A KE70 Corolla With The Heart Of A Hachiroku

Years ago I sold my AE86 with the intention of living a normal life without a project car. I planned to buy a normal family-friendly hatchback, and maybe, only maybe, get some wheels for it. But that idea didn’t last long; within about six months I had started scrolling through the classifieds looking for something new to play with.

I wasn’t searching for a Hachiroku again; I wanted something older, but on the other hand I already knew the AE86 community and had a few tricks to make the old Toyota a little more entertaining. That’s the reason why I chose a KE70 Corolla, and hatched a plan to put a 4A-G in it over time.

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After a few days of searching I came across a Toyota dealership in Poland that was selling all kinds of old Corollas as a way to promote the 50th anniversary model.

Unfortunately for me, the KE70 they had wasn’t in the best shape; years’ worth of winter use had affected the chassis in a pretty bad way. But having a rusty car is part of the Corolla life, or at least that’s what the internet says…

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After picking up the car and bringing back to Prague, here in the Czech Republic, I found an unfinished AE86 hillclimb race car project for sale. I was originally only looking for an engine and transmission to swap into the Corolla, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It’s also the reason why the car now has entire AE86 underpinnings, not just the standard 4A-G and T50 gearbox conversion combo.

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The swapping process took two and a half months instead of the planned two weeks, and was almost entirely done by my friend Vochy, who is a prime example of the old saying “Gold Czech hands.” The electronics in the donor car were completely messed up, so we decided to go the carburetor route to make things a bit easier. As it turned out it wasn’t easy, but today the car works perfectly and hasn’t missed a beat for the year or so it’s been driving like this.

The biggest challenge during the swap turned out to be a fairly small and seemingly irrelevant thing: the distributor. After some hacking and a bit of fabrication we made it run with one mixed from both 4K and 4A-G parts. The carbs are Weber DCOE40s on a Harada Shoukai intake, all brand new items, as unlike used parts off Japanese auctions they included all the necessary joints, lines and so on. Otherwise the engine is completely stock, only refreshed with new gaskets and pumps. The T50 box had to be mounted with a custom fabricated bracket. The internet says the 4A-G to KE70 swap is plug and play, but don’t believe everything you read online.

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The axles weren’t a huge issue; the only thing that required work was a rear sway bar mount and re-drilling one hole on the AE86 front top mounts. The front is a classic combo of weld-on coilovers with TRD yellow shocks and 6kg/mm springs, RCAs and Cusco top mounts. The rear features TRD blue shocks with 4kg/mm springs and traction brackets. Polyurethane bushings are used throughout.

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I kept the interior fairly normal; the only thing that had to go was the horribly unsupportive driver’s seat. In its place now sits a classic TOM CRAFT bucket seat, which I find to be a decent compromise between a classic racing seat and a modern bucket seat. I owned a 1970s Checkman seat before and it was horrible to drive in despite the period correct looks. Other additions include a TOM’S steering wheel, rev meter, fire extinguisher and a mandatory cupholder.

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The wheels are original Hayashi Techno Phantoms which I spent almost three months restoring, including getting original center caps directly from Hayashi Racing.

Likewise, most of the parts were bought directly from Japan, and there are no knock-off items anywhere on the car. I know some people have different thoughts about this, but it’s just the way I wanted to do it.

Vojtěch Zeman
Instagram: zemosh86

Photos by Honza Fučík
Instagram: honzafucikfoto

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19 comments

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1

I totally gasped at your last name for a sec! lol. great photos and write up!

2
Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I have never read anywhere that says AE86 to KE70 swaps are plug-and-play before. o.O

Anyway, this is a really nice build. Nothing over-the-top, pure old-school charm.

3

4AG and not 4AGE makes me a lil :( but it's still a clean build in the end.

4

The E is just emissions requirements spec afaik

5

I'm pretty sure E meant it had an EFI system but it could potentially mean that. Still leaning towards the EFI part tho.

6

Terry Is Correct

And for further Clarification of anybody reading

4A = 4th Gen of the "A" Engine Family
G = Wide Angle Valves used in the cylinder head
E = EFI

7

As a lover of 1980s japanese autos, especially Toyotas, I am so happy to see this article. Especially seeing some ke70 love instead of an AE86.

8

Epic pics and write up and must say for me a perfectly executed KE70.

9

4AGE into KE70 can be plug and play for everything except the wiring. At least for Australian delivered KE70s.
And when I say plug and play, I mean you can plug in all the bits without needing anything custom. You still have to swap the pedalbox to hydraulic pedals and the engine mounts/crossmember, gearbox mounts, and tail shaft. But all can be sourced from other Toyotas, nothing custom required.

10

Great pictures of a lovely car shot at a nice location. Tastefully and period-correct modifications. Love it!

11

Gotta love a proper street car build. especially an old Toyota. Cool build, great article, and awesome photos!

12

If Honza is not an actual part of the SpeedHunters team, I think you need to seriously consider. I will admit, I'm not a fan of the car (just not my style but still a great build), the photos are phenomenal and they make me want to like this car. Good stuff!! Also, hire him please.

13

I do not think it would be that easy, but it would be great.

14

Hello guys,

thanks a lot for positive feedback on photos and car! Perhaps there will be a chance and I will shoot some other great car and will be published here on speedhunters.

15

I'm not fan of the chassis you choose but Man you did it right that I even wanted one for my self. cool cool cool car.

16

You guys make me miss my 86. Oh well it was a project I just neve had time for. Still need to sell all the bits and pieces that I have left of it. Oh well. Love these kinda builds. Hands on. Self motivated. This one should be running a built not bought sticker for sure! Love that sticker on the air filter btw!

17
Sam Randall Guyye

Don't get me wrong, I understand the want for an AE86 but we never got them in South Africa, so I always leaned towards the KE70 over the AE86 and would still choose a KE70 over an 86. In SA we have a wide range of KE70s on our streets, with 2JZs, 1Js, 1UZ turbo, nos and twin turbo builds, but I like A nicely sorted KE70 a 3sgte and some goodies in between. I just prefer the proportions of the 70 over those of an 86. Great article and really sweet car. :)

18

You can't live a normal life without a project...

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