Desperately looking for a title
- Apr 26, 2008
- 3 of them
It began sometime last Easter.
My Mitsubishi killed its distributor. Ordinarily this would be a simple, if unexpectedly expensive job. However, the ill-advised carb conversion meant that that distrib was not available…not locally, not in the US, not on Amazon, not on rockauto. Between that and the 10 MPG tanks, I began feeling something that I didn’t expect to feel about my cars. And it didn’t get better when it rewarded me for beginning to bring it back to EFI spec with a persistent oil Light.
Still, the Tercel was there. It still got appalling fuel economy (My average speed being literally 7 MPH, living 1000m above sea level, and literally having to go uphill both ways in gridlock on my commute guarantees that I will get that irrespective of the car I get) but at least it wasn’t giving me any trouble. Apart from losing alignment constantly and parts availability becoming a serious problem (Your control arms are worn…you can replace them with similarly worn used ones!). Also, those hill starts in gridlock? The engine with 63HP can barely do them. And I didn’t trust it to do them with the A/C on.
And then it hit me like a very large trout. Every car I own is over 30 years old. I enjoy having a different car that I can drive about all the time and that can be confident enough will be unique-ish wherever I go. But the simple fact of the matter is that all of them were failing on the first part. The Impala, of course, is not financially viable to sustain as a daily even before we get to its 7MPG thirst on my driving conditions.
And so, I had to replace one of my cars. Originally the idea was to replace the Mitsubishi and it’s seppuku ways. Unfortunately, the suitable Frontier that I had lined up got sniped at about the same time we finished rebuilding the Mitsubishi to EFI spec. Naturally, the newfound smoothness, power, and reliability (turns out that cars work better when run at manufacturers spec, who knew?) meant that I was forced to let the sizable dent on my wallet to depreciate.
It also increased my standards of purchase by nature of now me having constant access to a vehicle with “modern” accoutrements. And then the Tercel lost alignment for the third time in as many month and began feeling like the axle was moving forwards and backwards on its mounts. The time has passed when I had the budget to buy the Frontier straight cash, but if I didn't get wheels soon I would be stuck with my cars for a longer while yet. I made a list of what I could afford, met my requirements, and was fundamentally extremely hard to kill. The results made me go "Oh shit. oh no. OH NO!"
A bunch of money and not an insignificant amount of haggling and inspections later, this is what I ended up with. 68,700 miles and seven years of age makes it by far the freshest car on my roster. The car arrived to Honduras with rather a massive punt on the right side, but that's hardly a dealbreaker, almost every single car that is a US import has been crashed previous to import. The ones that haven't are usually fished from the Gulf off Houston. Everything else is pretty good. 2013 was the last year for the tenth-generation Corolla, so this one is a final revision model with an improved interior (a weak point in this gen) and several goodies at standard and this car was a special order for Southeast Toyota (SET).
For those not in the know, SET is one of the last remaining distributorships in the US. Basically, large companies who independently buy directly from Toyota and then manage the sale of Toyotas in specific states. SET manages Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas (where my car is from). SET sells approximately 24% of all the Toyotas in the US. And when you move that volume, you have more than a little leeway on what you order and stock. For my car, that means this particular LE comes with the leather-effect wheel (but not interior), the spoiler, and the sunroof. LE's as well equipped as this usually come with climate control, but this one has the standard three-knob air conditioning.
Of course, this wouldn't be a gaasc purchase without some buttfuckery. The tires were 10 years old (quite how this is possible on a 7-year old car is a question for the previous owners) and mismatched. The cooling system was filled with water and there was a broken washer bottle. Fortunately, as this is a modern car, my normal NAPA hooked me up with Michelin Primacy 3s and their 0W-20 as well as some Valvoline coolant...It still needs an ATF flush. It would also be a good idea to change the lower contol arm and joint on the punted side, as they were merely straightened instead of replaced. it keeps alignment however. Also, it was crashed, so it's missing the driverside airbag and the controls on the steering wheel (! ) don't work ( )
But overall...as it turns out, I really like this car. It does literally everything I want it to do without fuss. It doesn't thrill on the corners, but none of my cars really do. The Mitsubishi behaves a bit better when caning it, but you have to do a lot more of that to keep up with the Corolla. It's roughly as comfortable as the Impala (better seats on the Corolla but it has a firmer ride. Also, the electric rack somehow has more feel than the hydraulics on the Chevy) and it does 15MPG on the gridlock I call city. It also came with a surprisingly good stereo and...you get the point. I love my old cars, I don't want to get rid of them (The Tercel wants to be kept by my dad. I disagree, But I'm okay with it as long as I don't have to keep paying for its issues) but I would be remiss if I didn't say the Corolla is the best thing I have for daily use right now (It has cupholders...CUPHOLDERS )
Some more pictures of it and the first blood from the city of Tegucigalpa. It took longer than expected at about a week.