‘Old cars don’t die, they just get faster.’ This saying couldn’t be more true for Wessel Oosthuizen’s 1984 Toyota Corolla.
Before digging into the details of this manic TE72 from South Africa, I need to talk about Wessel’s Toyota and horsepower addiction, which is impressive to say the least.
His first race car, over 10 years ago, was based on something you wouldn’t expect – a Toyota Stallion. This work van was converted from commercial duties to a 8.04-second at 266.7km/h quarter-mile machine with a tubbed rear end and a 2JZ up front. Wessel built it with his brother Marius, who is the owner of Fullboost Performance in the south of Johannesburg – a company known for its ridiculously fast street and drag cars. Wessel still has the Stallion, and although it’s been on the back-burner for a few years, it will be making a comeback soon.
Next up was a Corolla, which also had a 2JZ fitted, that Wessel sold to buy another Corolla from his dad.
At first a Toyota 3S-GE BEAMS engine was swapped in, but it wasn’t long before Wessel craved more power. The solution? A Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 complete with twin-turbo setup, which gave birth to the name Murder Rolla.
Everything was going well with the car until the day Wessel took it out for a test after making a few minor changes. The accelerator cable got stuck and before Wessel knew it he had lost control, resulting in an impact that bent the chassis.
Other than the physical cost of the accident, there was the sentimental value. Wessel’s father had passed away in the time he had built the car, so he really wanted to recreate it. Wessel found another Corolla in good condition and proceeded to strip it down completely, respray it in the same baby blue colour, and swap everything from the crashed car over. Some upgrades were then made to make Murder Rolla V2 even better.
I love the soft blue exterior colour, which is in complete contrast to the ridiculous performance hidden within.
Other than the paint, clear front indicators and a pair of hood spacers to help dissipate heat from the engine bay, the exterior hasn’t seen any other changes. And to be honest, the boxy lines of these old school Corollas are so cool that you really don’t need to mess with them.
The car runs a full street setup because this is where Wessel primarily uses it. It does see quarter-mile action from time to time, and when that happens it can be driven to and from the drag strip with ease.
For wheels, there’s Lenso Project-Ds in a 17×8-inch front fitment with 205/40R17 Pirellis, and 17×9-inch rears with 255/40R17 semi-slicks. As you can see in the opening image, they light up rather nicely with a drop of the clutch. On race days the rears get swapped out with lightweight Weld drag wheels paired with Mickey Thompson drag slicks.
The stock front and rear suspension is still in place, but it’s all braced to handle the increased power. Coilovers were also added for their ability to adjusted both in firmness and ride height. The brake system features a mix and match of parts, with Toyota Prado callipers and BMW discs in the front and Volkswagen GTI calipers and BMW discs in the rear.
Lifting the hood, it’s quite a sight to behold in such an old lady. This Lexus 1UZ-FE 4.0L engine came from the first generation LS400, but it’s far from stock now.
Inside, it’s been upgraded with Arias forged pistons, Eagle forged rods and Fullboost Performance-specced Kelford cams. The heads have also been flowed, ported and secured with ARP studs.
A high-flow oil pump ensures there are never any starvation issues, and for cooling you’ll find a custom aluminium radiator. On the fuelling side, there’s an Aeromotive FPR, 1,200cc Bosch injectors and twin Bosch Motorsport 044 fuel pumps drawing juice from the stock fuel tank. All the fluid lines are braided FTF items.
The mischievous twins helping this V8 sing are two GT35 turbochargers, each with a 46mm Precision Turbo wastegate to regulate boost pressure. Fullboost Performance fabricated the discreet intercooler and intake pipes, along with the exhaust manifold, which exits through a 3-inch stainless steel system running into a 4-inch muffler at the rear.
With a Powermods ECU controlling the entire setup, the 1UZ pumps out some mad figures. On 95RON octane pump fuel at 0.98bar (14.4psi) boost the engine makes 650hp, and when Wessel runs pure ethanol, the boost gets turned up to 2.0bar (29.4psi), producing a massive 1,000hp and 1,500Nm.
Naturally, getting the power to the ground without breaking anything is always a concern, and for this build Wessel fitted a BMW E46 M3 gearbox which has been modded a bit and so far held up well. There’s a twin-plate Quartermaster clutch with a custom flywheel to engage gears, and a chromoly driveshaft sends the power to the rear wheels via a 9-inch diff with Strange pinion supports and set up using Mark Williams ratios. Finally, there are custom-made side shafts by Fulrace Engineering.
Together, all these goodies have helped Wessel run a best quarter-mile ET of 9.5-seconds at 240km/h (149mph), and he believes the car will still go faster. Over an 800m (2,624ft) distance, he’s reached 285km/h (177mph).
The interior is surprisingly comfortable for a 1,000hp, 9-second street car.
An old school Toyota Corolla RSI steering wheel was fitted, along with custom-trimmed seats, and a shift knob and pedals from a Toyota GT86, keeping it in the family.
My favourite thing about the interior is the fact that Wessel’s retained the Corolla’s original gauge cluster.
Last but certainly not least, there’s a custom half-cage.
Wessel really loves his car like it’s one of his kids, and it’s also a great tribute to his dad, even though he never got to see the car in its final form.
It’s scarily fast, sounds the part, and proof that a properly-built car will almost always be better than something you can just go out and buy.
Wessel would like to thank the following people for their help:
His dad, his guardian. His wife Natasha for keeping up with his moods and anger throughout the rebuild. A special thanks to his best friend Jono, he knows for what. His brother Marius for all the help and advice.
His Mom for listening to him when he got mad. Mpho for al the help and late nights. Fullboost performance staff, Marius, Edson, Kyle and Mpho. Tyrin and Kyle from Fulrace Engineering. Derek from MMT.
CCR customs for the body work. Bennie and Giel from Automagic Krugersdorp for the paint. JP Moreira from Liquid Energy (Fast Fuels).
Powermods. Budler Motorsport. Nishen from TMSS for the best sounding exhaust system.
And to all his other friends and family that helped, it’s much appreciated.Gallery