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Over 100 Photos of Turn-Key 1979 Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftback with 60,000 Miles!

Make: Toyota
Model: Corolla
SubModel: TE51
Type: Hatchback
Trim: SR5
Year: 1979
Mileage: 60,500
VIN: TE51376028
Color: Blue
Engine: 2TC 1.6 Hemi
Cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Blue
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

1979 Toyota Corolla SR5 Additional Info:

1979 Toyota Corolla Liftback SR5

PLEASE READ THIS FIRST: I've invested many hours to write this description and took over 100 photographs, so please have the courtesy to take 15 minutes to read every word below and view every photo before contacting me or hitting the buy-it-now button. Also note, the paint color in the photos can be deceiving because camera optics see things very differently than the human eye especially when it comes to metallics. In this case the color looks darker in most photos than in-person, the highlights and lowlights are not present in-person, and often the camera sees green or violet where in reality the color is a beautiful medium blue metallic.


This car was purchased new by a 53-year-old gentleman in Kentucky in the Summer of 79. It was garage kept and driven regularly by him its entire life, not stored for a long period of time. In 2016 at the age of 91 he was no longer able to drive and his wife put the car up for sale. A buyer from Ohio purchased the car, did very little to it and sold it to me shorty after. I've always wanted to experience a Liftback and had been casually looking for 5 years, so I couldn't pass on the opportunity to acquire this unmolested gem. I spent the Winter and Spring revitalizing the car while trying to keeping it as stock and original as possible. Recently mailed photos to the original owner on his 92nd birthday, he was thrilled and said it looked better than when he bought it new.

Built in May 1979 it currently has 60,500 miles and is equipped with the desirable Sport Rally 5 Performance Package. The engine is the robust 2TC pushrod 1600cc hemi engine with the original Aisan two-stage carburetor and factory long-tube exhaust header. Behind the smooth shifting 5-speed is a 2-piece driveshaft and beefier 10-bolt rear (other Corollas had 1200cc and 8-bolt rear). The 3rd Generation Corolla from 1976 to 1979 had six different models and this Liftback was the biggest and the most expensive of the bunch. While Toyota had its own excellent engineering during this era, the slick Liftback body style is an obvious copy of the Volvo 1800ES. I could write a book about this car, but a brief summary will have to do...

SR5 Performance Package:

- Eight Gauge Instrument Panel
- T50 5-Speed Manual Transmission
- Heavy Duty 10-Bolt Rear Axle with 3.90 Ratio
- Steel Styled Rally Wheels
- Larger 185/70/13 Tires
- SR5 Badges


- Properly tuned and it runs, shifts, drives flawlessly with zero issues
- I drive it to events almost every weekend, 500 miles so far this summer
- Temp runs consistently 185 to 195 even on a scorching summer day
- All vacuum lines correct and components working under the hood
- Engine has strong oil pressure, clean internally, doesn't smoke and no leaks
- Everything on the car works exactly as it should (yes, every little thing)


- Original Aisan two-stage carburetor professionally rebuilt
- New quality Japan fuel pump
- New fuel filter


- New cap
- New rotor
- New wires
- New plugs


- New quality brass radiator
- New 180 thermostat
- New quality Japan water pump
- Engine passages are very clean with no corrosion


- New PennGrade1 10w40 motor oil with high zinc/phosphorus (for old flat tappet camshafts)
- New Redline GL4 specific transmission fluid (most are GL5 and detrimental to brass synchros)
- New Valvoline 80w90 rear differential fluid
- New correct green ethylene glycol antifreeze
- New DOT3 brake fluid
- New DOT3 clutch fluid


- Rust free from Kentucky, always parked in dry house garage, kept out of sun and rain with no winters and no salt
- Received Ziebart undercoat treatment in 1979 on undercarriage, backside of body panels and inner fenders
- Only rust on the car was bottom of front fenders (they all rust here first) and that was cut out and new metal welded in
- The small areas of blue paint you see on undercarriage is the original paint showing through undercoat, not overspray
- All the doors, hinges, hood, hatch, handles, locks and so on operate smooth and tight like new as you would expect


The paint is the most difficult part to explain so I have to use paragraph form. First, like I mentioned at the top of the page, photos can be deceiving because camera optics see things very differently than then human eye especially when it comes to metallics. In this case the color looks darker in most photos than in-person, the extreme highlights and lowlights are not present in-person, and often the camera sees green or violet where in reality the color is a beautiful medium blue metallic. The closeup photo of passenger door handle is most accurate on my Samsung 23" monitor.

I'll start with color selection, I intended to paint it the original blue metallic code 861 but when I had PPG mix me a sample and we sprayed in on a test panel, the color was silver with violet hue and not even close to the original blue color. As every experienced restorer knows, that is the problem when you try to emulate old factory single stage enamel with modern base clear. The reality is they are completely different technologies and pigments, so all PPG is trying to do is recreate 861 as best as possible but failed. Plan B was to use the PPG Prophet and let the computer match it, but that requires a 1-14 accuracy out of 100 and this paint came out 29. So I moved on to Plan C, which was to pick a modern color that was a close match to the original color looking at dealers lots and swatches. This was a good choice because I knew what I was getting and would be happy with the results. After looking at dozens of examples I decided on Mopar Surf Blue, it is slightly darker/stronger than original, but regardless which route I took (A, B, or C) it wasn't going to be a perfect match, and this matched better than PPG's version of 861. It looks stunning on this car and everyone loves it.

Next was application, I removed just about everything from exterior body and sent it to a professional who has been restoring old cars for 40 years. It was sanded down properly and thoroughly, locked down with a quality sealer, then he painted it with 3 coats of base and 3 coats of clear. The door and hatch jams were also painted, with the underhood and underhatch left alone. I reinstalled all the trim properly using all the correct fasteners. I also purchased new NOS key cylinder gaskets, NOS fender to hood bumpers, and NOS hood prop rod grommet. Overall I was very pleased with the results and exceeded my expectations. This is a nice quality paint job, but not perfect show paint, so it does have some flaws. If you look close you can see some tiny dirt pot marks in surface in places, couple shallow dings on roof, a chip at top of windshield seal, a few runs in inconspicuous places, and other mi-nute imperfections. Most people at car events tell me it looks perfect and I'm sure the general public sees it that way, but I would rate it an 8.5 out of 10 because I know all the flaws. Bottom line is its smooth, very shiny, metallic is even, straight, and looks great.


- New chrome lockstrip trim around front and rear glass
- Chrome is in beautiful condition, but top surfaces of bumpers have some light scratches
- Drip rail moldings were brittle and not salvageable, new ones unavailable, looking for suitable replacement
- Rubber weather seals around doors and windows are in excellent condition, especially for age
- Side mirror is aftermarket replacement, looks and fits good, but not Toyota quality
- Taillights are nice and bright at night due to design and like-new condition (many vintage cars are are dim)
- Rally wheels were repainted the factory color and stainless trim rings polished (one ring has some rash)
- Emblems are in excellent shape. The Toyota hatch emblem and Corolla fender emblems were not reinstalled after paint because I feel they are overkill and like it better as pictured like prior model years, plus I didn't want to put adhesive onto the paint where as the SR5 and Liftback emblems use pins.


- Mostly original and in excellent condition
- Carpet is in amazing condition
- All dash lights bright, even the little green spotlight that shines toward shifter
- Driver seat bolster was professionally repaired
- Small tear on back seat head rests
- New quality dash pad cap that fits perfectly
- New door handle bezels
- Two rear interior panels in the far corners of the cargo area that cover the taillights are made of a specific type of plastic that deteriorates over time. Lots of imports and domestics used this material in the 70's. They are in poor condition and I've keep my eye open for another set, but most are in worse condition and new ones are no longer available.


- Newer exhaust system
- Newer front brake pads
- Newer clutch master and slave cylinder
- New quality tires in the proper 185/70/13 size for the SR5 Package
- Original full size spare still wears its original gray metallic paint with jack and tools
- Air cleaner also wears its original white paint in excellent shape
- Factory hood vents are functional as they allow engine compartment heat to escape

3 Modifications:

- Custom rear spoiler (looks stock) can be removed without harm if buyer prefers it stock
- Front auxiliary driving lights (not wired) can also be easily removed
- Exhaust resonator replaced original convertor because 70's pellet convertors are extremely restrictive, and a modern convertor was not used because these hemi engines use a flat tappet camshaft which requires oil with high zinc/phosphorus that is detrimental to convertor substrates.

Final Thoughts:

Many vintage cars that come up for sale with low miles look nice, but often have been sitting a long time, need a lot of service work to be road worthy and have other issues that need attention. Nice thing about this car is it was driven regularly throughout its life and never stored. There is no substitute for a one owner, low mileage, pampered, rust free, garage kept car that received regular exercise. The recent maintenance refresh was necessary with so many components approaching the 40 year mark. This car is far from perfect, but is certainly one of the nicest Liftbacks in the USA that you can actually drive.

Have a clear PA Title in my name stating actual miles. Included with the car is a copy of the original title, owners manuals, spare emblems, JAF badge, interior rear cargo panels, car show display card, and a small amount of leftover base coat paint with formula specs. I've enjoyed this process and happily drive it to car shows and don't have to sell it, but I do have some other life matters that need attention and would like to see it go to a good home. The car is priced accurately and if I detailed the engine compartment the price would be $12,500. I uploaded four examples of market values to the photo album for price comparison. Please don't forget to read Terms of Sale below, thank you.


Terms of Sale:

FACTS: This vehicle is being sold as-is, where is. While I make every effort to disclose every known defect I cannot possibly know about every flaw, because it is 38 years old and not perfect. I have represented this car to the best of my ability, to the best of my knowledge, with an in-depth description and over 100 quality photos. I'm an experienced enthusiast looking for serious buyers only.

ATTENTION ALL BUYERS: Be aware the buy-it-now is a contract to purchase this vehicle at that price. There is no negotiating after you agree to a price. Please don't buy unless you have read every word on this page, viewed every photo and have the funds available at this very moment.

ZERO FEEDBACK BUYERS: Sorry but no zero feedback buyers allowed due to scammers. If you just joined eBay and have zero feedback but really want to buy this car, you can send me your phone number and I will contact you by phone for consideration.

PAYMENT: Winner will be contacted via e-mail within 12 hours of the sale. If for some unknown reason you are not contacted within that time frame then you must contact me. Deposit of $1000 is due within 24 hours via PayPal. The remaining balance amount must be paid in the form of guaranteed funds, that means paying in-cash within 7 days if you are picking the car up in-person, or bank-to-bank transfer within 72 hours if you are having it shipped, no exceptions.

PICKUP AND SHIPPING: Shipping and or pickup of this vehicle is the responsibility of the winning bidder. I will be glad to help with the arrangements if needed. The car must be picked up within 10 days of sale unless other arrangements are required. Payment in full must be received before the vehicle leaves the premises.