I was tired of cars. Building cars and everything around them felt like work; something I was forced to do without enjoying it. I wanted to come back to the fun and creative part of building cars. I mean, that’s why I started with this hobby in the first place.
My original goal and purpose with this car – more than enjoying building it – was to improve my metal shaping and welding skills, and really test myself and my capabilities. More than that, I wanted a car that I could drive to work on weekdays and take to the track on the weekends, while looking and performing good in both scenarios.
I bought the 1982 KE70 Toyota Corolla in 2016 from a friend of mine. He’d had it stored outside another friend’s workplace for a couple of years. I passed this shop every day and felt that it was quite an ugly car, but at the same time quite different and extremely retro. It started to grow on me, and with some work I thought that it could turn out really cool.
The Nissan SR20 was in the Corolla when I bought it, but only lying flat on the front subframe. It wasn’t actually fitted. Other than that, the car was pretty much all stock. I had some experience with Nissan’s S-chassis from a previous build, so it was an easy choice for me to go with S13 suspension and keep the engine, which is now tuned to about 300hp and backed up by a 350Z gearbox.
During the day I’m a workshop manager at a race track with a fleet of 25 rental race cars. I have worked professionally with racing and motorsport for close to 10 years in different ways, but most of the time in the highest racing series in Sweden. That said, many aspects of building this car were harder than anything I’ve tried before, like designing the tube chassis and building the metal fenders. I’ve made pretty much everything on the car by myself, except for painting it, something I trusted to a good friend of mine, Dennis Käller.
As I write this, the Corolla is about to become street legal. I’m currently doing the last of the work in order to register it for the road. A lot of work and thinking went into getting the car to this point, but at the same time there were less problems that I thought there’d be. Using a lot of standard components, such as subframes and standard Nissan geometry, really helped me when it came to proving the car’s safety.
During this build I’ve experienced some of the darkest places of my own mind. I’ve been depressed and anxious. Just as much as this build has been a journey towards a completed car, it has been a journey to rebuild my own mental health. It has been my therapy; an escape from a reality. It’s been something solid and a process that I could see with my own eyes, sometimes reflecting the journey that took place inside my mind.
This might come as a surprise after how much time and effort I put into this car, but I will actually sell it once it’s registered. The intention is to use the money from it to finance new builds, and to build a small workshop here at home in Örebro, Sweden. I have a lot of ideas for new builds, just not enough time…
1982 Toyota Corolla KE70
Custom tube frame built from scratch with new floor, transmission tunnel, suspension & roll cage, sectioned body
Nissan SR20, Precision Turbo turbocharger & wastegate, Z32 MAF, modified ECU
Nissan 350Z Z33 manual gearbox, modified bell-housing, lightweight flywheel, aftermarket pressure plate & clutch disc
Suspension & Brakes:
Nissan S13 front & rear suspension, BC Racing coilovers, Nissan S14 4-pot calipers & 302mm discs (front), Nissan S13 calipers & 280mm discs (rear), EBC brake pads, hydraulic handbrake
Wheels & Tyres:
Ashes Wheels Asta 15×9-inch -13 offset front & rear, 195/50R15 tires
Custom metal fenders +120mm per side, new metal side pods, doors sectioned 50mm, custom-made bumpers, new front spoiler, aluminum diffuser, BMW Sunset Orange paint
Bimarco RS2 seats, Sparco 6-point harness belts, Grip Royal steering wheel, Digi-Dash display, cupholders(!), Audi Nardo Gray paint
Sponsors & Thanks:
DDesign, Ashes Wheels, Nyman Racing, Pontus Amundsson, Robert Andersson, Magnus Widén, Alexander Lundborg, Henrik Gustafson, Fredrik Dawidsson and my amazing girlfriend Rebecca Borg
How To join the IATS program: We have always welcomed readers to contact us with examples of their work and believe that the best Speedhunter is always the person closest to the culture itself, right there on the street or local parking lot. If you think you have what it takes and would like to share your work with us then you should apply to become part of the IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER program. Read how to get involved here.