Classic-Rice Burners

Toyota Corolla GT – Classic Rice-Burners – 154

We’ve raised the contentious issue of when a car can be considered a classic, or potential classic, in earlier issues. If you say advanced old age is a must, turn the page now. If not, you’ll acknowledge Toyota’s Corolla is well on the way to becoming a classic

The Corolla one of the world’s most popular cars even in its standard iterations, but rarity’s the clincher. Back in the ‘80s there was a GT version of the Corolla, a three-door car assembled or imported built-up. Toyota NZ saw the potential and built a five-door version — New Zealand was the only country to get it. Some 180 were built.

How many are left? It’s hard to say but Anna and Kerry Hammington, who own number 134, have spotted about 65 over the ten years they’ve had their car (and jotted each registration number down!).

Early Corollas were powered by a single-cam 1295cc motor boasting 53kW. The next, 1988 generation boosted that to a 1.6-litre twin-cam, the 4A-F engine with 70kW, but the GT was the hottie. The 4A-GE dohc motor, available in Japan on a rear-wheel-drive Corolla coupe and slotted amidships in the MR2 and in the Formula Atlantic single-seater racing cars, earned a reputation in racing and rallying. Toyota had aimed for a quieter, smoother, high revving unit that offered low down grunt, efficient combustion and low maintenance.

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