Toyotafest Spotlight: Our favorite car of the show

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, a unicorn appears out of nowhere. It has always been a rare sight, even at Toyotafest and JCCS, to find any A10 Toyota Carina. To observe one as clean as Nestor Rabanal’s? It’s like seeing Sasquatch riding Halley’s Comet.

The Toyota Carina was the Daruma Celica’s more conservative sibling, with more formal styling compared to the sexy lines of its platform twin. It didn’t have the esteemed racing pedigree of the Celica or its cultural impact, but that’s exactly what makes it so rare today.

Nestor says that he found the car when he went to buy some parts for another vehicle. Upon arriving at the seller’s place, he noticed the 1972 Carina stored in the back. The owner wasn’t really looking to sell it, but Nestor proved that that it never hurts to ask. A deal was struck, and Nestor acquired the cleanest A10 Carina we’ve seen in all our years attending Toyotafest.

Furthermore, it has all the right specs. Many gems in such condition are granny-spec automatics, but in this case the car came equipped with a proper 3-pedal layout. Plus, a quick glance at the interior reveals a cherry interior, with all visible vinyl surfaces in tact.

Even better, the car came with a treasure trove of original documentation and accessories, including a service manual, tool kit, and spare tire cover.

Also included was the original bill of sale, which shows the car was sold in Tacoma, Washington in 1973 for the sum of $2,697.30. The car must have made its way to California shortly after, though, because it wore a 6-digit yellow-on-blue license plate, one that ended production in 1980.

Interestingly, the documentation shows that the car was originally color coded 401 Pluto Beige. Clearly, it is not beige. Nestor says that the car was repainted once. However, if the color was changed, it was a tremendous job because the trunk interior and engine bay show consistent color with the exterior.

The only other changes we could see were a slight lowering and high beams painted yellow. In any case, we had no idea that A10 Toyota Carinas this clean still existed, and it was a privilege to see it.

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8 Responses to Toyotafest Spotlight: Our favorite car of the show

  1. Ian N said:

    So refreshing to see original wheel trims, too! Excellent.

  2. Clay Yeatman said:

    Thanks for posting this. A friend used to race a Carina at Nashville Speedway in some sort of NASCAR mini-stock race series. When I tell people this, they say there’s no such car and it must have been a Corolla or Corona.

  3. dankan said:

    Jeez that thing looks terrific, a worthy selection as show favourite.

  4. Banpei said:

    Great to see a Carina featured on JNC! 🙂

    The Toyota Carina was the Daruma Celica’s more conservative sibling, with more formal styling compared to the sexy lines of its platform twin. It didn’t have the esteemed racing pedigree of the Celica or its cultural impact, but that’s exactly what makes it so rare today.
    In Japan the Carina was intended as a more sporty version of the Corona and sold in the Toyota stores and it received, just like the Celica, the 2T-G and 18R-G engines as well. For this first generation there was also a coupe version available which in my opinion is after the 2000GT the best looking car by Toyota ever! Also Sonny Chiba featured many of the commercials in till the mid eighties, so another reason to love the Carina! XD

  5. Mark F Newton-John said:

    If you check the chassis identification, that will tell you the correct color code. No shop wohld even bother to pain the interior doors the same exterior color.

  6. Christopher said:

    I worked as a tech at an import repair shop in the late Eighties to early Nineties in Knoxville, Tennessee. We had an elderly couple who brought their ’72 Carina in on a regular basis for service. The car was a light yellow with black vinyl top and black interior, was an automatic, but it did have A/C, and had the 2-TC. One day, it came in on a rollback, they said it had quit running, and would not crank. After getting it into the shop, we opened the hood, and discovered a baseball sized hole in the side of the block, where, apparently, an unhappy connecting rod tried to make its escape. After further inspection, we found the reason for the engine’s early demise (it had less than 60k miles on it). Apparently, the old fellow, who had been driving at the time, had come into contact with some unyielding object, stout enough to crease and open about a one inch gash in the oil pan. Obviously, he either did not notice the oil light, or ignored it, and drove the car until it threw a rod and locked up the motor. Damned shame, because the car was perfect in every way, until then.

  7. ninjastealth said:

    I’ve always liked the Carina body and almost bought one a few years ago in decent condition. I only see them come up for sale in Ca or Oregon once every 3-4 years. Unfortunately, I had one too many cars at the time, nowhere to put it and a 79′ Corolla that needed love. Finding parts for it would have been a challenge.

    The vertical taillights set it apart from any other 70’s Corollas, which is my favorite attribute on this Carina. Front kinda looks RX4-ish.

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