Collecting the Rejects

Ask a collector of pretty much anything—from Hot Wheels to coins– about mistakes.  Perhaps the Celica in the blue box has a backward clear-plastic greenhouse that puts what would have been the windshield switched to the back, or a find a penny that has  “double dies” superimposed because the coin was stamped twice.  You’ll find that the mistakes are often worth more, as it’s a rare occasion.  That penny?  It’s worth at least $1,000.

In 2009, Toyota gave us a tenth generation Corolla.  However, many people had seen it as too small a step forward over what it’d replaced (the 2003-2008 models).  It looked as though they’d just added some bulge and stretched the lights, added some reflectors, and changed the wheels.  Of course there was more to it than that: the roof-line changed slightly, and the 1ZZ-FE 1.8L engine was replaced with the 2ZR-FE 1.8L (making marginally more horsepower).  Inside added a little more vibrancy, with a few more metallic-look surfaces, the HVAC knobs modernized with embedded buttons within them,  and the automatic shifted was now notched for a more luxurious feel… at least, compared to just straight forward and back would have suggested.

2003 Corolla S front

2009 Corolla S front

2003 Corolla S rear

2009 Corolla S rear

That exterior was still needing a change, though, and Toyota scrambled to fix in 2011.  Essentially what they’d done was take the 2004 Mazda6-looking rear design, and put the Toyota schnoz on the front.  They than added chrome rings around the gauge bezel and gave it a cheaper looking manual shift knob for those equipped.

2011 Corolla S front

2011 Corolla S rear


2003(top), 2009 (bottom left), 2011 Corolla S (bottom right) manual interiors

That gave the 2009-2010 Corolla a somewhat short-lived design cycle, and a tale to tell our car-loving kids (if we’re so blessed) about the Toyota flub of 2009.  A new Corolla designed with some traces of the Furia concept is due for 2014.

While Toyota’s mistake is something to be expected—just another chalk-up to making money through badges rather than real effort (“it’s a Corolla, so it’s gotta be good”), Honda followed suit in 2012.

One would think Honda would have not played it safe with design like Toyota had.  After all, Honda had come out with the 2006 Civic which was a very odd (and successful) step from the compact-car norm.  Aside from the tail-lights, however, many had a hard time telling the old Civic from the new, making for a one-year change, taking cues of the also-new Honda Accord (which was a good move).  The interior hadn’t changed a whole lot from 2006 to 2012, either, and not much was done for 2013.

2011 Civic

2012 (left) 2013 (right)


2011 Civic rear

2012 Civic (left) 2013 Civic (right)

2006 Civic EX-L (left), 2013 Civic EX-L (right).

That’s not to say that the two cars I’m about to list are going to be worth more, but they will definitely be looked upon as a relative rarity in the landscape of their other iterations of “just a car.”  It’d be interesting, though, if these models were viewed as collectable someday.  Penny for your thoughts?

Image sources:
-Double-die penny:

-2003 Corolla S front:

-2009 Corolla S front:

-2003 Corolla S rear:

-2009 Corolla S rear:

-2011 Corolla S front (which shows the market they’re aimed to– graduates and older folks):

-2011 Corolla rear:

2003 Corolla S interior:

2009 Corolla S interior:

2012 Corolla S interior:

2011 Civic front:

2012/13 Civic fronts:

2012/13 Civic rears:

2006 Civic EX-L interior:

2013 Civic EX-L interior:


5 thoughts on “Collecting the Rejects

  1. I don’t think so personally. Those cars were refreshed so quickly for a reason. They were awful. Double stamped pennies are not awful, just neat.

  2. I get it, they’re unique and relatively rare . There was only one year of that awful 2012 Civic, but I’m not sure they could ever be collectable or looked upon with anything but disdain. After all, they are the embodiment of everything that was wrong with Honda. But will they be looked upon as different? Sure, i guess.

    • There are plenty of vehicles that were one time viewed as a flop that are now seen as collectable. The Edsel was plain-Jane and ugly back when they came out, but they are seen as collectable now. I wonder what a very clean first-year Civic or Accord may run these days. Maybe not as much as a Hemi ‘Cuda, but they would maybe fetch $5,000 which isn’t “cheap” when considering how small and slow they are in comparison.

      Looking at a Tesla now, one could assume they’ll be a future equivalent of Bricklin (albeit electric), and Fisker Latigo (essentially the BMW 6-Series) as a 1986 Tiffany Coupe (a Cougar turned SSK Replica/Kit Car). What we see now will someday be that quietly obscure odd-ball.

  3. Pingback: Small and simple: 2014 Corolla to the Ford ST’s. | Manually Shifted Soul

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