Home » Cold Start: Man, That’s Subtle

Cold Start: Man, That’s Subtle


I really have to applaud 1973 Toyota here for truly respecting their customer base and their incredible ability to discern detail and subtlety. I mean, look at the difference between the Corolla 1200 “Limousine” and “Coupe.” They are different, at least from the B-pillar back, I think, and you have to respect a buyer that understands that sometimes all you have to do to be more sporty and rakish is a couple degrees of angle in how the roofline of your car slopes.

Like, maybe 3° at most.

Of those two, do you know which one is which without looking above?

The Coupe is the orange one here. Here it is in white, so you can compare it to the white Limousine:

Yes, much sportier! So sporty you’ll want to get behind it and point, point like the wind!

I wonder at what point in the development they decided which one to call which? I bet that rear side window design was the clencher.


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28 Responses

  1. In the first photo, is that a picture of an iphone in perspective on the C pillar? is this the automotive equivalent of people finding iphones in old paintings?

  2. I totally see Ford Capri in the coupe’s rear end, and that was a pretty good avatar of sporty but in a reasonable way at that time…

    And the pics totally bring me back to the days of wing mirrors being optional extras.

  3. The bodystyle profusion was truly nuts back then. Opel was worst: the Kadett B came as a 2/4-door notchback sedan, 2/4-door fastback sedan, 2/4-door station wagon, and two different coupé styles. Eight barely distinguishable bodystyles where three or four would have done just fine.

    1. In Germany, “Limousine” is the equivalent of sedan/saloon. The VW Beetle is also a Limousine in its home market; I’d post a picture, but…

  4. It was important to move the lock from the trunk lid to the rear panel?
    I guess the limousine driver doesn’t want to have to bend to unlock the trunk…

  5. That was so common with the Japanese cars of the period, to have all these slightly different versions. Probably easier because of how dead simple these cars were. It was easy for them to experiment while still basically offering the same thing. On the other hand this also reminds me of the VW Atlas and whatever it is, the VW Atlas Slightly Less Cargo Area.

    1. I should know this for sure as I had some hands on experience a long time ago, but IIRC the coupe windshield and door windows were shorter and would not interchange.
      The coolest one had to be the SR5 with the bolt on fender flares and 185/70-13 tires.

  6. I can’t be the only one who noticed that the angle of the man’s pointing arm is the same angle as the rear window. It must signify something. But what?

  7. Jeez, there was more of a difference between 80’s GM A-Bodies than between those 2 Corollas. Until this moment, I didn’t even know there were variants. I just thought they were all 2 doors and a wagon

  8. The coupe is nicknamed “Mango” and the sedan “Peanut”, apparently having something to do with how the rear fenders taper to meet the roofline.

    @ffoc01: There were four-door sedans too, with the same roofline as the 2-door sedan (“Limousine”) seen here. Also a JDM four-door wagon; there was a 2/4-door wagon concurrency beginning with this generation and running through the next two, but not on the American market, this generation (20-series) wagon was only sold here as a two-door, all subsequent Corolla wagons only as a 4-door.

  9. Wow, I’ve lived since some time in the last century, and I’ve never noticed that there were two variants of this kind of regular two door Toyota!

    Also some day take a look at the two almost identical european Ford Consul/Granada coupes from the seventies.

  10. I think the differences are quite easy to spot, seems like it’s a completely different car from the firewall back (and a quick googling confirms that) except for the bumper and door panel up to the window line, and maybe taillights? (seems they have different grilles too?
    I do question the economics behind offering two (kinda) completely different 2 door models, and I wonder who bought the 2 door sedan over the 4 door, while still not springing for the coupe. (they want the looks of a coupe, but need the space of a sedan maybe?) Or maybe the 4 door was more expensive?
    It’s still not quite up to modern BMW standards of offering an abundance of bodystyles though.
    They offer more than 20 different base bodies in Europe now, not counting Mini and Rolls Royce. (and that’s after discontinuing the 3 series GT, which was a completely different liftback coupe from the 4 series GC on the same platform)

    1. *edit: I guess the 3 series GT and 4 series GC were ‘liftback-sedans’ for Americans, we used to call them combi-coupes over here, and it’s objectively the best body style.

  11. The coupe has a slight lift on the bottom of the rear window, while the limousine’s is flatter.

    For the coupe, it makes me think of flight, like a bird lifting tailfeathers. The limousine looks more stable. In my case, that slight difference definitely succeeded in the feels department.

  12. I’d bet though if you sat in both the ‘Limo’ version probably had noticeably more headroom in the back.. still cramped, but better than the coupe. Either way, these are neat and I’d love to own one!

    1. This is the rationale I used to guess which was which. The limo has more room in the back, even if it’s a subtle difference at a glance, it’s probably a big difference if you’re actually sitting back there.

    2. I owned a 1974 Toyota Corolla Deluxe. It was a 3 speed automatic, large rear window, and had the coldest air conditioning I’ve ever owned in a car.
      I think the “Limousine” was called that because it allowed the rear seat passengers a better view with the larger windows.

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