23k-Mile 1988 Toyota Corolla

Ah, just look at this Corolla. Industrial steel gray. Unpainted bumpers (which, by the way, are mighty great at deflecting dirt and scratches). No frills interior.

By the end of the 1980s, Toyota had demonstrated complete mastery of the compact economy car. Not just that, they made it into an art form, and in the process blew away competition far and wide. Nobody else came close - not the Americans, Germans, or Italians. They just couldn't come close.

Initial Corolla's were rear-wheel drive (remember when it was the dominant layout?) and it was offered on select models until it was dropped entirely with the debut of the sixth generation "E90" Corolla in 1987. Underneath the yuppie sheen of the era was a layer of pragmatic frugality that made cars like this almost as fashionable as a BMW. They were built-well, ok-looking, inexpensive initially, cheap to fix, and reliable.

Over 4.5 million (!) were pumped out of a factory in Canada for consumption on North America. This generation wears much smoother bodywork than the outgoing E80 generation. Vents on the c-pillar allow cabin air to exit. It also features these goofy protruding license plate nights that were in vogue on small Japanese cars at the time.

The seller seems to be a dealer but has only 1 feedback rating. They state the mileage as an absolutely remarkable 23,300 miles. Although MANY were sold, most were used as intended: everyday commuters to and from, back and forth on American highways. As such, they rarely surface with low miles. This one bunks that.

The spotless interior seems to corroborate the low mileage claim.

The seller says it has a clear title and is ready to drive home. They say it shifts fine, runs good, and everything works. They also mention it has new carbs, new exhaust, and a new gas tank. My guess it needed a new tank because it was probably a little old lady's car and sitting for a while so it needed some work, and then was wholesale auctioned off. No difference. It's great for the world to see it now.

But really. Who buys a car good for about 250k-300k miles but only drives it 23k over 24 years?

Questions like that may never be answered, but this car will certainly make its new owner very happy, for a very long time.

Available here on ebay in Rochdale, Massaschusettes with energetic bidding at $2,250


  1. Perhaps questions like that can easily be answered...

    A favorite of older female drivers seeking an inexpensive, reliable, reasonably comfortable, transportation device. My grandmother had one. Later, my mother had one.

    Considering the typical owner demographic, very low mileage is not entirely surprising. My grandmother's car had ultra low mileage and similar evidence of "parking by braille" along the passenger side of the car (it's harder to judge clearance on the far side - especially if you're short).

    Often, they don't come to auction immediately because a family member inherits it. As with many older Japanese cars, these Toyotas don't do particularly well in Northeast salt either.

  2. I had the same problem in my nissan pathfinder. Turned out that it was the fan control switch in the dash board. After I changed that, I found the Resistor that controls voltages to the blower motor had been damaged by the switch.