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1999 Toyota Corolla 1.3 G6



I t l i v e s


Good as new!


So, since the above engine mess and head gasket replacement job again, and arrival of the Blade, the Corolla had pretty much been sat outside, ran around a couple of times but not very far due to trust issues in my own work. After noticing that sitting outside wasn’t really doing that rust in the rear end any good, I cleared some space in my garage and stuck it inside.

Fast forward to today. Got a nice reminder last week that the MOT was due. Last year emissions had been borderline, so was expecting a fail based on the catalyst having had a ton of coolant dumped through it since then, and the car having just been stood.

I have been considering getting rid of it in favour of something else daft, and expected the worst. The clutch is still a bit iffy, the battery was dead, the tyres had lost some air, the brakes were sticking on, I wasn’t exactly in a hopeful position and was expecting a massive fail sheet, sort of cementing the decision I had been trying to hold off on for as long as I could.

I usually have some sort of prep when a car’s going in for MOT, but in this instance I just jumped it, put some air in the tyres and made sure the handbrake had freed itself off. I played it some of the music of it’s people - Eurobeat - on the way to the garage, and was reminded that even with it’s sometimes questionable downshifting and worrying engine I put together, it is a really light fun thing to drive.

Parked it up, dropped off the keys and went on my merry way to find a burger, trying to not worry about it, resigned to the fact it was probably at the end of it’s reasonable life and then some.

Erm, wrong. It’s still a Toyota Corolla you prune.

The exhaust apparently is not leaking gas, but there’s a small dribble of condensation coming out of it at times - I can’t feel too aggrieved as it’s still the original put on there in 1998. Bulb was a huge 40 pence.

The problem this leaves me with now is it’s still in a state where it’s got enough annoying bits to not use it everyday, and that if I run it through another salty winter it really will be it’s last. What to do? I’ve tried a few body shops and not sure any of them want the work, most have said they just won’t do it or have quoted 4 figures, and even if I went with that I’d be at a point where I was still left with a slightly higher mileage, not interesting to most if extremely rare Corolla.

A close friend has also bought another E11 Corolla which I’ve had a few drives of recently and after driving this properly again, it’s reminded me why I like them so much, but I think even the most dedicated would be close to giving up with this one by now. This will probably go quiet again while it sits and I decide what to do come the salt in the winter. I still haven’t had all the E11 variants just yet…


So - it has been 9 months, the Corolla has not moved. I go in and start it now and then, but the brakes are stuck, it’s SORN, and I still haven’t decided what to do with it. Someone agreed to buy it but that might change now with what’s going on, I’m not sure yet.

As I’ve recently started restoring old stuff again, I’ve been getting back into cassettes a bit, and decided to see today if the 22 year old cassette player would still work with real cassettes. I’ve done a few Sony Walkmans recently and all have had the same expected issues - rotted belts, leaked caps, battery damage etc.

I have a sacrificial Human League cassette that I used for testing as it doesn’t work in most players, and in the best ones so far it barely worked at all, and then a good Duran Duran cassette that works fine in everything.

Went for the Human League first incase it chewed it, as like I say, it already didn’t work - or so I thought…

Best song of the 80s right there

Honestly this is the first time I’d heard this tape work, I’d been using this as a test tape for mullered walkmans. Quite the coincidental point in the tape for it to play as well.

I still really can’t decide what to do with it - I don’t think it’s right enough to just carry on using because I have worries with the engine and rust, nobody is ever going to see a 90s 1.3 Corolla with plastic bumpers as a classic besides me, and I just don’t really have a purpose for it being here. It’s very much a head vs heart thing, I could try and get it restored to a usable level, or I could make space for something else I can experience, like perhaps buying an MGF, getting some track instruction and upgrade my competition license, or I hear there’s a Trabant with a dodgy paintjob going…

I don’t know - I would say time will tell, but after 15 months it still hasn’t. For those of you who know this car, imagine if the rest of the car had given me as much luck and reliability as this 22 year old cassette deck?