January 24, 2022 | By Hopeton O’Connor Dennie |
I have always had a passion for cars and other moving vehicles.
This is a new feature that will appear in Vision newspaper from time to time. We will examine motor vehicles, new and vintage types. We cater for all types, tastes, and no opinions are considered outdated.
When I lived in Canada I drove a domestic car that was manufactured in North America. It was a General Motors, 1980 Oldsmobile, Omega, 6 cylinders. It was most reliable and ran very well. My favourite cars are Jaguars and Volvos. They are very safe, but spare parts and getting them repaired is a real problem. Technicians are not readily available. They are considered specialized vehicles. The technology is great on these machines. It is always best in my view, to drive a domestic vehicle produced in North America when living in such a countries.
97 Toyota Corolla Wagon
I recently acquired a Toyota Wagon which is being restored. It is drivable, but needs work. Mostly body repairs and a decent paint job. These cars have a great reputation for reliability. Parts both new and used are easily found. The vehicle is easy to work on and therefore down time should be minimal. There is no great technology about same. Well designed, but simple features.
My plan is to create a total transformation of this Toyota Corolla Wagon. This will be from the front to the rear. Starting with the body then other aspects of the vehicle.
The front radiator support is one such part that is pregnant for attention. The bonnet and two fenders are shabby looking. The right hand front fender in particular looks very rough.
The rear door has been touched up, but needs reinforcement at the hinge as it is not fitting properly on one side. This leaves a gap which will allow for termites and even rodents to enter the vehicle. This is not healthy or acceptable, to say the least. It is also not closing properly due to this faulty hinge mechanism. It makes a lot of noise when driven. This lack of alignment has broken the right hand rear lamp. That lamp will have to be replaced in due course. The broken area is somewhat obscured from visibility by the tail gate or rear door.
The muffler pipe needs to be mended as it was broken off in the middle of the vehicle. This noise is unbearable. When repaired the vehicle will be much quieter.
The windscreen is broken in several places. It is not only unsafe but is unsightly and detracts from the general appearance of the wagon. This windscreen has to be replaced as a matter of urgency.
The right hand front bonnet hinge is also broken. This needs reinforcement so the bonnet can fit snugly. A replacement bonnet would be desirable or instead a good body filler repair and paint job.
Very little attention was paid to repairing body defects when they occurred. For example: door locks were not replaced on a timely manner. Missing right hand front side lamp was never replaced. So has been the inside door lock pull. Left hand door mirror adjusted by bolting same and sealing the space. Mirror needs to be painted to match the right hand counterpart or for both to be painted cream to match the body. That is not too urgent.
When completed the wagon should look real good. Even without the above repairs done it does not look the worst when compared with others which have been observed on the roads of Jamaica.
Many have opined that you cannot go wrong with a Toyota. The wagons in particular are a work 🐎 horse. Very versatile and spacious inside. You can drop down the back seat to transport additional luggage. A luggage rack can be installed on the roof to say carry a ladder or extra long pieces of say lumber. These are great features. A great vehicle to own on a tight budget.
We do not have to drive the latest model car to have a reliable ride. Just maintenance that does the trick.
Photos by Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie, a poet, elegist, author and senior international journalist who writes for Vision newspaper