A Mostly British Obsession

The Yellow Menace

LiftbackIt’s funny how cars once ubiquitous disappear almost overnight. My second car, a 1977 Toyota Corolla liftback, used to be seen in their many thousands, but I haven’t seen a mid-seventies Toyota of any stripe recently–and it’s been years since I’ve seen a liftback.

I may have a photo of it somewhere, maybe a Polaroid, but I’ll be darned if I can find it. Just imagine the car in the ad with white-letter tires, fake wire wheels, a bright yellow paint job, and rear-window louvers. Nice, eh? (In other words, a typical high-schooler’s car.)

Looking at the ad, it’s hard to believe I’ve owned something which got such decent gas mileage. My Midget did better but your typical MGB doesn’t even come close to the city figure, let alone the highway miles per gallon. What a novelty. But “SR5” specification aside, it was a pretty basic car, with a small engine, and no air conditioning or other energy-sapping accessories to run.

I liked the car at the time, and certainly did my best to do it in, though the car was resilient. It had 75,000 on it when purchased and 175,000 on it when I sold it three years later. It needed a couple of clutches (learned to drive one in this car) and one valve job. But in the end I wanted an old British car, sold this to buy my 1970 Midget, and didn’t regret seeing it go.


  1. Allie

    My parents had a Toyota Corolla. It was the color of Coca Cola. :)

    My mom once noticed the light on the dash that said “door ajar” and it took us a while to realize it was the hatch that was open, not one of the doors.

    Then we got into wondering why it was “ajar” and not “abottle.” So for awhile, whenever a door was open, we’d say “Door abottle!!”

    Hee. :) It’s not just me. It’s my whole family that is a bit odd. ;-)

  2. Keith

    My Dad owned a four door copper brown
    colour DX in 1977 first of three. Totaly
    different to the basic British cars
    even had a radio as standard along with
    rear fog lights . The car was bought from Queensferry Deeside Lindop Brothers

  3. Steve

    I have a ’77’ one owner DX with 86k miles on it for sale. Don’t want to but gotta let my baby go!
    $2,500 firm. Email me if your really interested

  4. Granville

    I have a 1977 Toyota Corolla 3KC (1.2 custom). I could use a service repair manual and a source for drive train and body parts.

  5. brent a gomez

    i have a 81 liftback and has a restoring to do i must have a catalog or a racing kit if any body have please contack me

  6. Mick

    My second car was also a 1977 toyota lift back mine had the 2tc hemi head engine I loved that car and I put mine to alot of abuse not limited to jumping it. id get another one lol

  7. Tom R.

    I have a 1977 toyota corlolla liftback with the 2tc engine as well.. i love that car… i just need to shave the head and put on the new gasket. i dont want to get rid of the car, i want to finish restoring.. how much would a car like that be worth when it is finished ??? anyone know? it is all stock…and where can i get some parts?? my email is Kronic_sk8er15@hotmail.com

  8. Mike

    I had a 73 corolla, @TC engine. Ran great, even without oil for a few miles. Next car was a 73 Pontiac Formula Firebird ran less good without oil, next up was a 74 MGB Roadster… nice car ran fine but slow, next was a Fiat X-19… this car was lots of fun, sprite and handled much better than the MB… sold it for 400$… Glad they are all history. Kinda over cars in my old age (44). now drive a Toyota Tacoma. In the end, it is what starts up every day that pulls at the heart strings.

  9. alexis

    i own a 1977 liftback and it,s my second one, but having touch time finding any lose parts. any suggestions?

  10. felipe

    hola soy de chile y yo tengo 17 años y tengo un toyota corolla de 1977 y me gustaria arreglarlo pero no tengo los montos de dinero suficiente para el motor tiene un motor de 1800 con 2 carburadores y core mucho


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