READERS’ WRITES Rising suns
Irather enjoyed the August and September issues of NZ Classic Car. When in Papua New Guinea in 1968 I brought back into New Zealand a 1968 Toyota Corolla Sprinter KE15. Worldwide this model is really rare. I would love to have it now to add to what is in the shed.
I returned to New Zealand in 1969 with the Corolla, met my wife, and the day after getting married we returned to New Guinea, the Corolla having been sold. This was January 1971. I worked for Kala Motors, the Toyota Agency.
Toyota Japan was releasing a new-model vehicle, the Celica. On a brochure, I ordered one to add to the Corolla SR that I had just bought. A fellow Australian mechanic did the same, and the two cars were delivered in March. These were the first two in the southern hemisphere.
After travelling around the world, I returned to New Zealand in December 1973. My Celica now has 190,000 miles [305,775km] on the clock, and is used as a family car every day. Having lived in dry climates, there is no rust. The original tool kit, handbooks, and inspection light in the glove box are still there.
Last weekend, it did 550 miles [885km] on the Southern Crawl (see my photo of the car by Lake Dunstan), so it is still out and about.
Parked beside it in the shed is my 1969 KE10 Corolla, a New Zealand–new vehicle assembled in Thames. It now has 83,000 miles [133,576km] on the clock.
I’d love to hear from other owners, if they have vehicles of this period.
Also, I must make comment again on the Bimotore. Yes, I had my hands on that car when a friend, Murray Ditford, had it in Kurow.
I enjoy the magazine, especially on the early Japanese vehicles.
Trevor Appleby, via email
If any early Japanese car enthusiasts would like to get in touch with Trevor, drop me a line, and I’ll forward any details on. AGW