The Corolla AE92 GT-S Project

A website about my ongoing project

Nederlandse vlag Engelse vlag

Origin of my car

On this page, I'll tell a bit more about where my car came from.

On the car page I already explained that the coupé models were never sold in Europe and that there can be quite a few differences in markets the car was sold, even though it is in essence the same car.

 

My Toyota Corolla AE92 GT-S was build in Japan in 1988 and came off the assembly line as number 878 of its run. It was then destined to be sold in Canada.

Why do I know it was to be sold in Canada? My car is a so called 'cold-spec' car. Cold spec cars were specially adapted for markets where cold was to be expected (Canada, Scandinavia). They have a larger heat exchanger in the heating system and had heating ducts in the rear passenger foot wells. Both can be found in my car.

 

A former owner of my, car who lives in Canada now, found this very website and contacted me to tell me a little more about the first few years of the car.

Apparently my car found it's way from Canada to the US. The first owner bought the car new in the US in 1990 and shipped it to the Netherlands.

He drove it here for about 9 years, but got fed up with the car in 1999 and bought a other car. The car got sold to the guy that contacted me. So he was the second owner and drove the car until December 2003. He would the emigrated out of the country (ironically, he would move to Canada) and had to reluctantly sell the car to a used car dealer in the vicinity of Enschede.

I picked the car up in November 2005, so in between there, somebody owned the car and didn't take particular good car of it as the second owner assured me that the car had no damage while he owned it. So I'm probably the 4th owner of this car now.

 

But how did the car end up with me?

 

Well, the first ever car I owned was a Corolla E9 too. I became a pretty big fan of this type of car and joined the Dutch Corolla Club where I was a pretty active user of the forum and attended quite a few club meetings etc.

  

CorollaClub NL logo

 

Somewhere in the summer of 2005 a forum member placed a tip on a special Corolla that was for sale at a local used car dealer. He included some picture and all the information he could gather about the car.

It was a E9 series Corolla, so it naturally had my interest. But it was the weirdest E9 Corolla I had ever seen, but the more I looked at the photo's, the more I started to like it. 

 

I was already seriously planning on beginning a project car and and this car looked like it could use a little TLC.

And important for a project car: The car itself was pretty affordable.

But those plans were put on hold for a little while because I didn't have a job at that time yet. I did however already have a contract with my first employer when I was done with me education, so it would only be a matter of time before I would have the financial means to start a project.

 

But until that time, I just couldn't get that car out of my mind. I could only hope that it would still be for sale by the time I would get my first paycheck.

I received that first paycheck in September of that same year and where a lot of my colleagues would go out and buy nice new things like game consoles, laptops and such. My hard earned money had a completely different destination: a 17 year old, unloved car in questionable state.

 

But first I had to get in contact with the seller of the car. But that turned out to be pretty darn hard. In the months that had passed, the car dealer and all the cars he had moved to a different location.

But luckily for me, the guy that posted the original tip asked around for me and managed to get me an address and phone number of the seller.

A voice with a foreign accent answered the phone and confirmed to me he had a Toyota Corolla for sale. If it was the rare coupé model I was after didn't really became clear to me in the conversation, but hey, it was the only lead I had, so I made a appointment to come and see the car.

The car was on the other side of the country for me. I live in a small village in the south of the Netherlands (point D). At the time, I worked in in Den Helder (point B) and the car was located in Enschede (point C). So I had to take a considerable detour from work back home (nearly 550km's). But if it was the car I was looking for, it would be worth it!

 

The route I driven through The Netherlands for the car

The route I had to go to go look at the car.

 

It was November by now, but I got to a remote industrial area to look for the car dealer. After a while, we found a desolate workshop with the dealers name on it. And what did I see behind the fence among the other shabby cars?

 

Toyota Corolla AE92 GT-S front  Toyota Corolla AE92 GT-S rear

The Toyota Corolla GT-S coupé I was looking for!

 

I was finally able to look at the car in person and give a little closer inspection.

It looked way beter in real life than it did on the photo's on the forum. And before I knew it, the car dealer hooked up a battery to the car and had the engine running. I sounded a little rough and it didn't run very smoothly. But it did run and as I was going to tear it down anyway it didn't really matter. It turned over and started, so how bad could it be right?

 

I checked out the rest of the car as far as I could without a lift to put it on. But thus far, I liked what I saw.

I had definitely seen better days. It was a little beat up and looked tired. But almost everything was there, there was minimal rust and almost everything worked.

I didn't take it for a test drive anymore as I already made up my mind. I was looking for a project car and this was going to be it. So we shook hands, I made a deposit on the car in advance and made an appointment for me to come and pick up the car.

 

That appointment was still two weeks away, and it felt like two years to me. But on that day, after a 3 hour drive with a car trailer behind my parents Toyota Carina E, I handed over the rest of the money to the dealer and we loaded it up on the trailer.

It drove up the trailer under it's own power and after strapping it down, we could start the journey home. Nothing could get the grin off my face the entire way home.

   

Loading the Toyota Corolla AE92 GT-S on a trailer  The Toyota Corolla AE92 GT-S loaded on a trailer

 

I finally had the car back home and I spent the rest of the following day exploring the car. There is nothing like sitting in a car and be amazed at all the things you missed the first time you were in the car or didn't expect to be in there in the first place.

 

Toyota Corolla AE92 coupé and hatchback side by side

You might not think it, but underneath it's the same car. My daily commuter and project car side by side.

 

I suspended the cars registration so I wouldn't have to insure it or pay any taxes over it. Now I could start looking for a suitable workshop to get the project started. But that was harder then I initially thought it would be.

It took my until April the following year to finally rent something where I could set up my own workshop and start the project.

 

My first workshop  My Corolla in my first workshop

The workshop the project started in.

 

I started to buy some tools and made a little workbench. I set up a little workshop where I could finally do whatever I wanted to do to the car and work on it as much as I wanted.

The car got towed there ( I wasn't allowed to drive it on public roads while it's registration was suspended) and placed on axle stands so I could start working on it. It hasn't stood on it's own wheels since then.

 

Now the project could finally get underway. You can read what happened next on the rest of the website.