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 ,everybody and Carina E fans .My Carina E Hatchback is from 1995 and has about 223 thousend miles on the clock. She just has passed the Rep.Ireland nct (mot) with no problemes at all.The car is in good shape and drives like a new one.

  2. Yes I have one runs like a dream 1993 will be buying my brothers car as he is getting a bigger one to tow caravan bit of rust on door covered with duk tape had it seven years it been brill put new rad on water pump and cam belt cam must have about 20000 miles before needs atten will miss it as it was my first car but will sell cheap to good home engine purrs like a cat top up oil after a few months as it losers a little nice cond inside alway gets through MOT due in August had break pipes done took it gatwick last month went great on motorway good on fuel should keep it really but brother giving me good deal on his car welcome to email me I live in Lowestoft and might b able to arrange something 120,000 mile engine should do over 200,000 out live the car lol the man at the council MOT station said it has a few good year yet as they were so well built only 2 owners 3 including me brother had it 10 years I now he had new computer thingy on it as I see Bill cost him 500 had it a couple of years then sold me the car for 400 said it would be OK for me as I just passed my test said if it lasts me a year it would be a good bye yipy I have had it 7 years and only cost me tyres rad pump cam belt

  3. Hope I can find a good home for my Carina e as its been amazing it’s running so well seems wrong to take it to a scrapyard but have a great deal on a car from my brother thinking about getting a full MOT in August then selling or let it go for 200 sure it will pass email me for more info they are so reliable probably get newer car and wished I had kept me dear old Carina e me first car what a dream car someone come and take it and give it a new home .

      1. Carina E, 1.8GS P Reg. Mink body work and interior. 2 owners from new. 60k and full Toyota history till then. West midlands. In a light metallic blue.

      2. My 1996 P Registered Carina E, in fantastic condition has only covered 62000 miles and has had only two private owners.

    1. Hi John the carina e is a great car I have a 1997 one kindly send me a picture of your car I may be able to get it a home. I can be reached at ******

  4. Yes yes. Give her a good home need to sell as getting new car going cheap she is brill but time to change

  5. Hi all,

    It has been nice to hear about lot of people having had such a good Carina`s experience as me. I have a Carina E 2.0 GLI, bought in Spain in 1994. Almost 22 years old and the only breakdown has been the alternator that spoilt the battery and the water temperature´s sensor, and a radiator. But the best is its sound. Incredibly as it may seems, the engine continues working as silently and accurately as the first day. I have to say that some people make jokes about my “hystorical” car, but I really know they are green with envy about my Carina´s reliability.

    1. We have one a 1995 Carina E still on the road. M404JTG full MOT never failed one.
      One owner from New
      A bit rough around the edges and a broken wing mirror. Runs like brand new.

      1. Amazing John! We love to see our customer’s vehicles. We’d love you to share an image with us on our social channels!

  6. My wife has a Carina E GLS Automatic registered on 25th March 1993. It is still running well. Is this the oldest one still running?

    1. Hi Adrian,
      Thanks for getting in contact with us. We’re delighted to hear about your Avensis. It does appear that your car is now the earliest UK-built example we know of. After publishing the results of our initial search (the post you commented on), we subsequently found Avensis models from July 1993 and a further three from May 1993, one of which we purchased to add to our growing heritage fleet (link below).

    2. I have a 1997 on a P, 60k on the clock. Saloon in blue metallic. 7AFE engine. Near perfect. Time to sell now.

  7. My wife currently drives a 1992 Carina 2.0 ltre GXL automatic which she has had for over 24 years.
    Current mileage 82449 from new. Top of the range, elec sun roof, windows, mirrors, has never let her down in all that time. When bought we were informed it was one of the last models from Japan before starting manufacturing in UK at Derby. Have tried to obtain a value but to no avail, can anybody give me an idea of price we should ask for this white model in super condition.

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