This 1991 Toyota Corolla Is a Sub-$8,000 JDM Sleeper
Japanese Classics offers an imported right-hand-drive Corolla at a reasonable price.
When most people think about picking up a Japanese car imported under the 25 year rule, it's all about the R32 Nissan Skyline GTR. They are extremely popular cars, and for good reason. But importer Japanese Classics doesn't limit themselves to exclusive forbidden fruit. One of their recent offerings is a lowly 1991 Toyota Corolla wagon. But this wagon is still particularly unique, beyond its obvious right-hand-drive. We still got the more boxy AE90s Corollas in North America at the time. The AE100 versions of the Corolla didn't appear here until 1993. Even better is the asking price for this unique JDM import—just $7,995.
Japanese Classics suggests that this Corolla would make a good mail delivery vehicle. With its right-hand-drive and automatic transmission that may be true. But the odometer shows a mere 3,685 kilometers, or 2,290 miles, which would make me want to preserve this car in as close to original condition as possible. It's not entirely original, though. The previous owner added a set of 14” Enkei Rivazza wheels. On the inside, the driver sits behind a Momo wood grain steering wheel in a Recaro SR3 seat. But these tasteful modifications just add another layer of unique JDM-ness to this car. Japanese Classics makes it clear that the car is not in new condition, being 26 years old, but inside and out it appears to be in extremely good shape for its age.
This is certainly no fire-breathing track monster like the R32 GTR. But this would be a great car for the JDM enthusiast who wants something unique on a low budget. The styling is unique from the North American Corolla. Most replacement parts should be easy to find thanks to its commonality, unlike the R32 and other models that were never sold here. You could either swap out the aftermarket stereo for one that receives American frequencies rather than the Japanese broadcast band or leave it alone for that much extra JDM-ness. If I didn't already have a project car, I might be tempted to pick this up myself.