The more that time passes, the more fascinated I am with the oddball cars that don’t seem to fit in anywhere.
I’m taking about the cars that you know have a strange, nearly one-off backstory and a similar quirky sort of appeal to them. The cars that aren’t really that expensive, fast, or even desirable. They’re the cars that I would never buy myself, and yet, they are cars that I can’t seem to stop staring at and coming back to. Is there a word for this mysterious category of automobiles?
If there is, it’s exactly the word I would use to describe Eddie’s limited-edition Toyota Corolla convertible by Griffith.
At some point during the mid-to-late-1970s, someone thought that what the Corolla needed was to be more fancy and, frankly, they weren’t wrong. But how to go about it? Well, in the age before everything and its mother was equipped with air conditioning, the slickest way to cool off (and show off) was to drop the top. These cabriolet versions generally topped manufacturer line-ups when it came to price, too, so what better way to make a statement than to chop the top off of a Japanese econobox.
Amazingly, it wasn’t just one guy who came to this conclusion, either. There were actually a couple of companies doing this to Corollas — and Celicas, too, I think — during the late ’70s through the early ’80s, but until the OSIxHI meet on Oahu, I had never before come face-to-face with one in the wild.
Apparently, just 200 of these Griffith-made conversions are known to have been built, and I have to say this one couldn’t be paired with a more proper owner in a more proper location.
Eddie told me that the convertible has always been a Hawaii car, and he couldn’t help but let out a laugh when he showed off the powered top by raising it and stowing it again. He also shared that this black hood was stolen off of his daughter’s car, and he’s taking it around to shows having all of his friends sign it. Once it’s done he’s going to hang it on his wall, and I was honored to place my John Hancock underneath the Mooneyes bosses who were out on the islands earlier this year for a show.
I’m not sure what Eddie’s daughter will use for a hood in the long run, but I bet she’ll figure something out.
Even after warming up to Eddie’s wild ride, I just couldn’t help but have a stupid grin on my face every time I looked at the car. And, seriously, what better place to own a convertible Corolla than the island of Oahu.
To top it all off, a proper boombox resides in the back seat. It just doesn’t get more ’80s than this, so, in other words, it doesn’t get better. Well, maybe one or two better cars have been made before, but I dare you to look me straight in the face and tell me you don’t like this funkiest of funky, raddest of rad Corolla.
Actually, don’t do that. My heart couldn’t take it, and you’d be lying anyway.
Trevor Yale Ryan