Me And My Car

Family's old faithful

Mr Jimmy Lim and his son Keith Michael with their Toyota Corolla.
Mr Jimmy Lim and his son Keith Michael with their Toyota Corolla.PHOTO: KWOK JIA-XIN
Mr Jimmy Lim and his son Keith Michael with their Toyota Corolla.
Mr Jimmy Lim and his son Keith Michael with their Toyota Corolla.PHOTO: KEITH MICHAEL LIM

The Lims' 41-year-old Toyota Corolla is serving three generations

Radiographer assistant Jimmy Lim bought a third-generation Toyota Corolla in 1994, when it was 18 years old.

The car is now 41 years old and still running like clockwork.

"What stole my heart was its classic look and it was still in good condition despite its age," Mr Lim, 58, recalls, adding that it is one of only two Corollas of its vintage that are still on the road here.

Mr Lim says his children - Keith Michael, 30, Sarah, 29, and Gregory, 23 - grew up with the Corolla. And now, his two grandchildren are doing likewise.

Keith Michael has a seven- month-old girl and Sarah has a four-month-old boy.

I have fond memories of falling asleep in the back seat on the way home after a long day out with the family.

MR KEITH MICHAEL LIM, 30, on the family's Toyota Corolla

Mr Lim and his children share the use of the car, but he says there is no need for any car-sharing roster.

"Whoever needs to use the car has to give one day's notice," he says, adding that the first-come, first-served arrangement has worked well, even for Sarah. She has moved out and calls ahead if she needs the vehicle.

Whoever does not have the car relies on public transport. Mr Lim has the additional option of riding his Kymco scooter.

Despite the car being shared by so many people, it chalks up only about 250km a week - about 25 per cent less than the current national average.

No one knows for sure how many kilometres the Toyota has clocked so far (the meters were replaced several years ago), but it is estimated to have travelled more than 500,000km.

Mr Lim says it still runs well and has not had any major repairs done except for a respray (from blue to black) and re-upholstering of the seats.

But when parts have to be replaced, his mechanic sources them from Johor Baru as many are no longer available in Singapore.

Keith Michael says he knew from a young age that his dad's car was different.

"There was an aura surrounding it," he says.

"I have fond memories of falling asleep in the back seat on the way home after a long day out with the family.

"I will always remember the car rides that my dad took my cousins, my siblings and me on, and the fun we had playing in the back seat."

The Corolla's certificate of entitlement (COE) expires in 2019, when it turns 43.

Echoing the sentiment of his family, Mr Lim says: "We will drive the car until it is no longer able to move or until the COE premium becomes too expensive for us to afford its renewal."

•The writer contributes to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

What's in the boot?

•Baby stroller

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2017, with the headline 'Family's old faithful'. Print Edition | Subscribe