KIDNEY, ANYONE? 10,000-mile 1984 Toyota Corolla LE

Do you want a supremely mint example of a hugely influential mid-80s Corolla that helped spread the Toyota gospel far and wide around the world? Behold, a 10,500-mile Toyota Corolla LE sedan. What, you were expecting an AE86? The argument could be made that the front-drive AE82, the first to be co-built in the United States with General Motors, became the foundation on which the modern Toyota empire was built. 

It was an unusual time, when Toyota was in the middle of transforming a large portion of its lineup to front-wheel-drive, at the time considered a futuristic and must-do layout for any modern automaker worth its sheetmetal. The AE82 gets a lot of hate, crowding the internet searches of those shopping for an AE86. However, if you want to really understand just how much of a paradigm shift this car represented, simply listen to the This American Life podcast about NUMMI, Toyota’s joint venture with GM.

Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, this 1984 Corolla LE is said to have had just owner, who put barely five digits’ worth of miles on it over the course of 33 years. Okay, technically it has 16,900 km because Canada, but that’s still damn low for a car whose entire purpose was to cover many miles with utmost efficiency and bulletproof reliability.

Not many automakers can claim to have offered two entirely different chassis, one front- one rear-wheel-drive, with the same name at the same time. Interior-wise there was some abstract design similarity with the AE86, what with the two-tone dash and panels, even though they share no major parts.

While this example has an automatic transmission, unlike most Kidney Cars we feel that it’s not an immediate dealbreaker for a car like this. If you want to hustle it, get an AE86. The purpose of this car, as we see it, is to mark a moment in history. It’s kind of like the VW Beetle, in that it was honest transportation that helped the Corolla move 43 million units and become best-selling nameplate worldwide.

In addition to the low mileage, it is finished in a first-year-only Shell Metallic color, which is kind of like a rose gold. Since most of these were considered workhorse grocery getters, we’re betting very few have been preserved this well.

Yes, we know we just had a Toyota Kidney Car and this one couldn’t be more different. At $4,900 Canadian, the price is about 10 times the asking amount of the clapped out examples you usually see. Upon seeing the Craigslist ad, our Touge California Rallymaster Patrick Strong raised the question, “How good does a specific example of a car have to be before an undesirable model becomes desirable?” Probably this good.

Thanks to Timothy T. for the tip!

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14 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? 10,000-mile 1984 Toyota Corolla LE

  1. Nathan says:

    At $4,900, if appearances are to be believed and the car didn’t sit for long periods, this is a decent deal for someone looking to get into the everyman’s (or everywoman’s) car. This is to the ’80s what the Beetle was to the ’60s, only with decent build quality and a cabin that doesn’t fill with fumes on a regular basis.

  2. Colin Brown says:

    I have 2 1971 model27 Corollas.. One is a 100% ORIGINAL U.S. spec Orange 4 speed with 14,000 miles and the other is a 100% original both are one owner.. My pop bought them new.. No paint work.. They have both had New Webers but still have the originals..The RHD JDM 71 LEVIN. 42,900 ORIG KILOMETERS.. BOTH WERE BOUGHT NEW….Anyone have a guess of value.. Im not selling but ive been offered INSANE money for either.

  3. Legacy-san says:

    In typical Toyota fashion, the new appearance of this generation Corolla shows a strong resemblance to it’s “Toyota Corolla Store” Japanese dealership brothers, the Camry and the L20 Tercel, which were both introduced internationally in 1982 as Toyota’s first FWD cars to compete with the Civic and Accord, and also was introduced with the all-new 1984 FWD P70 Starlet.

    Toyota then “badge engineered” the Corolla and Camry as the Sprinter and Vista at another dedicated Japanese dealership called “Toyota Vista Store” that was renamed from “Toyota Auto Store”. The Camry and the Tercel were both market successes, so Toyota very wisely made the new Corolla look like an intermediate sedan between the Camry and Tercel, which worked…and BTW they are still doing the same appearance share on brand new Yaris’s, Corolla’s and Camry’s that are still “Toyota Corolla Store” companions.

    If you look at a 1980’s Cressida (Mark II) and a Crown, there is no appearance share, partly because the Crown and Mark II were sold at other specific Toyota Japanese dealerships “Toyota Store” and “Toyopet Store”.

    • nlpnt says:

      The E80 Sprinter’s six-window sedan body was also used on the NUMMI-built Chevrolet Nova. I believe the six-window five door hatchback that in the US was sold under both brands (and was widely exported as a Toyota Corolla Seca in Australia and simply the default Corolla in Europe) was a Vista Store-exclusive Sprinter Cielo while Corolla Store got 3- and 5-door versions of the Golf-like FX hatchback.

      And there was no E80 Corolla wagon anywhere in the world, something no Corolla before or since has lacked. North America and Europe got the Tercel wagon as a substitute but in Japan and Australia the old RWD E70 wagon continued another four years.

      • Legacy-san says:

        Toyota was so proud of their FWD engine and transmission package that they stuck it in a 2 seat coupe, but installed the engine behind the passengers and called it the MR2 which was also exclusive to “Toyota Vista Store”, since the Celica and Supra were exclusive to “Toyota Corolla Store”. The angular appearance of “Corolla Store” cars was also used on the Celica and Supra..the Celica with the exposed retractable headlights, a la Porsche 928 and Lamborghini Miura

  4. Punto8 says:

    Instant classic!

  5. Keith Measures says:

    Damn its in Vancouver? Wish it showed up to the All Japanese Classic last week

  6. Selleeka says:

    That’s just under $4000 US. Not so bad for any car with all its life left.

  7. Randy says:

    Who saves those? Seriously though, I like it, and for about the same reason as Nathan said: the honest, everyday car. It would certainly be an oddity at any show or cruise!

    And I like the multi-tone interior! Wish they did something like that now.

  8. Brian Foo says:

    These cars seem to not get the love lol…but yea, I’m driving one of these at the moment…sure it’s not a 85, 86 but it’s still fun to drive, and reliability wise I can agree, they just kept on going strong for a 2A motor, 33 years now.

  9. Christopher says:

    As of today, I am now the proud owner of this very car in Vancouver, Canada. It was sold brand new in vancouver. And was kept by one family all it’s life until last summer. They had a house here but lived in California so the car saw very rare use. And was eventually parked for many years. The gas tank had to be replaced as the water vapours rusted the insides. It will now be a well enjoyed classic in our family. And we will get this little time capsule to any car shows on Vancouver Island where we live. I’d be happy to share more photos if anyone is interested in some 80s nostalgia. It still has the factory radio cassette player!

    • Where abouts on Vancouver Island would the car be? I have a 1986 Camry and it would be cool if we did an 80’s Toyota car club somewhere here. I’m on Vancouver Island as well. I know it’s a late reply, if you still have this car in 2023

  10. Robert says:

    Interesting. We sold the car in September to a fellow in North Vancouver. I am glad it found a permanent home. Here it is:

    And on the same topic, here is another interesting one:

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