ORANGE MANGO TIME CAPSULE – A 1973 Toyota Corolla SR5

One of the many issues of a complicated life of a typical classic car aficionado is that not only do they accumulate cars, they also start piling up spare parts to the point that these in itself can now be reassembled together to create another car. Well, that might be a little hyperbolical, but you get the point.

If you’ve been involved with the old car hobby for a while, you know that because parts break all the time, you tend to go around every single ad site out there to look for good deals on the stuff that you need. But of course, there are also times you can be so proactive that you start purchasing things even when they are yet to break since you believe in the saying “when nothing is wrong with an old car, something is wrong”. On top of that, we all can agree that the problem with browsing your favorite classified ads is that it always led you to buy things that is not really a necessity and over time, they build up like crazy so, subconsciously you are hoping that you will need it later to justify those impulsive decisions you made from who knows when, whether you were sober or not.

Allow me to introduce you to Russ Capulong. I’ve known him a few years now because of his bright orange award winning Sprinter Trueno that you would often see in car shows as well as cars and coffee meet. No, we’re not going to feature that orange car today, we will however talk about his new addition to his collection, a 1973 Toyota Corolla SR5 – yes, it’s orange too. Russ loves old school Toyotas. He owns a very clean AE86, but more importantly, he currently has two TE27 Corollas in his possession – the orange restomod Trueno that I just mentioned, and a red Corolla that is bone stock. Yup, he loves Mangoes. But owning two TE27s did not stop Russ from acquiring a third one. Guessed why? Well, he accumulated so much parts and trims for an SR5 he now needed a car to put all those stuff on.

Finding a pristine TE27 Corolla these days can be very taxing. They become fewer every day, but the demand is so high you have to bite the bullet when a seller comes by and you want to acquire one. But even with its scarcity, Russ does not just want another TE27 as he already owns 2 of them. He wants an SR5, which was the top end model for USDM Corollas, and he specifically wanted a 1973, as it is the only TE27 with the distinct round turn signal lenses. So, when the exact car he wanted showed up at an online market place, he made it sure that the car is a true factory SR5 as verified by its Vehicle Identification Number. In spite of the fact that the seller is a little less than a thousand miles away from where Russ resides, he closed the deal, and the car was trailered down south.

Russ wanted the Corolla to be meticulously restored. The car was red when he initially got it, but decoding from its VIN, turned out that this Toyota came out of the factory as orange, a finding that thrilled Russ as he is a big fan of orange cars. Cost was no object in the restoration of this Corolla. The car was brought to P.J. Bonifacio Auto Body where it was scraped to bare metal and the correct factory base coat orange was applied. The stock 1.6L SOHC 2T engine was also restored in detail from its correct air cleaner blue color all the way to factory engine decals. No single item had been left out in the restoration of this TE27. To complete the package, Russ opted for those hard to find original 13” steelies wrapped in 175/70R13 rubbers. The result was this stunning jaw dropping awesome completely bone stock Corolla that looked like it just rolled off the show room in 1973. It is a time capsule.

The Corolla made its debut at the 15th Anniversary of the famed Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach California and was just completed the night prior to the show. There were still a few things that needed attention when Russ pulled in at the JCCS 2019, but that did not stop the car from impressing the judges. Russ came home that day winning Second Best Corolla Award.

So, what’s next for Russ Capulong and his cool old TE27? I guess he will just have to enjoy the fruits of his labor for the next few days. Maybe drive the car around town more often, staying away from those ad sites he loves. Otherwise, he might end up getting his 4th Mango, which is not at all a bad idea, piling up inside the basket of an avid car enthusiast

Happy Lumang Oto Motoring!!!

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