Britain’s oldest Toyota Carina E found!

Here it is – we’ve finally tracked down one of the oldest British-built Toyota Carina E models still on the road in the UK!

Our search for the earliest running example of the first model made at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK factory in Derbyshire gained huge exposure – and after chasing down leads, we’ve located the one of the earliest Carina Es still on the road.

Mike Hoyland’s Toyota Carina E was registered in July 1993, and was built during our Burnaston factory’s early months.

It’s testament to the quality and reliability of Toyota’s UK manufacturing effort that the oldest Toyota Carina E (that we can locate) has remained on the road ever since.

December 16, 1992 was a groundbreaking day for Toyota. It marked the first day of Carina E production in the company’s state-of-the-art factory in Burnaston, near Derby. Not bad, considering the decision to build here was taken just three years before, with Toyota Manufacturing UK (TMUK) being set-up in December 1989.

It’s an ongoing success story more than 20 years on, with TMUK’s investment now topping £1.4 billion. In 2012, 109,502 Avensis and Auris models were built there by a dedicated and expert workforce.

The Carina E was launched in the UK and Europe in March 1992, but for the first nine months, cars sold here were actually imported in from Japan. Despite that, Toyota called it the ‘E’ to denote that it had been tuned to appeal to European tastes, and to reflect its eventual UK production.

Once on sale, the Carina E soon started selling strongly – both on the back of the memorable advertising campaign (that featured Enya’s Book of Days), and the brilliant strapline, ‘the car in front is a Toyota.’ 20 years on, people still say that.

It’s possible that Mike Hoyland was humming that Enya song when he walked into his local Toyota dealership with a view to buying one. It was July 1993, and he decided that he wanted a new car to replace his trusty Honda Accord.

He’d worked hard for it, too: ‘I had taught chemistry for 30 odd years, and decided to buy one using my redundancy money,’ he says.

The car Mike went for was a Carina E GL four-door saloon, which came up to the princely sum of £13,175.00. ‘I still have the original invoice, and I let a friend adopt the Honda, so there was no trade-in against the Carina.,’ Mike smiles. Needless to say, Mike took delivery on 1 August – L-registration day – in order to maximise that new car experience.

And coming up to 20 years on, Mike still has that Carina E. And he loves it. ‘It has been absolutely reliable, he says. ‘It runs almost silently, and the exhaust has only been replaced once. At 32,000 miles, the Lambda sensor packed up, but I was advised to contact Toyota GB headquarters in Redhill, which I did. And without any query, they agreed to stand the cost.’ Other consumables have included one starter motor, a shock absorber, and a couple of radiators.

‘But that’s all not bad for 20 years and 153,000 miles, eh,’ Mike smiles.

Britain’s oldest Toyota Carina E 1

Other than that, the oldest Toyota Carina E has run like clockwork, proving that the Toyota’s British workers can build a car to the same exacting quality standards as their Japanese counterparts. There was one other issue, but that’s hardly the car’s fault: ‘The remote locking has failed partly due to someone taking a screwdriver to the lock,’ Mike says. ‘They didn’t get in, but the lock had to be changed.’

Mike’s Carina E is your typical family hack, and gets used properly – it’s no cossetted museum piece. ‘There’s a bit of rust on the front wings,’ he adds. But it is has been perfect. ‘It has taken the family all over without a blip; we have carried my son’s bicycle and goods to and from Nottingham University when he was a student, and it is easy to carry 5m lengths of timber through the sunroof – and that was standard fit in 1993.’

Did Mike buy the car because it was made in the UK, or because it was a Toyota? ‘I hadn’t realised it was one of the earliest of the cars made here, although there was a small label to that effect somewhere at the top of the windscreen,’ he confirms.

And is Mike a car fan? ‘Oh yes, I like cars, and I take an interest in what’s on the road,’ he smiles. ‘I read reports, but don’t think that they are as unbiased as they would like to appear. The Carina “wasn’t inspiring” they said, but how many cars can compare with mine without special treatment?’

He’s also a Toyota fan. ‘The company is supportive of its cars and the customers. My favourite cars are the final-shape MR2, the old Celica and the new GT86. Back to reality, the Yaris Trend looks great, and what I’ve heard concerning the Auris is also good. But if money is object, then a Lexus GS would fit the bill perfectly,’ Mike says.

And would he have another Toyota? ‘Certainly! But the Carina E looks like it’s going on forever, and you can’t just walk away from a best pal can you?’

Britain’s oldest Toyota Carina E 2

Britain’s oldest Toyota Carina E 3


  1. Hi David

    I don’t do Facebook but have joined Toyota Owners club and posted pictures of my car in new members section (Robens).

  2. I’ve had my 1993 Toyota Carina E Automatic for 10 years. Just passed the MOT with 215,000 miles on the clock!

    1. Hi Paul, that’s great to hear! We’d love to see a picture of your Carina E, feel free to post a picture on our Facebook page (Toyota UK). Thanks for getting in touch, we wish you many more happy miles to come in your 1993 Carina E :).

  3. I have an older one – J460MCM – stilll running with 97,100 on the clock. Does over 57 mpg & around town does 40 mpg. Toyota Carina e Gli 1.6. Full service history & only off the road 10 days since 1992 for repairs!

    1. Hi John, thanks for taking the time to contact us. It’s great to hear your Carina E is being looked after and cared for so well. We’d love to see a picture, feel free to upload one to our Facebook page (Toyota UK). Thanks again for getting in touch!

  4. I own an M-reg Toyota Carina E 1998cc automatic which I inherited from my late father ten years ago. It had been lovingly cared for and I had tried to follow suit. It is just about to top 200,000 miles and it drives like a new car. Half of this milage is my own. It now needs a new hydraulic control unit which will be the first big money I have had to spend on it. I hope I can still get the part! My engineer has tried to tempt me to update my motoring machine, but I don’t want to know. Why throw away a car that is in near spotless condition? What a waste!

    1. Hello Nigel
      Thanks for your post.
      It was great to hear about your experience of Toyota ownership and the mileage you have achieved in your Toyota Carina E. We hope that you are able to get your control unit fixed and if you do need any further help or advice then we recommend that you contact your nearest Toyota dealer for further advice.

  5. have a 1995 carina diesel 230,000 miles pulling a two axle trailer with the lawn cuttings every week to the recycling yard. only part every fitted was a front drive.central locking broke due to vandalism and slight dent in rear door (senior lady in carpark) perfect driver

  6. Hi Shane,
    Thanks for your post. Great to here about your Carina and the mileage you’ve covered. We also appreciate hearing from owners with stories about their car. We would love to see a picture of your Carina on our Facebook page.

  7. Using Mother-In-Laws 1995 Carina E – Just done 111,000. Still in good shape, but woek this morning and the sunroof glass had all shattered! Having nightmare to try and find replacement under £300! Insurance won;t cover it. Any ideas guys? Thanks so much.

    1. Hello Lewis,
      Thank you for your post. We are glad your Carina is still in good shape and performing well and we are sorry about the sunroof. We would advise visiting your local Toyota Dealer who will be able to help by sourcing parts for you. Your local Toyota Dealer can be found here: Hope this helps and if you have any more questions please let us know.

    1. Hi Ben, carina e failed MOT emissions test, 1992 Sept model. In good condition otherwise but left standing so battery now flat. Can send u pics and other info if interested. My Dad bought the car from new and gave it to me in 2006 when he had only months to live, I had it until last May, then gave it to my ex-husband, it’s now back sitting on my drive and he has asked me to find it a new home! Obviously car has lots of emotional sentimental memories so want to ensure it goes to good home.

    2. Did you locate a carina e I have a 1994 hatchback 96k on clock 1 owner family car from new reply via will have full m.o.t excellent condition very reliable car been a great car for me and my dad before garage kept for 20years of its 22years on the road

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