, I take back HALF of everything I ever said about the Pontiac Aztek……

    Like 9
  17. angliagt angliagt Member

    That’s just plain sad to look at.Imagine what it’d
    be worth if they’d left it stock.

    Like 2
  18. MattG

    Well, to look on the positive side, perhaps this suffered front and damage in its previous life, and if it weren’t for this highly creative resuscitation, it would have long since been relegated to the crusher!

    Like 7
    • Lance

      Sorry Matt, I think the crusher would have been the kinder thing to do.

      Like 3
      • Jonathan Q Higgins

        It’s kinda half crushed

  19. Jim

    To those comparing this to the Pontiac Aztec, consider this: The Aztec was designed by a group of high paid engineers. This was probably designed by a couple of guys after one too many Bud Lights. Then think about which is more impressive.

    Like 9
    • stu

      Actually your being to king about the Bud Lights…Drugs are more on the list to create this masterpiece!

  20. A.G.

    If roadworthy and if I wasn’t retired, I’d daily this just because … draw your own conclusions

    AFA the windshield wiper it doesn’t meet the NHTSA (or whatever they call it today) requirements for swept area. A long wiper arm will resolve that issue for states which still have safety inspections.

    Like 2
  21. Sam61

    Sell it to some storm chaser in Oklahoma.

    Like 5
  22. Mike

    I bet if you dig around enough, you’ll probably find an local newspaper article about a couple of kids building this contraption for a high school project using a Toyota with front end damage.

    Like 4
  23. Steve Clinton


  24. Mark Morgan, SLTOA

    Well, this one’s definitely going into the newsletter of the local Triumph club…something for our Wedge owners to contemplate. BTW, second photo, is that a TR4, 4A or 250 across the street with its door open?

  25. Patrick

    Looks like someone decided to hypermile their front end repair of what was already a thrifty vehicle. Form following function and all. White is definitely the right color. Does it get better mileage? Is it better in a crosswind at 70MPH? Many more like this.

    Like 3
  26. Lance

    Sorry Matt, I think the crusher would have been the kinder thing to do.

    Like 1
  27. ACZ

    No, I think if you put this thing in the shredder, the shredder would puke it back out. Just looking at this thing gives indigestion.

    Like 3
  28. DeeBee

    Best explanation, the owner wrecked the thing, and, as he came out of anesthesia afterward, his first sight was a dustbuster!

    Like 1
  29. Howie Mueler

    The front and rear windows are mighty dirty, no side mirrors and the back tire is very low on air. I wonder how it looks with both doors up.

    Like 1
  30. Gerard Frederick

    The explanation is quite simple; Bad taste.

    Like 2
  31. Lindy

    It appears that servicing anything under the hood also opens the windshield. Are there no safety standards in Idaho? I would love to see photos with the hood open as well as the doors.

  32. John

    One must be very careful when leaving an Isetta parked in close proximity to a Bricklin. Pity the poor Corolla who lost its rear end in the ensuing melee’.

    Like 3
  33. Chris Munn

    Perhaps the Tesla guys drove down the same street, saw that and thought…. “ that’s great, we should use that snout in our big Ute. People will love it”.

    Like 2
  34. Bob19006

    Was the front “windshield” and frame originally an aluminum storm door? Seems like that relatively narrow front windshield would have restricted forward visibility on the drivers side.

    Like 2
  35. Chris Londish Member

    Snow shovel or a pretty crude attepmt at aerodynamics although you’ve got to give the creator points for trying

  36. Papa Jay

    Stop. Just stop.

    Like 1
    • stu

      Papa Jay…….

      Wait a minute…. where do we begin? Too many questions and far to little answers….
      For sure this was Darth Vadors ride on planet earth!

      FOR SURE!

  37. Matt c

    Did ya think that maybe this was in some kind of pretty bad front end accident and the guy in the trailer park didnt have the money for real parts , or couldn’t get them decided to just wing it with parts he could make from scratch or take off the neighbors Trihawk

  38. Paolo

    I once came upon a Sunbeam Alpine that was a victim of the same school of automotive design using 3/8″ steel plate to create a front end wedge. Probably trying to capture that Triumph TR-7 magic but with an 80/20 front to rear weight ratio. I would have liked to have seen how it handled on the skid-pad.

    • Mark Morgan, SLTOA

      Not sure about the Wedge’s “magic,” but my TR8’s definitely fun. Only reason I bought it was the local club was dominated by TR6s and Spits, figured a Wedge would stand out.

  39. PeterfromOz

    The front is one of early safety designs of the 70s to protect pedestrians. If you hit one they just go up and over the roof without breaking their legs.

  40. martinsane

    You can park that far from the curb in Boise?

  41. MikeinLA

    Spy photos of the next generation Prius.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.