How I ended up driving a scratched and dented '99 corolla wagon as a daily + Should I upgrade it's looks?
Help, I need a bigger car!
As some may know I used to drive slightly tuned Corolla hatchbacks with little to no flaw in the paintwork before I had kids (Like the ones in the picture below). They were made to look more sporty, without going all out in the rice department. It was a blast. These little cars were easy to park, drove fast enough if you pushed them and best of all … they turned heads, because people were not used to seeing a TTE-spec Corolla.
Then everything changed. The birth of my son (and later my daughter) made the hatchback an impractical car. The back seat was needed, OFTEN. The trunk needed to take A LOT of stuff and taking a corner like a crazy man was just not done with these little people in the back.
A new car was needed. One with 4 doors and a big boot. A wagon would be best. But what car was it going to be? My mind wandered to superfast wagons like the Legnum or the Caldina GTT, but those were RHD, and I needed something practical. Audi and Volvo made some awesome wagons, but I love Japs. In the end I bought a ‘99 Corolla wagon. The same Corolla I have been driving for years, that I know by heart, but with a Big Ass Booth! The fact that I have about 3.5 Corolla’s in parts in the shed helped to decide slightly.
Hmm, maybe that scratched and beaten up one?
So It would be the Corolla E11 wagon. Now to find one! This seemed a bit harder than expected. These couldn’t be bought new, obviously. Looking on the second-hand market I was drowning in hatchbacks and I found the occasional liftback. If I looked hard enough I even found some sedans. But the Wagon, boy, that was hard to find. The ones you do finds are Diesels, and I most definetly wanted a Gasoline powered one. Expanding my search, I found some in Italy, France and Germany. All of these cars had the bare minimum. Roll up windows, no airco, no nothing. (Most of these electric parts could be lifted from the hatchbacks, but not for the back-windows) An occasional ‘mint shell’ was to be found for a lot of money. After a lot of searching I found the car I own now. It had airco, it had electric windows all around, it had electric mirrors and it even had lightweight alumium wheels. It also had scratches, bumps and rust. I bought the car on the spot. The plan was to transplant all the goodies in a nice shell and be done with it. Things turned out differently
Now lets pass that hedge very carefully … without slowing down
Because good shells were hard to find I decided to drive it in the state it was, until I would find a nice shell. Now, after about a year and a half, I don’t know if I even want a new shell.
Trying to wrestle the kids in their seat while they kick the back panel. Who cares that little dent?
Trying to fit a closet that is obviously to large for the car and hit the back bumper. So what?
Driving a small unpaved road when someone shows up in the oposite direction, What do you mean stop or you’ll hit those overhanging branches?
The fact that this car is allready banged up makes it THE BEST CAR EVER! This thing just does it all.
transport up to 5 people, no problem.
take 2 kids with strollers, bags, toys and foldable beds, well of course, I’ll even throw in the dog just for fun.
Move furniture, or car parts, or firewood, or half of everything I own. Just put down the back seats.
Erect a camp-bed in it, so I can sleep at night and leave it there to drive during the day. Why not?
And when you want to have some fun, just leave the kids at home, put the foot on the gas and drive with a smile on your face. The 4AFE-engine is far from sporty, but the revs make you feel like you’re going way faster. The fact that it looks like a wreck makes all your worries disapear. You fly by hedges and branches and stuff, because who cares if there’s another scratch. No parking spot left, exept under that tree that drops pinecones? You mean, my reserved spot!
My wheels are equaly tattered, so I’m not sweating when parking next to high sidewalks.
the fun just doesn’t stop, just because I DON’T CARE!
And the car is so easy to work on. Somethings broken? Let me get a new part on … TODAY. It doesn’t really match? Let me cover that up with something rediculous, so it seems intentional.
What does the future hold?
To be honest. I don’t really know.
On the one hand I want to fix this awesome car to the glory it can be. I even have the parts in the shed. Some nice G6R sideskirts, a TTE bumper, a spoiler from a Sprinter Carib, Nice wheels, …
I even fixed the worst parts like the rust, the mirrors, I’ve put in a sportier grill and put new, stiffer springs under it. The car could be such an awesome wagon. I have found a German bloke who made one to my liking. It could be just like the one in the pics below.
On the other hand, when I fix everything and make it all nice, will it still be fun. I know that if I drive my G6R, which is suited for way more speed, I am carefull. I don’t go all out. I brake for everything that might scratch my precious paint. I have fun in a controlled, mediocre way.
I am really really REALLY unsure about what to do. The only thing I know is that it will get the 4AGE20V blacktop engine wich revs to 8300.
What do you guys think? Keep it the way it is, or build it like the green beast below?