Toyota GB heritage fleet: 1993 Toyota Carina E

It took us a couple of years to find but we believe this is not just one of the first examples of the British-built Toyota Carina E, it is also the finest example in the country. And it will be kept that way as it now forms another historic chapter within Toyota GB’s growing collection of heritage vehicles.

Carina E 11

Our intention to track down the oldest British-built Carina E was originally published back in October 2012, and the exposure this generated unearthed Mike Hoyland’s example. Registered in July 1993, approximately six months after the start of Carina E production at Burnaston, Derbyshire, the GLi saloon was still delivering reliable service with 153,000 miles on the clock.

We believe we found one of the first and finest examples in the country

After publishing Mike’s story, feedback from Carina E owners slowed until August last year, when not one but two potential candidates for Britain’s oldest arrived in our inbox. While Liz Christenssen’s much-loved four-door GLi is now the oldest Carina E we know of due to a date of first registration at the beginning of May 1993, its overall condition was not good enough to consider adding it to our historic collection.

Carina E 12

The other candidate sounded much more hopeful, however – an ultra-low-mileage, one-owner XLi saloon registered at the end of May 1993. We were alerted to the vehicle by the owner’s nephew, who had been tasked with selling the car. Having heard his recounting of the vehicle’s history and seen a selection of sample photos, we immediately booked a flight to Edinburgh and paid a good price for the car.

Carina E 10

Back in May 1993, George Dewar decided to treat himself to a brand-new Carina E after retiring from his profession as a teacher of classical studies.

Initially attracted to the car’s sleek, aerodynamic looks, Mr Dewar thoroughly researched its other attributes and was convinced that Toyota’s reputation for producing reliable, durable vehicles should ensure that the Carina E would be the last car he would ever want to or need to buy.

Carina E 13

More than twenty years and just over 20,000 miles later, Mr Dewar, now 90, finally decided that he was too old to drive. His experience over those decades offers convincing evidence of the reputation that he invested his retirement money on; thanks in no small part to an insistence on garaging the car when not in use and maintaining a regular service schedule.

Carina E 05

Nothing major had failed during his ownership and most MOT tests passed with nothing more than occasional advisory notices, from worn tyres and such like.

Carina E 01

There is a lower number on the odometer than many people achieve in a single year

Aside from a couple of minor parking blemishes that we have now repaired, the Carina E is in time warp condition. There is a lower number on the odometer than many people achieve in a single year, the interior looks and feels virtually unused, and every component within the chassis and powertrain feels as tight as the day it left Burnaston. Our Carina E even retains the same new Toyota smell we remember sensing in our beloved AE86 Corolla GT Coupe when we bought it for our historic fleet.

Carina E 03

As a model that resided just one rung from the bottom of the Carina E range, our XLi does without modern-day comforts such as electric windows and air conditioning, or features such as a rev counter, anti-lock brakes and driver’s air bag. But rather than generating dissatisfaction, these omissions actually serve to endear you to the experience of driving the car. Human interaction is required to alter everything from airflow levels to gauging when to change gear.

Carina E 04

What we found particularly remarkable about the Carina E is how efficiently it tackled the 450-mile trek back to Toyota’s UK headquarters; a distance that was more than it had accumulated in the past four years!

Carina E 07

Despite experiencing almost every kind of weather and traffic incident, the journey was comfortably despatched in around eight hours and the car didn’t miss a beat. In fact, it travelled the entire distance on just three-quarters of a tank of fuel. So in terms of fulfilling the needs of economy-minded motorists, the 22-year-old Carina E is still very modern in its approach.

Carina E 14

Now returned to its maker, our Carina E will continue to be cared for in the manner to which it has become accustomed. But the car will by no means live out its days as a static illustration of Toyota’s production history in the UK. For instance, we have a few ideas about comparing this inaugural model with the very latest product that will soon emerge out of Burnaston.

 

28 comments

  1. I have a 1994 Carina E dark grey with 97,000 on the clock. Very comfortable to drive. I bought it from a family friend last year, who had had the car from new and decided it was time to stop driving in his mid 80s. He looked after it well and I’m trying to do the same.

  2. I have a toyota carina e 1992 it was registered the 1st of August 1992 would this be the first carina e registered still on the road? the reg is K345 LTR this is a Japanese built vehicle but as the carina e was launched in 1992 im wondering if its earliest registered car on the road it may not be but interesting to know.

    Thanks Peter

    1. Hi Peter,

      Thanks for getting in touch. The Carina E was a European adaptation of the T190-generation Corona, launched in March 1992. The first Toyota Carina E rolled off the line at our factory at Burnaston, Derbyshire in December 1992. Although our search was for the earliest vehicles built in the UK, it is likely that your Carina E was also one of the first. However, we have no way of knowing whether it was the earliest.

      Thanks.

  3. Hi I own a 1996 Carina e 2.0 cdx it has 74000 miles on the clock & it is. My daily driver. The car stood outside my father’s house for 12 years before I ‘re-commissioned it, it is a fantastic car to drive & is extremely comfortable

  4. I was a proud owner of a Carina E . KWPH 189 .
    I purchased in from Toyota Derby which was situated on Stores Road, at the time it was the most expensive car I had purchased, I needed a car that was reliable and safe because I had a young family and about to take a holiday in France.
    I drove the car through France and never forget how easy and rewarding it was to drive comfortably not only for me but also enjoyable for my family.
    I unfortunately had to make a decision a few years ago after it failed it’s MOT on emissions and structural corrosion
    I’m sure if I could of afforded to spend time and money on it I would still be enjoying driving it today.
    Found memories of a lovely reliable car.

  5. Hi,
    I have a Toyota Carina E Solair Air Con from 1995. It was previously owned by my father who sadly passed away last year from Covid. I promised him i would look after his beloved ‘Wato’ (yes ‘she’ had a name as her number plate ends in WTO). I love the car, its been in my family for almost 26 years 150,000 miles on the clock, no major problems, starts every time and a wonderful reliable car!
    I am going to look after her and hope she can make it to 40 years!

    1. Hi Olwen,
      Thanks for getting in touch. We’re sorry to hear about your father and send our best wishes to you and your family, but we’re so glad to hear that your Carina is still going well!
      It sounds like you’ve taken great care of her, so we have no doubt she’ll make it to her 40th. Have you taken her on any adventures over the years?
      We’re not sure if you’ve seen our High Mile Club, but ‘Wato’ would qualify for the Bronze sticker if she’s completed 150,000 miles: https://mag.toyota.co.uk/high-mile-club/https://mag.toyota.co.uk/high-mile-club/.
      If you’d like us to send out a sticker, just let us know.
      We wish you many more happy miles together!
      Thanks.

      1. Hi,

        Thank you! Yes, ‘Wato’ has had many adventures up and down the country over the years. Regularly to the seaside on family holidays twice a year when younger. Dad drove her for work also and he worked all over the UK. She has carried planks of wood easily, moved furniture and she still looks shiny and new after all that!
        I haven’t seen the high mile club, but yes please, i would love that! I will click on the link now.
        Thank you!

      2. That’s great news, Olwen! It sounds like ‘Wato’ really is part of the family, and we hope she stays with you for many years to come.
        We’ve emailed you directly in order to gather further details and get the Bronze High Mile sticker sent out to you.
        Thanks.

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