An unfortunate shape, - who thought this would be a good idea? - this 1984 Toyota Corolla Avante, [n] Uh-Von-Tay was the coupé of Corollas back in the 80s. And it’s now clocking in at almost 250 000 kilometres.
This car was designed to be sexy. You laugh; scoff – but somebody up at Toyota HQ thought so.
But do tell me what’s worse – the Corolla with the boot, or the Corolla with the business end?
It’s a tough call.
The ‘Avante’ was named as such, as it was quite clearly and appallingly avante-garde for its time.
For this vehicle has an ass the size of Kim Kardashian’s backside.
'Avante' means 'before.' A better name for this model, arguably, would be 'Aprés' or 'after.' As the derriere of the car certainly leaves a formidable after effect; always guaranteed a strong reaction.
The 80s was an era whereby it was beautiful to be ugly. And this very model was no exception. It was a daringly boundary-pushing quest to create a Toyota with more personality than Missy Elliot’s fanny pack, as I’m sure you would agree.
While most of my mates as students had Conquests and Corsa Lites (and the lucky few, Road Impalas); I got given to me, this piece of vehicular art.
Hell I was chuffed. It was my late grandmothers. A car with more behind than chutzpah. An automatic, so one could drive it after thirty 2-for-one shooters at Conti’s in Claremont, with no logistical footwork or gear-changing needed whatsoever.
Anything that tried to bump or crash into me, sublimed on impact. Turned from a solid to a gas quite instantaneously.
For the Avontay [the pronunciation is very important – it's not avante. It's Uh-Von-Tay...or die] is no ordinary car. Although it surges forward with achingly slow momentum, there is some considerable torque to its 1 600 engine.
It can quite easily crash through a brick wall unblinkingly, resurfacing almost completely unharmed, leaving flattened brick flotsam in its wake.
It's been tried.
For as its backside is large and spacious, its front side knows no boundaries. It’s a formidable machine that just keeps on going and going and going, like Toyota promises, and to everyone’s detriment, mind you.
My old Avontay, in other words, after all this vehicular rhetoric, is actually a fucking Superhero.
It’s been clamped on Upper Campus, its had 9 drunk people stuffed into it before, the ceiling is peeling off, and it got broken into countless times when we lived in digs in Mowbray, so it has seen around 6 radios in its lifetime.
It’s also been hotboxed at Rhodes Memorial, and I believe it’s missing a radiator.
I remember dropping The Dove off before one of our lectures, right next to Jammie Stairs, Cliff Richard blaring, doors open. If you're going to drive this baby, best you put on a Party Face. The girl just about died of embarrassment, refusing to unhide herself from under the dashboard.
She said it wasn’t the Cliff Richard at loud volume; it was my Avontay.
There’s no point selling The Avontay to a new owner. For 1), nobody would buy it. For 2), I might just be one of fifty people who still owns this car. It’s an heirloom. As Limp Bizkit says, it just keeps on rolling, baby. And Superheroes never die. It’s immortal and laughs in the face of age.
It's also useful for when I'm carless in Cape Town, of course.
I’m just pleased I don’t know many people in Cape Town anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t
And my dog can sit in it and mess up the seats. I don't give a shit.
And sure, it’s not exactly aesthetically-pleasing, and it smells like res on a Saturday night. But hell, I love the old Avontay. This car has history, ok.
The lights only work on bright; it chows petrol and surges forward not unlike an army tank.
It’s heavy and the steering is so stiff, no amounts of pilates would ever beat this as an arm work-out. You do cardio just turning a corner. And when one has to do a twenty point turn just to get out of the parking lot, you feel as though you’ve steered a triathlon.
In fact, over the weekend, I had to reverse in the middle of a busy road to take a left turn in order to avoid taking out a postbox on the kerb. It was nice getting home to Ludwig – where I was overcompensating on the power steering.
You have the best ass evah, UhVonTay.
Keep on rolling baby, you know what time it is.