We like to oscillate with The Bid is Right contests. One week we’ll invite guesses on where the final bids will land for Mario Andretti’s former Lamborghini Diablo or a late-model Ford GT; in other words, big presence cars that are purpose-built to attract big money. On the other end of the auctioneer’s gavel, we’ll shine the spotlight on the sale of a more egalitarian ride like a 445-mile 1992 Nissan Sentra SE-R or well-preserved Corolla GT-S—or this 10,000-mile 1998 Toyota Corolla currently up for grabs on Bring a Trailer.
Yeah, we’re not sure why someone preserved a stripper-trim commuter king for later BaT stardom, but it sure is entertaining to see an eighth-gen Corolla present a lower odo score than most Ferraris of the same age. Based on its Oregonian origin, our guess is this served as a runabout in some vacation house or cabin, only used sparingly in fair-weather months when the owners were in town.
Careful with this one. Guessers who view this as “just some used Corolla” run the risk of dramatically low-balling the realized price, while those following the ever-erupting JDM market might have one too many stars in their eyes. Unlike the Sentra and the 1987 Corolla GT-S featured in earlier contests, this Corolla VE has positively zero sporting aspirations; the fact it packs a five-speed manual and a cockpit spartan enough to shame a GT3 RS is a symptom of thrift, not thrust.
Whoever wins this auction certainly won’t be getting their money’s worth, as this is very much a car that’s more than the sum of its parts—or lack thereof. An original MSRP of around $13,000 bought you a wee sedan with no air-conditioning, no ABS, no cruise control, wind-up windows, and no tachometer. That $13,000 is equivalent to $23,671 in 2022 bucks, or just about a grand over the MSRP of the basest of base 2023 Corollas—a car that can’t be ordered without power windows, cruise control, air conditioning, infotainment, ABS, active safety systems, and four USB-C ports. How far we’ve come!
Of course, this ascetic driving experience is likely the 1998 Corolla’s primary selling point these days, albeit without the tactile purity associated with similarly decontented sports cars and hot hatches. We expect the buyer or high bidder on this time-capsule Toyota seeks nostalgia, not nuance.
So, what do you think? Big bucks, or small cents for a mothballed appliance? Put a monetary figure to it, and throw it in the comments below. If you’re closest to the pin—without going over—you’ll drive home with $500. Read the official rules below, and as always:
- The commenter who guesses closest to the hammer price without going over wins. (Hammer price excludes auction house fees).
- One guess per commenter.
- If two people guess the same amount (within a dollar) the earlier guess wins.
- Commenters must provide first and last name in addition to email address.
- We will close the guessing on Nov 15 2022 at 2:27 pm est.
- Your privacy is important to us, and we’ll never sell your information. By providing your email you will receive the weekly Insider newsletter, and you can opt out at any time.
- You can read the full rules here.