It took Toyota about four months after it launched a competition in Great Britain to find the earliest running example of the first model made at its UK manufacturing plant in Derbyshire, a deep purple-colored (or is that Toyota's version of BMW's Techno Violet?) 1993 Carina E Sedan owned by Mike Hoyland, who registered the car in July of the same year.
The Carina E was the first car to roll off the production line at Toyota's then newly opened Burnaston plant in Derbyshire on December 16, 1992, three years after the Japanese company set shop in the country. The Avensis' predecessor was launched in Europe in March of 1992, but during the first nine months, all Carina E's were imported from Japan.
Toyota said that according to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) records, some 17,000 Carina models, built between 1992 and 1997, are still in regular use in the UK, but this is the oldest survivor.
Hoyland told the Japanese company that be brought the Carina E for £13,175 to replace a used Honda Accord. Two decades later, the Carina E has clocked a little over 153,000 miles or about 246,000 kilometers.
"It has been absolutely reliable," said Hoyland. "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 parts that Hoyland changed over the years include, a starter motor, a shock absorber, and a couple of radiators. "But that’s all not bad for 20 years and 153,000 miles, eh," he said.
Hoyland is quick to point out, though, that the Carina E is not a "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."
Photo Credits: Toyota UK