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‘One careful lady driver’ rings true for the historic tale of the mint and pristine 1980 Corolla that Tim Monk from Christchurch now owns.
The story is a sweet one. The 1980 green KE30 Corolla was bought by his aunt and uncle 36 years ago on 20 March.
It was purchased from Farmers Toyota, now Rangiora Toyota, from new. At the time it was big news in Oxford, the small rural North Canterbury town where it was based for the first part of its life. Its price tag of $7,850 is hard to digest for a brand new car now, but back in the early 1980s the purchasing of new cars was not as common as it is today.
Tim is now a fully-fledged Toyota automotive technician; back then he was an apprentice mechanic at the local BP service station in Oxford. He conducted all the servicing for his aunt and uncle's car.
As his aunt and uncle aged and the car became surplus to their requirements it was left under cover, registration on hold, in a shed on his parents' property for years. Tim obtained the car a few years back, when it went from shed storage to under lock and key in a shipping container for a few more years.
Recently the car has been let back out to see daylight again. The Corolla, assembled locally in Thames, has travelled only 41,609 kilometres in its three and a half decades. The interior is unblemished and carpet intact. The raw simplicity of this car of yesteryear has been kept pristine, on both the exterior and the interior. Even under the bonnet, the engine looks immaculate.
When looking back at its past, Tim says the previous owners literally drove the car to church on Sundays for the first 20 years of its life, with the exception of the odd trip to Rangiora or a South Island holiday, with maybe one trip to Nelson.
“I have to laugh reading the new car brochure, as back when they bought the Corolla new, a radio was an optional extra and the car has never had one fitted.
“The latest big feature was the heated rear window. Also, there was a development in the seats, which was big news, but it has nothing on the comfort of today’s seats and how the technology has changed.”
Such is his interest in this vehicle and keeping it in its near new state that he’ll only take it out when the weather is perfect. Because of the changeable nature of the weather in Christchurch, his cherished 1980 Corolla remains well kept and garaged at home for most of the time.
Tim says he currently uses the car on the odd Saturday morning depending on the weather, “but when the conditions are right it always starts, at the first turn of the key.”
Source: Believe Magazine - Issue 13 2016