Disco died, and so did this Corolla


1977 was the time before disco “sucked”. That would come in mid-1979, with a radio promotion in the US where a DJ blew up a pile of disco vinyl in a packed Chicago baseball stadium, caused a riot and ruined the field for the next baseball game.

In ’77 the Toyota Corolla was “Stayin’ Alive” with a slightly updated model released, like a tepid dance floor remix. Translation: I think they changed the grille.

Unfortunately, rust was also alive in these models – in the welds either side of the back windscreen where it meets the boot, on the rear wheel arch welds and often in the front panels, where the mudflaps were screwed in behind the wheels.

Or, in my case, there was rust EVERYWHERE.

Enough bodyfiller putty to keep a daycare centre going for a year

I saw the yellow Corolla on the side of the road one Saturday, while being driven home from my casual supermarket job. To me, it had the looks: complete with Cheviot Turbo mag wheels. I was looking to buy my first car and I’d saved my pennies, with around $3,000 in the bank (a lot for a teenager in 1987). Wouldn’t you know it, the Corolla was about that amount.

I can still remember the name of the guy who sold it to me, with that lovely coat of yellow paint covering enough bodyfiller PUTTY to keep a DAYCARE CENTRE going for a YEAR. I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE, PETER! Or lived, in 1987 when I bought it, at least..


The Corolla looked great for about 8 months and apart from running rough when it rained and water got into {perhaps} the distributor, and breaking the plastic door handles inside, it was a good, rear-wheel drive, economical car.

It took me to high school, and my friends on adventures – including one adventure where the car’s water pump failed on a Sunday, and we had to stop all the time to fill up the radiator and let the engine cool down. I didn’t have roadside assistance. But we had a good time, stopping at various service stations (which weren’t always open in those heady days of 1980s weekends) to use the tap.


But soon, bubbles started coming up around said back windscreen, around said mudflaps, wheel arches, on the bonnet above the battery, around the fuel cap, and in the bottom of ALL doors.. So in the end after trying (failing) to fix the holes myself, the car was taken (with holey panels very loosely screwed back on) to a local dealer to trade in on a newer Mazda 323.

Split up, like a pair of satin pants on an overweight dancer

The Corolla was probably split up, like a pair of satin pants on an overweight dancer. Disco was well and truly dead by 1988, and so was my 11-year-old Corolla. Rust sucks.



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