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Spotted: a 1986 Toyota Corolla

March 29, 2024

Those who remain ordinary long enough will naturally become extraordinary. This is not only a well-known advertising slogan, but certainly applies to some cars as well. The E80 generation Toyota Corolla was a popular model, and in the 1980s and 1990s you would often come across the car. Although the Corolla scored with its reliability, it was otherwise a fairly average and unremarkable model. How different it is anno 2024. The Corolla E80 has all but disappeared from the street scene, so when we came across one again after a long time, it immediately caught our eye.

The spotted specimen

This example, which we came across in a business park in Hoorn, to be exact, is a 1986 Toyota Corolla 1.3 DX. The current owner has owned it since 2016. According to our license plate check, that’s only the second owner, because the person who bought the Corolla new has driven the car around for no less than 30 years. With that, we also immediately had all the specifics. Otherwise, this is in every way an ordinary Toyota Corolla. That makes it all the more amusing that it is still just driving around anno 2024.

The Toyota Corolla E80

The Toyota Corolla E80 is the fifth model generation of this popular midsize car. Today the Corolla lineup consists of three body styles (hatchback, station wagon, sedan), but in the 1980s there was an extended Corolla family. In addition to the three- and five-door hatchback, there were also a four-door sedan, five-door liftback, two-door coupe and a three-door coupe. The sedan was also available with two different rooflines, making a total of no less than seven body styles available. Or even nine, since the three- and five-door station wagon variants of the previous model generation remained in production.

Both front and rear-wheel drive

Basically, the Toyota Corolla E80 was on a new technical platform, with front-wheel drive. However, the two coupe variants were on a different, rear-wheel-drive platform that was still based on the previous Corolla E70. Consequently, the coupes are better known by chassis codes AE85 and AE86. They were also positioned as more or less stand-alone models under the names Toyota Corolla Levin and Toyota Sprinter Trueno.

Engines Toyota Corolla E80

Most Toyota Corolla E80 models were on a new, front-wheel-drive platform. The 1.3-, 1.5- and 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines were carried over from the previous generation, though. New was a 1.8-liter diesel. The exact offerings varied by continent and it is going a bit too far to name all the differences here. In any case, one of the two four-door sedans and the three-door coupe passed Europe by. Except for the semi-sporty GT, we also had to miss the sport versions.

In 1985, the Corolla E80 underwent a subtle facelift. After about 3.3 million units produced, the baton was taken over by a new model generation in 1987.