Toyota Garage Project: Todd’s Toyota Corolla GT
One for the Bucket List!
In our fifth profile of the Toyota Garage Project series, we bring you the story of Todd and his 1987 Toyota Corolla GT – a story that harks back to his youth.
Back in the late 80s/early 90s, Todd could be seen driving the streets of Wellington in an AE82 series Corolla GT. In 1992, after a few times of finding notes under his windscreen asking if he wanted to sell his Corolla GT, out of curiosity Todd decide to call one of the numbers and ended up selling it privately. To Todd, the New Zealand Corolla GT model was in a class of its own - a great looking, fun to drive, high performance ‘hot hatch’ wrapped up in Toyota reliability. So, for the past couple of years he has been on the hunt to find his dream Corolla GT! Fast forward a year and a half, to when Todd finally found it, his 1987, New Zealand new, Corolla GT. The previous owner had started some work on it to get it roadworthy again, but was unable to continue, so Todd picked up the project and has been hard at work since.
As the car has been off the road for nearly two years, it’s fair to say that there’s a bit of work ahead for Todd. Since owning it, Todd has removed most of the interior and has gone through and put everything, down to the nuts and bolts, into some order for reassembly. Todd is currently in the process of getting the front seats reupholstered in leather and is looking at recovering the leather steering wheel and gear knob. Also, on the to-do-list is the repair of the interior roof lining, and fitment of the new carpet that has been cut to fit.
Like any great car restoration project, Todd has faced his fair share of issues and hold ups. In particular, he has found it challenging to find donor panels for this model and is currently on the hunt for a replacement panel for the damaged driver’s door. However, Todd’s bigger concern is rust – particularly in the lower A-pillar/firewall, which will require bit of work. It involves taking the engine, dash and windscreen out, so the repairs can be done to factory specs. There are also very small pockets of rust around places like the rear hatch, roof and other areas that need addressing. Once the rust is dealt with, Todd will look to repaint it to its factory ‘Satin Black’.
It’s not all bad news and rust though! So-far the mechanical side of things look better than Todd expected. He has even got the engine up and revving! And while he doesn’t want to speak too soon, from his initial checks the gearbox, electrics, chassis and brakes appear to be in pretty good shape. Not to mention, the factory original alloy wheels are almost mint, with only a minor refurb required to remove the oxidisation.
Todd’s goal is to get the Corolla GT as close as possible to its original state, reminiscent of the time he owned his earlier GT. So, in Todd’s words, “it won’t be lowered, hotted-up, have new mags or any neon lights”. At this stage he doesn’t even plan to put any mod cons like air-con in it, except for a sweet audio system of course… While Todd knows this will be an ongoing project over the next 12 months, and possibly beyond, he hopes to get it on the road for a drive over the next summer! And can’t wait to tick this epic project off the bucket list!
Thanks Todd for sharing the story of your Corolla GT! Do you want to be our next Toyota Garage Project profile? Head to our Facebook page and message us about what you’re working on.