Search is on for the oldest British-built Toyota
Competition launched to find the earliest surviving Carina E
In December 1992, history was made when the first Toyota Carina E rolled off the line at Toyota’s newly opened factory at Burnaston, in Derbyshire. Twenty years on, it’s time to celebrate and Toyota is hoping to mark the occasion by tracing the oldest surviving example still in daily use.
Thanks to Toyota’s commitment to quality and reliability, a huge number of the cars are still on the road today. DVLA records show some 17,000 Carina models, built between 1992 and 1997 are still in regular use.
To mark that achievement, Toyota has launched a competition, offering owners and drivers of the UK’s oldest British-built Toyotas a chance to get behind the wheel of the newest – the all-new Auris to be launched in December.
It is seeking the help of enthusiasts across the land to track down those early cars and their owners, using the power of social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Anyone spotting a K-plate Carina E is asked to let the owner know about the search, perhaps simply by putting a note on the car’s windscreen, and that Toyota would like to get in touch.
If you own such a car, you can easily confirm whether it was British-built, or one of a number that were imported from Japan. The 17-character code on the vehicle’s identification plate will start with an S for Burnaston vehicles, and a J for imported cars. The plate can be found under the bonnet, just below the windscreen wipers.
To let Toyota know about the car, name, address and contact details should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Owners of the oldest examples found will be invited to tell their car’s story and have it photographed, and will have the chance to win use of a new Auris for a week (terms and conditions apply).
Toyota owners and spotters are also invited to post pictures of early Carina E on Facebook (‘Like’ at www. facebook.com/toyotauk) or by posting on Twitter with the hashtag #firstGBtoyota. The vehicle owner’s permission must be obtained before posting.
There’s a serious message behind the mission to find the oldest Carina E. Achieving the highest standards of build and quality are central to Toyota, and there was to be no compromise when the decision was made to begin its European manufacturing operations in the UK. The building of a new assembly plant here was only sanctioned once it could be sure that British parts suppliers and assembly line workers were capable of working within the same margins as their Japanese counterparts.
By 1993, Carina E was in full-scale production at Burnaston, beginning a long-line of saloon and hatchback production that continues today with Avensis and new Auris and Auris Hybrid. Its output makes a significant contribution to the current prosperity of the country’s automotive industry: last year Burnaston produced more than 128,000 vehicles, 80 per cent of which were sent for export to Europe and other world markets.