Farewell to a faithful motoring friend

Gabrielle Miller with her faithful 1993 Toyota Corona.

It was the Motoring Writers’ Guild Car of the Year in 1993, and was tuned for New Zealand roads by motor racing legend Chris Amon.

But for Tauranga’s Gabrielle Miller, 70, her Toyota Corona was just a faithful car that served her well for 25 years.

It was traded in recently for a 2018 Citroen C3 in oh-so-stylish ‘Shark’ grey and red, and while Gabrielle is enjoying her new ride, she still misses the Corona.

“When I traded it in, the feeling I had in my tummy was like that sensation you have when you’re taking a pet to the vet for the last time,” says Gabrielle.

“I just loved my Toyota. It was part of me - an extension of me. I bought it new and it’s been around the clock three times, but the people who serviced it told me it would go on and on.”

But Gabrielle, a part-time nurse, says her husband Ron worried about her taking the older model car on long drives to Auckland.

“A 1993 car does not have airbags, of course,” she says. “I was under a little bit of pressure to buy a new one.”

The beloved Toyota – with no pet name – is only Gabrielle’s fourth car. She was a late convert to driving, and only gained her driver’s licence when she was 30.

“There were a few of us who were late starters,” she says. “Two-car families were certainly not the norm in those days.”

Gabrielle highly recommends taking your car for a regular service, saying: “I kept a record of all of the Toyota’s services. I think the chap who traded it in thought I was a bit OCD!”