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SL's fleet news - Carina E + general updates


Spottedlaurel

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I'm blaming @wuvvum for this one.

Before I went on holiday last month I found myself obtaining insurance quotes and purchasing advance, one-way rail tickets, which can mean only one thing - a collection mission was being planned. Last night the time finally came around to undertake the deed.

Entertainment was assembled:

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A taxi was hailed:

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Thanks to Miss SL for the lift to the station.

Old-ish cars were seen:

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Titty duck leads the way. Her name would be clear when seen from the front.

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A train was caught:

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Read about the quality motors available in August 1996:

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Descended into the underworld for the next leg, Liverpool Street to Bank:

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Then the comedically simple Waterloo and City Line:

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Spent some time messily eating a burrito, wondering why this AA ad portrays the trashing of what appears to be an LS400:

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Then the final leg of our southbound journey, Waterloo platform 12 and a late commuter train:

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More to follow.....

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  • Spottedlaurel changed the title to SL's fleet news - Non-live collection mission
2 hours ago, hairnet said:

How much SL taxi to Cromer please

Cromer from mine would take almost half the time it took to drive back from Hampshire last night....

Big tunnel on the A3:

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Fuel for driver and passenger, Master SL came along:

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And for the purchase, with the big forecourt reveal:

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Was recently listed here by @Alan Prost and it not having worked out with that pov-spec Carina E 4dr I thought this would be an interesting alternative. Always wanted to try a 2-litre version after we had a 1.8 as family transport for some years, purchased almost 20 years ago after the birth of Miss SL, and particularly so after driving the Avensis SR which is now her daily driver. This all makes me feel quite old....

Busy with chores right now, will write more and add today's photos later. Suffice to say the drive home was as uneventful as could be hoped and I think it's got the basis of being A Very Good Car.

Many thanks to Lee for such an easy purchase and for letting me take four weeks to pick it up.

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4 hours ago, Spottedlaurel said:

the trashing of what appears to be an LS400

Haven't seen that in a while! Here's E Honda having a go:

 

Hope the Carina is what you need - what was up with the other one? 

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1 hour ago, mk2_craig said:

Hope the Carina is what you need - what was up with the other one? 

Not sure need is the correct word there, but it could be a useful thing.

I just wasn't quick enough on the first one, it was £600 locally on FB and by the time I'd got in touch someone had already viewed and paid a deposit. Although the one I now have is probably the better car, it's more useful, better equipped and lower mileage.

GLi is the highest spec available on the estate, and the original owner really pushed the boat out with metallic paint, auto 'box and the air-con (apparently a dealer-fit extra).

Car didn't like it, of course. Their summary of it in that August '96 issue:

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As they've also included the Camry in this list they were clearly stupid. Ditto the 940?

For completeness, here's our previous one, a 1.8 CD:

1996 Toyota Carina E 1.8CD

Bought in 2003 as it was massively roomier than the previous Mazda 323F, then passed to father-in-law around 2010-11. He kept it until 2017 and it then got broken/exported.

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2 hours ago, Spottedlaurel said:

Not sure need is the correct word there, but it could be a useful thing.

I just wasn't quick enough on the first one, it was £600 locally on FB and by the time I'd got in touch someone had already viewed and paid a deposit. Although the one I now have is probably the better car, it's more useful, better equipped and lower mileage.

GLi is the highest spec available on the estate, and the original owner really pushed the boat out with metallic paint, auto 'box and the air-con (apparently a dealer-fit extra).

Car didn't like it, of course. Their summary of it in that August '96 issue:

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As they've also included the Camry in this list they were clearly stupid. Ditto the 940?

For completeness, here's our previous one, a 1.8 CD:

1996 Toyota Carina E 1.8CD

Bought in 2003 as it was massively roomier than the previous Mazda 323F, then passed to father-in-law around 2010-11. He kept it until 2017 and it then got broken/exported.

After reading Car religiously from the age of 11 I made many costly mistakes buying terrible money pits because I remembered favourable Giant Test results. A Renault 17 Gordini, Lancia Beta Coupe and a GSA spring to mind all were theoretically superior to the Cortinas, Capris and even Zodiacs and Granadas that I inevitably went back that actually functioned as transport to work  in between the Setright, Nichollls, Fraser recommended Furriners.

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3 hours ago, wuvvum said:

Excellent!  How are the auto 'boxes on these?  I've never sampled one, but they are the type of car that would suit being automatic for an even less stressful driving experience.

Feels a bit old-fashioned, like how I remember it was on the F-reg Bluebird auto I had. With the LS400 and RX I'm used to very smooth 'boxes, so maybe it's not a fair comparison. Might be that it needs a bit of a fluid change?

Nicely geared with the overdrive, less than 3000rpm at 70.

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Some photos from yesterday morning, to prove that it did make it back here:

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Driveway of dreams. Interesting to be able to directly compare it with the Avensis.

1996 Toyota Carina E 2.0 GLi Estate Auto

 

1996 Toyota Carina E 2.0 GLi Estate Auto

Probably too late to call on this in the event of any problem.

1996 Toyota Carina E 2.0 GLi Estate Auto

 

1996 Toyota Carina E 2.0 GLi Estate Auto

I dug out a 1996 brochure and hoped to find a name for this fabric style, but sadly they just list it as being grey. It's worn its 128k miles and 27 years pretty well, the bolsters look fine and it's pretty clean and free of damage.

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Nice touch here - the wash/wipe function on the stalk appears to have packed up and it's been replaced by this switch.

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Tailgate handle has the same issue as on the Camry estate, in that it seems to have lost whatever spring action returns it to its position and it needs manually pushing back.

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Sunroof tilts and slides as it should. Front screen may well be the original, there's no rot around it. Roof rails are handy to have, they cost a lot for the RX.

Grosvenor Garage (Guildford Ltd Toyota dealer sticker

Where it was purchased new, it looks like Honda are now sold there: https://goo.gl/maps/3GyuxLKf6eFrg8GH8

1996 Toyota Carina E 2.0 GLi Estate Auto

Boot large and deep, probably not much smaller than the RX although I doubt it could take as much weight. Doesn't look to have been abused as a loadlugger.

1996 Toyota Carina E 2.0 GLi Estate Auto

125bhp and 129lb/ft torque from this version of the engine also used in RAV4, MR2, Celica and as a 2.2 in the Camry. Oddly it's listed with slightly reduced torque in the auto compared to the manual, which was 135lb/ft. If the sticker is to be believed then it had a cam belt change along with water pump, idler etc a couple or so years ago at 112k miles, so that doesn't need worrying about.

No immediately obvious reason why it's had a kill switch fitted. Rubber seal has since been placed back where it should be.

One thing we noticed looking at it today was a hairline split in the plastic top of the radiator, with a little bit coolant just visible around it. Didn't appear to have lost very much coolant on the motorway journey home of 3+ hours, and a replacement rad looks to be straightforward to fit and easy/cheap enough to obtain - parts availability will hopefully be a benefit of it over the Camry and LS400.

For the sake of comparison, here's the Avensis engine bay:

1999 Toyota Avensis 2.0 SR

All very similar, but has coil pack ignition and the washer fluid bottle is tucked down below the inner wing.

MoT is due in a couple of months. I'll use it for local running around and get it to the garage for a pre-test checkover. Front end has a bit of a clonk and I reckon a full set of tyres would make a significant improvement to its ride quality and road noise - Uniroyal RainExperts seem to do a good job on the Avensis.

I hope I'm not being overly optimistic, but it seems to me that there's the basis of a very decent car here. The tidy interior and lack of rot in nasty places along with lots of paperwork and history would justify some paintwork on the lower half to really smarten it up in a way that I could never contemplate with the LS400.

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Kill switch will probably have been placed there either as an inexpensive additional antitheft measure, or a simpler/quicker way of disconnecting the battery when the car’s not in use for a period. In the latter instance sometimes needed if there’s an untraceable fault causing the battery to discharge more quickly than it should. 
 

But hopefully not in your case!

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Those seats are special 😍 

Japanese stuff of this era was probably the peak of automotive design, just the right balance between modern features/reliability whilst not being too complex.

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On 8/14/2023 at 7:29 AM, Shirley Knott said:

Those seats are special 😍 

Japanese stuff of this era was probably the peak of automotive design, just the right balance between modern features/reliability whilst not being too complex.

Comfy too. And agreed on the latter point.

Show attendance today, at one of the enjoyable East Coast Japanese Sunday meets. Self and daughter's BF took these:

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Avensis would have been there too but Miss SL is using it for a camping trip this weekend.

Now got less than 700 miles to the Laurel's big 100k, not sure if I'll make it this year but it was an enjoyable thing to drive today. Suprisingly good fun on country roads, cruising is a bit of a drudge as it's not especially quiet (low gearing, wind noise).

Should have taken the Carina, but want to to get the radiator replaced before I go too far. Pity I didn't, as I could have compared it with this one:

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@wuvvum and maybe one or two others will remember this from the eBay thread a couple or so months ago. I attempted to buy it when it came up for sale locally on FB but I missed out. Great to see it's still around, not scrapped or raced (it was only £600). Had a pleasant chat with the young lad who owns it, he says he's been using it as a daily and it's doing a great job for him. Low-spec with manual windows and the 1.6 engine. On balance I prefer what I've got, as I already have two 3-box saloons and the practicality of an estate is useful plus it's nice to have the toys and bigger Camry-type engine along with the lower mileage, but good to know the saloon went to an enthusiastic owner.

One feature I've found on my Carina, but haven't been able to make use of yet, is a wiper heater function. It appears it still has the original 'screen and today I noticed thin elements at the bottom. RX has something similar, didn't realise Toyota were offering it back in the '90s.

It's going to be dropped off at the garage tomorrow evening for a pre-MoT check and radiator replacement. Fingers crossed I have it back in time for ECR's evening meet at Shotley.

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  • Spottedlaurel changed the title to SL's fleet news - Carina E + general updates

LS400 used for work today, after driving the Laurel then Carina over the previous couple of days its smoothness is still a revelation. Even against the RX it still acquits itself very well, and the ride is certainly better.

Garage's pre-MoT verdict came through on the Carina, overall pretty good. No rust on the body or subframe etc to worry about. For the October MoT it'll need front brake flexis, a rear ARB link (presumably the cause of the clonking sound) and a bit of a repair to the headlight adjustment, and I forgot to tell them about the comedy screenwash switch. May as well get them done now so it should be a straightforward pass, and I'm 'voluntarily' getting the rad replaced along with a set of new tyres and plug leads. It can have an oil and filter change when it goes back in for the MoT, maybe a look at the A/C too.

Once I get the mechanical side of things sorted then it's a question of how far do I go with the the paint and bodywork? An important thing I discovered on a damp morning was that all the HRW elements work. To me that makes it feel like the forthcoming expenditure will be worthwhile.........

Was digging around in its copious history file today. First owner in leafy Ripley, Woking had it from new to late 2011. He was going to part-exchange a 1987 Astra against it, for which they'd have given him £1747.26 in 1996, but he must have found a home for it elsewhere as they crossed that out and he paid the balance in full (no record of finance from the garage).

Then went to a chap in Haywards Heath, with around 76k on the clock at 15 years old. By the power of Streetview, here it is approaching its 20th birthday in 2016:

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Neatly kept, just the sort of place where you'd have hoped/expected to have  seen it. Still had the original wheeltrims back then. Amongst the paperwork there's a little calculation of his annual mileage, with a note saying how much it had gone down to after retirement. Looking at the MoT/service history I can imagine the same happened with its first owner, and I quite fancy that little bit of history repeating itself - I'd happily enter retirement with it still on my fleet and it would feel utterly appropriate to do so.

Sometime in 2018-19 it then moves onto its 3rd owner, who looks to have lived down Chichester way going by the paperwork. Mileage was around 96k at that point. He kept it for about four years, doing around 7k between MoTs, and it then went to @Alan Prost in March of this year with circa 126k on it.

My geographical knowledge of that area isn't great, but it looks to have moved in a clockwise direction around Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire before breaking out of its orbit and heading to the wilds of East Anglia.

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Carina back home again from visit #1 to the garage. It's got to go back for the tyres, but so far they've done the rad, replaced plug leads and distributor cap, replaced a couple of brake flexis and cleaned up the rear pipes, and fitted a new rear ARB link. Latter doesn't quite seem to have got rid of the clonking noise, wonder if the exhaust isn't fitted as it should be? I'm sure it's a touch louder than it ought to be. They can have another look when it goes back for the tyres. Definitely running better with the leads and cap changed.

Haven't got a bill yet, but with the tyres done I reckon it won't be far off the original £1,000 I paid for it. For £2k I've got something tidy, comfortable and practical, hopefully reliable and I personally think quite distinctive looking. Cam belt and water pump were already done, so that should be all of the major things dealt with. If I can get the air-con sorted and then some paintwork done I think it should be Very Nice Indeed, for 95% of my driving all the car I need.

Mine is higher mileage, but I think it compares favourably with the £3,199 example that the eBay seller in Bradford wants for a similar estate: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/385972860553 I can see that also has some dinks on the bodywork, and it doesn't have AC.

Honourable mention to the Yaris, now with Master SL and mileage starting to rack up since he passed his test. Was used to good effect last night, dropping Miss SL off at a party then me at the garage.

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  • 3 weeks later...

1990s Toyota boot sale action:

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Avensis SR was pressed into service on the stall, I just visited later on. Carina E seemed right for that kind of trip, and I was keen to see how it drove on the new tyres and with the noises sorted. They found some play in the front ARB links, and it's much better now they've been replaced. Full set of Falkens were fitted - in hindsight I wish I'd waited for the Uniroyals but they were on a longer delivery time. They're the proper 185 width, but look a bit skinny on the rims.

Was a very enjoyable drive, it goes well and is smooth and comfortable - definitely something where I want to sort that final 5% and get it running just right. Also a good test for the new radiator today, it sat perfectly at halfway all day.

Still has a very slight misfire under light throttle, although it seems less noticeable when it's really, properly warmed-up. Hasn't yet had a full service,so we'll see if it's still evident after that.

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288 miles since I filled up at South Mimms on the collection night. Worked it out at around 32mpg, which isn't bad for a 2-litre auto seeing as it hasn't had many decent runs since getting it home and it's spent time in and out of the garage. I don't think I ever got much better than 33-34 out of the Camry 2.2, and that was a manual.

It's funny, I can think back to the mid '90s and imagine who would have bought or chosen a car like this. I then realised that I have many of the characteristics that person would have had, age and stage in their working life certainly being amongst them....

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