This week I drove a car that is just two years younger than myself!
Well its name is anyway. As I wait for the heavy frost to clear from the windscreen the radio picks up a station where the Eagles are strumming out one of their old classics, “New Kid in Town”.
“There’s talk on the street; it sounds so familiar.
Great expectations, everybody’s watching you.
People you meet, they all seem to know you.
Even your old friends treat you like you’re something new.
Johnny come lately, the new kid in town.
Everybody loves you, so don’t let them down.
Born in ’66 but not available to buy in Donegal to the early 70s, the first man to bring them here didn’t buy one but bought a half-a-dozen of them! He started out in life in the fruit and vegetable business. This young entrepreneur decided to move his business from selling cabbages to selling cars.
In the Diamond in Donegal Town one night he spotted a lorry load of new cars parked up. When he tracked down the truck driver he was to find out that the cars were on the way back to Dublin because of a complication between the supplier and the buyer. Before the lorry left the Diamond the following morning had gathered up enough money to buy the shipment of cars.
It was a massive risk for him and for them who supported him. No one had seen the likes of these cars before. He didn’t know that day if he had bought a pun of peaches or a lorry load of lemons. I am very happy to retell this story that the late Joe Kelly told me one evening in Mountcharles over a bottle of Smithwicks.
He was the “new kid in town” the night he took his chance and bought a load of cars off the back of a lorry. They were Toyota Corollas and it was to become the start of one of the most successful dealerships in both his native Frosses and Letterkenny.
Back to the future
It’s now January 2018 and you still can buy a Toyota Corolla in Kelly’s but sadly not from Big Joe anymore, but happily from the next generation his sons Brendan in Letterkenny or Martin in Frosses and their sales team are there to help. Today 52 years after the first Corolla was built you can still buy one new.
The retro looking interior is so refreshing to me especially before you turn the key. It reminds me why I went for my first of three corollas thirty odd years ago when I did massive miles in Co. Donegal covering news for the Donegal Democrat.
The cars never gave me a days bother. I had three of them, a back wheel drive, and two front wheel drives in petrol and diesel. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as lucky as Big Joe was in getting the cash in my days! I came in from Kellys after chatting to Joe Kelly buzzing after I took a run in a Corolla GT in metallic silver registration 2145 ZP.
My assistant bank manager soon let the air out of my tyres when he informed me that I was behind in my payments and he thought I’d be better to let this car go!
On my way out of the bank I met the manager coming in. “How are you Brian?” “How would you be sir?” They just turned me down for a loan!” was my short sharp reply.
The manager turned me on the doorway and got my file to see what the story was.
He had a look, gave out to me as well about missing payments but decided to overturn the decision. Not alone did I get a loan but he signed me up for a credit card and sold me a life insurance policy!
I am feeling very at home in this, the latest generation Corolla, it does everything effortlessly, it’s a diesel but it’s very hard to tell as it’s so quiet.
The car has all the technology and safety features and is ever so polite to let you know when you’re exceeding the speed limit for the road that you’re on. The Corolla is timeless and familiar, not unlike the Eagles track, it may not be the new kid in town anymore, but it has stood the test of time.
The Toyota Corolla no fuss reliability has quietly done the talking for the last 50 years. And in that time over 40 million motorists have listened to them and bought a Corolla. That’s more sales than the Ford Model T and VW Beetle Sales combined which were both number ones world sellers in their day.
Toyota have kept the Corolla in production because people do not like change. The Toyota Carina was also a great family favourite for Toyota in Donegal too, but family demands look for different things now as does the future of the planet.
It is planned for 2019 to have the Corolla in a hybrid version like all the rest of the range of family cars, but for now it’s that familiar face that has kept motorist happy for over a half a century.
Happy Motoring Folks.Tags: