The Original Corolla Perfected

Whether it’s a twin cam TE27, a boxy 70-chassis model from the early ’80s, or the legendary AE86 – we love old Toyota Corollas. But despite the popularity of classic Corollas among enthusiasts, you don’t see too many people using the first generation model as a project car base.

That’s why William Estrada’s blue ’69 two-door was one of my favorite cars at Wekfest San Jose this year.


In terms of the exterior, William’s Corolla is largely original, and being a rarely seen late ’60s Toyota that’s probably the right way to go.


There are a few subtle changes for a slightly more aggressive look, like the chin spoiler up front and pair of foglamps mounted on the bumper.


There are any number of engine choices when building a classic Corolla like this one. Vintage or modern? Naturally aspirated or turbo? Carbureted or fuel injected? As you can see, William has gone with a Toyota 4A-GE setup.


More specifically, it’s the 20-valve variant of the 4A-GE, and the ITB-fed twin cam looks perfectly at home in the Corolla’s ultra clean engine bay. I’d bet it sounds pretty great wailing away near redline too.


As is the case with many early Corolla performance builds, the suspension components have been swapped out for AE86 parts, and they include a set of adjustable coilovers up front. The 13×8-inch SSR MKII wheels fit perfectly with the stock bodywork.


Finally there’s the interior, which is extremely original, save for a few aftermarket parts like a steering column-mounted tach and a wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel. Even the factory head unit is still intact.


Stylish, simple and likely a blast to drive. William’s machine is more than just a cool piece of late ’60s Toyota history, it’s a perfect take on the Corolla that started it all.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia



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Love his 510 too!


Really unbelievable, is not as easy as you can see, the posts difficulty and challenge waiting for you and that's the main difficulties that make us interesting.


Just my sort of thing


This is a perfect example of "more is less." The car looks so good with just a simple drop, wheel and tire package. And the engine fits like it was stock. Great build.




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How cool is that !

Pete the perfect pilot

I used to have one of these maaaany years ago. Good car for what it was, although had a habit of using head gadgets rather too frequently. For me, I'd have ut rotarised, then it'd tick all the boxes.

turbo BEAMS ae86

20v blacktop = sexy and villanous


370 Hemi Do you mean "less is more" perhaps?


what a killer little rolla, but the front fender repeaters are mounted upside down. Only fault I can pick.


B to the Ruce They arent upsidedown. If you rotate them 180* they will still be angled the same. They ARE mounted on the opposite sides of the car as they are intended to be. They Pass Indicator is installed on the driver side, and vice versa. 

Good eye on catching that though. I knew something was odd, I just couldn't tell what?


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Are those drum brakes on the front?


@MyLifeAsLouis That's what I thought too. Makes the 20 valve kind of pointless.


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Great looking Corolla.....I own the 2 door wagon variant of the KE10....the KE18. And I love it!! :)