Thursday, October 16, 2014

9k: Unleavened Value: 1998 Toyota Levin

The U.S. has enjoyed a handful of Corolla Levins, but this AE111 generation isn't one of them. It's listed here as a FR-S/BRZ predecessor, which is logical if you count the 2002 Chevy Malibu as the heir to the 1965 Malibu SS. In other words, it's not. This Levin comes with a six-speed manual similar to the one in Celica GTSs, and a 20-valve, 160-horsepower "Blacktop" version of the 4AGE - the most potent of them all. Find this 1998 Toyota Levin BZR for sale in Philadelphia, PA for $9,000 via craigslist.

This AE111 looks like the forbidden fruit Nissan S15 Silvia from the back and a Camry with a body kit from the front. It's a tidy, conservative shape if you don't count the basket-handle rear spoiler, Bomex bumpers and sills, and three-inch fart cannon muffler - offset in typical JDM fashion. That, plus the mushroom-style air filter under the hood, seem to be the only modifications.

Slight bumper damage is visual testament to its 109,000 miles, which makes this import a curious funding proposal: enjoy a good life as daily driver, ship overseas for a great profit. Is anyone in the Land of the Rising Sun interested in a teal 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier coupe? It has 147,000 miles, a slight onion ring odor, and an ultra-USDM Garfield window cling. Of course, shipping and exportation logistics aren't cheap, so I'm letting it go for only $12,000 (1.2 million yen).

You could spend $9k on this and have the most fun in a front-drive 4AGE you'll ever have (sorry, Corolla FX16). Or you could invest it in penny stocks (or through that friendly Nigerian prince who's always emailing you), wait a year or two for it to earn interest, and buy a $15k FR-S/BRZ with half of this 'Rolla's 100k miles. You'll have a car that's faster, better handling, and more capable of supporting your fourth-meal drive-through habits. Because there's just no graceful way to exchange currency for an XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito in this thing. Your personal trainer will be thrilled.

See a better JDM-only coupe? Email us at

PhiLOL actually likes the tuna here, but abhors structural rust. Save the manuals.

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