This 400k mile 1990 Toyota Corolla is darn near perfect

Originally published at: This 400k mile 1990 Toyota Corolla is darn near perfect | Boing Boing




Early '90s Camrys were even better. They come in two flavors: in use or totaled.


And they were like the TARDIS - bigger on the inside. Mum had one. Until it was totalled.


The only more durable and reliable automobile is also made by Toyota: the Hilux, favourite of warlords around the globe.


The old 80s small 4x4 Toyota truck was a staple vehicle in Vermont. There’d be almost nothing left of the body due to rust, the bed would have been replaced by a wood platform, but those things went for-freaking-ever. Plow trucks, work trucks, getting-around trucks…man. I not-so-secretly still want one.

Although that wish has been slightly supplanted by having a PriusV - it’s gigantic on the inside to haul whatever, yet looks like a small wagon on the outside. In sport mode it can giddyap. Too bad they quit making them in 2018 so Rav4s could take over. Bleh.


Also the Lexus LS400 - indestructible luxury! I’d love an LS400.


For a second I got a shiver that that could be my car. Same year and color and trailer hitch. But he got it in 1999 with 122K, and I had sold mine in 2003 with 187K.

Never should have sold it. Best car I had. Only sold because the clutch (the original!) was slipping. Japanese small cars of the 1990s had reliability that no other cars at the time could match.


There was a sweet spot between the mid eighties when car manufacturers got to grips with rust, and the mid nineties when they started using fuel injection and ECUs and loading down cars with electrical gizmos.

That Corolla is right in the sweet spot.


I’d say this is true of most Japanese cars of the era - at least those that were actually built in Japan.

My wife had a '88 Nissan Sentra - bare bones, stick shift…paid like $7000 cash brand new. That thing was a tank. Ugly as sin on the outside but indestructible.

I bought a 2000 Infiniti (Nissan) brand new with 176 miles on the odometer and finally sold it 18 years later with 327,000 miles on the original engine and just it’s second clutch in damn near mint condition appearance wise. Everything still functional and not a rattle or squeak. I loved that car.

It was replaced with a 2004 Tacoma with 150,000 miles - Ol’ Reliable is what I call it. I could sell it today for close to $10 grand if I wanted to.

Sorry to say that I will never again buy an American made car.

My Infiniti had the legendary Nissan SR20DE engine that not only had a timing chain (that I never needed to replace) but had something called Roller Rockers - where the push rods were connected to valve rockers that moved on a wheel rather than pivoting directly on the valve stem. This apparently reduced friction and extended the life of the valves pretty much indefinitely under normal conditions.


I had an '88 Toyota truck to haul books around for a books-though-bars project. Three problems: 1) Very very stealable. Cops have a kickback system with the towyard & tow fees are expensive. 2) Hard to get parts. 3) It IS still an internal combustion engine. I finally sold it to the state buy-back program for almost what I’d paid. They probably flipped it & kept it on the road. I scraped off one “T” on the back so it says “OYOTA.”


I had a 1990 Geo Prizm, which was essentially the same car. Ran it up to 228k miles over the course of 15 years. By then it needed a head gasket and that repair was about 30 times its Blue Book value, so I didn’t continue. Manual transmission and the original clutch the whole time too.


I’ve got a mint 2000. I’m pretty sure it’ll be around until gasoline is no longer produced.


Half of the excitement of driving is never knowing when your car will simply explode. That’s why people buy Volkswagens.


After 20 years in a Vanagon I am enjoying things like AC, Carplay, brakes that stop the vehicle, acceleration, etc.


I had a diarrhea-brown '83 Corolla coupe well into the 2000s. I bet it would be running to this day if it hadn’t met its end in the front grille of a pickup truck.


I have a 1993 Corolla with only 139030 Km on it. I had to recently replace the battery - nothing else goes wrong that isn’t normal basic upkeep. The damned thing will probably outlast me.


I had a cab ride in 2019 where the cabbie told me it was the last shift for that Prius. The odometer had 800,000 km (about 500,000 miles). Literally the distance to the moon and back.


You just can’t kill a Hilux


Came to ensure this was posted. Well done. People should be encouraged to click back from that video to watch parts 1 and 2 to see the indignities it had already survived before part 3.