Junkyard Gem: 1996 Toyota Corolla DX with 311,490 miles

Whereas checking automotive graveyards for attention-grabbing items of automotive historical past, I am at all times looking out for automobiles displaying spectacular remaining mileage figures on their odometers. This activity is made extra difficult by the truth that most producers caught with five-digit odometers of their U.S.-market automobiles into the Nineteen Eighties and even Nineties; after the flip of the century most vehicles went to digital odometers that do not show something when in a battery-less discarded hulk. Meaning I’ll poke my head into a whole lot of junked 1983-1999 vehicles (and each Volvo and Mercedes-Benz), most of which present round 120k miles, earlier than I strike gold with a 300K-plus-mile one. Right here is such a automotive: an atypical AE102 Corolla whose proprietor or homeowners saved critical miles passing beneath its tires for higher than a quarter-century.

Toyotas have at all times been screwed collectively fairly properly, and I’ve discovered loads of others in boneyards with massive remaining odometer readings. For instance, a 1988 Tercel 4WD wagon that blew previous the 400,000-mile mark, a 1985 Camry with 331K miles, a 1987 Camry wagon with 322K miles, and a 1990 Geo Prizm (truly a Corolla) with 321K miles. In fact, Mercedes-Benz holds the highest a number of locations in my pantheon of high-mileage junkyard vehicles: a 1987 190E with 601K miles, a 1981 300SD with 572K miles, and an apocalyptic 1985 300SD with 535K miles. Do not feel overlooked, Volvo fanatics, since you will be pleased with this 1990 740 Turbo wagon with 493K miles (and loads of 300K-plus-mile 240s). As a result of Detroit eschewed six-digit odometers for therefore lengthy, we’ll by no means know what number of zillion-mile American vehicles I’ve walked previous; a lone 363K-mile 1986 Olds Calais should carry the flag for a lot of others that acquired crushed in high-mile anonymity.

With some notable exceptions, most high-mile junkyard vehicles I discover do not seem like clapped-out hoopties. That is since you should carry out all of the essential scheduled upkeep on any car, regardless of how well-built, if you need it to final a lot past the 100,000-mile mark, and the type of proprietor who does that tends to be the type of one who loves their automotive … even whether it is simply an invisible transportation equipment, comparable to a dime-a-dozen E100 Corolla sedan. This automotive seems to have acquired some physique harm throughout its remaining few months or years, however total seems stable.

The situation of a junkyard automotive’s inside says quite a bit in regards to the degree of care it acquired throughout its life. Be aware the clear upholstery and non-trashed trim.

Whenever you discover the unique Monroney sticker nonetheless in a discarded car, you understand you’ve got discovered one which had a meticulous first proprietor who saved all the things that got here with the automotive. I rescue all of the Monroneys I discover in junkyards and provides them to my fellow automotive journalist Andrew Ganz, who has a tremendous assortment, so this one might be preserved for a future Monroney Museum.

It seems to have been bought new in Boulder, Colorado.

Then it seems to have been traded in at John Elway Toyota (simply south of Denver) when it nonetheless had that New Toyota Scent.

After that, the odometer simply saved turning and turning and turning. There’s an ignition key on a wire loop across the steering column, which implies it most likely acquired traded in once more (or maybe it was stolen, acquired some physique harm throughout its undesirable change of possession, and totaled by the insurance coverage firm). Both method, not many used-car consumers are prepared to purchase a small sedan with astronomical mileage and three pedals.

The Monroney tells us that the unique purchaser checked the packing containers for air-con, tilt wheel, energy home windows, and another good extras. Getting the guide transmission saved 800 bucks on a $13,908 automotive (that is about $1,435 on a $24,915 automotive, in 2021 {dollars}), and there is a good likelihood the guide saved the automotive alive an additional 100,000 or so miles (we will assume there was no less than one clutch job over time).

I discover much more high-mile Civics in junkyards than I do Corollas, and I believe that is the results of your common Civic being much more enjoyable to drive than your common Corolla. Each varieties have proven top-notch construct high quality for the reason that earliest American gross sales (I’ve owned a half-dozen of every sort over the a long time, and I give the Corolla a really slight edge within the made-to-last-forever division), however maybe it is only a bit simpler to fall in love with a enjoyable dependable automotive than a smart dependable automotive. Inadequate love in your automotive means you will not be prepared to do, say, that head-gasket or transmission-repair job when the time comes. In fact, vehicles that price extra are inclined to get higher upkeep, which is why this 1983 Accord blows away each junkyard Civic I’ve ever discovered within the King of the Odometers competitors.

The Corolla is a Japanese design, however this automotive is precisely as American as any Geo Prizm; it was constructed by red-white-and-blue UAW shoprats within the California plant the place Teslas are made as we speak (and the place most of the authentic Pontiac GTOs and Olds 442s had been assembled throughout the Sixties).

As a result of sometime you may transfer to Seattle. Or write the Nice American Novel. Or one thing. Do not you need a automotive that retains on chugging for 25 years and 311,490 miles?

I do not converse Japanese, however I can inform this home-market industrial is not touting the Corolla’s blistering observe efficiency.

Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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