Mark Adams and his Boxie. Pictures: Joe Klein
Cape Town - Now here’s a vehicle that you might have seen in these pages in years gone by, but it has gone through a couple of makeovers.

So, in essence, you’re seeing a new take on an old car. We wouldn't be exaggerating to say that the Toyota Corolla, legendary for just keeping on going, and going, is a mainstay of the South African transport system.

We spoke to Mark Adams from Schaapkraal about his Boxie, as these Corollas are known. By the sound of it, this guy started on Toyota and is now a full blown acolyte.

“I became a petrolhead when I got my first car, a Toyota Twincam," he said. "My buddies inspired me to dress it up and to do some small modifications, and that’s where it all started.”

“Nowadays I drive a 1984 rear-wheel drive Toyota Corolla Sprinter. I’ve often looked at the old Japanese Toyotas on the internet and that motivated me to make the car the way I want it, which was definitely not overdressed like a Christmas tree. But still, I wanted to make it stand out from the rest of the Corollas.”

First stop was Autopunks for a spray job and makeover. Keeping in the original theme, he chose the original safari tan, but added some luxuries, including a Webasto sunroof, BBS concave wheels and a slight drop in front with a chin lip.

Then: “Inside, I had a set of seats recovered in vinyl leather, had a Pioneer head unit fitted, added some Pioneer 6 by 9s, a Targa Shogun amp and a 12 inch Targa subwoofer.”

The 1800 GLS engine then got some attention, with 40mm Dell'Orto side drafts, and a ported and gas-flowed cylinder head - and just for looks all the aluminium parts were highly polished.

"I always wanted a Boxie," Adams said, "because I think it’s one of the best cars built in the 80s. It’s very reliable, parts are easily available and it's easy to work on.”

To examine his assertion that the Corolla was “one of the best of the 80s”, a quick search around the used car websites revealed a veritable fleet of vehicles still running and looking for second (more like fifth) owners.

The Boxie is the fourth generation of this nameplate, starting in 1966 with the KE-10 series, powered by a 1.1-litre four. The Corolla remained a sedan up until the change to hatchback in the mid-80s.

Never intended to be overly smart, they have earned a reputation for reliability and practical hardiness that has stood the test of time.

Back to Adams and his Boxie. It seems this guy is not stopping at his present configuration though. He said: “Since I’ve had her it’s like an endless inspiration to make her better and better, so keep watching this space.”

Although Adams doesn’t belong to a car club, citing a certain allergy to politics, he sees the Cape car scene as very strong, noting that people come from all over to park offs, making friends and sharing ideas in the process.

Bobby wanted to know a little about his fantasy, which, unsurprisingly, is “a Toyota Supra on day”.