Corolla RWD History

by Jonathan Rochester
updated 22/10/2005

Pictured here is the buitiful AE86 Corolla. Further below I have a full pictorial list of all RWD corollas and engines, and another page for FWD corollas. I don't know it all, and probably have alot of this wrong. I have just spat out the little I have gathered from others. Please tell me corrections. All the pictures here are stolen! but thats only what you expect on the internet.

Corolla History by Jonathan Rochester:

Corolla means "crown of a flower", which explains the corolla emblem on cars up till about 1989 in export markets. After that, most cars came with a oval Toyota emblem, but Japanease domestic cars still have a "C" or Corolla emblem of some sort.

The first corolla was marketed in October 1966. They were the KE10 series, with the 1100cc (K) motor, an extra 100cc over the Datsun Sunny of that time. The KE11/17/18 update models soon followed in 1969 of the same shape, but had a larger 1200cc (3K) motor. The 2 door coupe shape was called "Sprinter", some of which had twin carburettors.

The next shape came in 1970, the KE20 series still with the 1200cc 3K motor. The TE20 series were also released with 1600cc and 1400cc (T series) motors in 1973. In Japan half of these cars were badged "Sprinter" and the other half "Corolla" with different grills to match, and this tradition continued for many years. The Levin and Sprinter Trueno models (JDM only) used the coupe version (TE27), and had a twincam (2T-G) motor using twin sidedraft carburettors. In America, the highest spec coupe (TE27) was the "Corolla SR-5". The "SR-5" had all the features of the Levin/Trueno except for the twincam engine. Australia missed out on the TE series 1600cc corollas. The 2T-G twincam engine used in the Celica and Levin was in a sence a development of the earlier 9R twincam engine in the Corona GT.

The *E30 series cars first came in 1974, still with the 3K motor or the 1600cc 2T engine. The Levin model (JDM only) used the 2 door hardtop shape (TE37) with a twincam engine (2T-G) still with sidedraft carbies. Again, the highest spec hardtop in America (TE37) was called the "SR-5", and had all the features of the JDM Levin bar the twincam motor. Australia did not recieve any TE series cars of this generation. Some KE35 hardtops where sold as the "SR" coupe, and had the 3K-B engine (twin carbs) and 5-speed gearbox.

The Sprinter and Sprinter Trueno coupe were realsed about 1975 and although using the same chassis, had different pannels to the KE30's. The Trueno (TE47) shared the 2T-G twincam motor and driveline with the Levin.

The liftback and coupe corollas were also made based on the KE30 platform, but with different pannels and dash with a lower and wider look but share the same driveline and engine bay. In 1977, the top spec Levin model no longer was bassed on the TE37 hardtop, but used the TE51 coupe and liftback models. The twincam engine was also updated with EFI and emission equipment to comply with those times. The Trueno (TE61) was the high performance twin also based on the coupe and liftback models. The twincam (2T-GEU) engine was again changed in 1978 for TE55/65 models so as not to require EGR.

The KE55 (and KE38 wagon) was still the same shape as the KE30, with small improvements and a different grills. They all had a bigger 1300cc (4K) engine, different hood and grill. Australia made these up till mid 1981. The top spec model in Australia was the KE55S hardtop called the "XX". It had 13" alloy wheels, 5-speed and little things like that.

Here there is some model overlap, as the TE72 liftback series corollas where relased earlier in Australia. In 1979 came the TE72 liftbacks (called "T-18 SE" in Australia) which were of a new shape with a 1800cc 3T-C engine. 70 series corollas featured a 5 link rear suspension setup from the Celica replacing the old leaf design. Wagons still used leafs in the back. The KE70 series still had the same 4K engine, often badged "Hi-Cam " in Australia. Japan and US models often had the 2T or 3T engines. Top spec Levin and Trueno versions where made in Japan, all with the 2T-GEU motor. The Levin/ Trueno spec was avaliable on either liftback, coupe, and hardtop shapes. There was also a Corolla GT model in Japan, based on the 4 door sedan with 2T-GEU motor. Later 70 series corollas had 4A-C SOHC engines, making them a AE71. Some corollas in Europe and Japan had a diesel C series engine.

When the rest of the corolla range where about to go FWD, the AE86 liftback and coupe where built, with either a 3A-C engine or the twincam 4A-GEU. The floor pan and layout is still similar to the TE70 series corollas. I think all AE85/86's where called Levin or Sprinter Trueno (JDM only), in either coupe or liftback. The top spec models where called Levin/Trueno GT Apex, and GTV. The American versions speced with the 4A-C carb engine where called "Corolla SR-5", and the 4A-GE twincam EFI engined version were called "Corolla GT-S", and all came with the Trueno front end. The Australian AE86 was only sold as a liftback, had "Sprinter" written in the right tail light, and only recieved the poor 4A-C carb motor with Levin headlights and 13" alloy wheels.

Other corollas starting from the AE82 were all front wheel drive from this time on. The AE86 (1983-1987) were the last rear wheel drive corollas. This fact, along with their sleek design and handling ability, has made them popular among the growing few that know. Since the AE86 Corolla, many believe Toyota has not replaced this hole in the market.

The name "Levin" (from a former motor racing circuit near the New Zealand town of the same name) has traditionally been applied to sporty 2 door Corolla models in Japan and several export markets. Most Levins have a "Sprinter Trueno" sister car which is mostly exactly the same with minor styling changes.

The highest spec 2 door corolla has been called the Corolla Levin, or Sprinter Trueno. Only a selected number of corolla models make it to other countries and often get named different things. Due to the economics of manufacturing each country chooses the few shapes and trim levels they need to fill their market. Some of the early corollas were also sold as Daihatsu in Japan.

In Japan, there was another series or cars sold as "Corolla II", but these are all based on the Tercel, so I have not included them here.

Some race pictures

KE10 series cars are still being restored and built for racing as they are very small and light. They could surprise some people with the right engine as they also look ridiculas as a race car. The KE15/KE17 is the "Sprinter" coupe model but the KE10/KE11 can also look cute. Often the transverse front leaf is removed and a traditional strut is used with parts from a later KE20 or KE30. Either a 5K or 4A-GE are popular engine upgrades.

The TE27 "Levin" was used for rally by TTE (Toyota Team Europe) with the 2T-G engine, and 151E 16 valve motor. Its popularity is still enormouse both overseas and in Japan.

It has been popular in club racing even until today. As none of these were sold in Australia it is common to use a KE25 (same shape) and put the 2T-G motor in with some modification. The TE21/KE20 sedan has also been used, with the only noticeable difference between it and the coupe being a rear window. The 4A-GE goes well into this car, but most restorations in Japan are strict in keeping the 2T-G and period modifications only. The 3T-GTE turbo motor will fit, and the 3T-C motor is a popular upgrade in America.

TTE had started using Celicas for rally at this time, but the TE37 has been popular at club level with a 2T-G the obviouse choice (same shape as KE35 and KE55 coupe). Again, the 4A-GE is a better engine to use, but the T series can be bored and stroked bigger and is the classic engine to use for that era.

For some reason the TE72 in Australia was called a "T-18", probably for "toyota 1800cc", so not everyone in Australia knows it as a corolla. This was the only Corolla in Australia to get a T series engine. It is a little heavier but with a 3T-GTE bolted in there is plenty of power to combat that. The TE70 2 door sedan is the lighter body of that shape.

The AE86 is now a ledgend. Many in Australia have long been coverted to 4A-GE power.

They are known to have good handling ability (50/50 weight split), especialy when matched with the revy 4A-G twincam. The AE86 has been used alot in both rally and track racing. There was a couple raced at Bathurst in Australia back in the day (Toyota Team Australia) and they always won their class. In Japan the AE86 was popular in group A racing, and TRD ran a one make series for them called N2. The N2 bodykit is still recognisable to AE86 fans (pictured above) and all the info to build one of these racecars is in the TRD Levin Bible. They are now popular for drifting and track racing in Japan. And since Initial-D, many boys around the world are looking for a "hachi-roku" to build up. The main decision is 4A-GE 20 valve, or 4A-GZE supercharged?

Rear wheel drive corollas:
early 85 aussie 86 early 86 apex late 85 late 86 apex usa
KE10K2dr sedanAust, Euro1968
KE10K4dr sedanAust, Euro1968
KE113K2dr sedanAust, Euro1970
KE15K, K-B2dr coupe "Sprinter"Aust, Euro1969
KE16K2dr wagonAust, Euro
KE173K-B2dr coupe"Sprinter"Aust, Euro
KE183K2dr wagonAust, Euro
KE203K2dr/4dr sedan (peanut)Aust.
TE212T2dr/4dr sedan (peanut)USA
KE253K2dr coupe (Mango)Aust.1971-74
KE263K2dr wagonAust, Euro1971
TE272T, 2T-B, 2TG2dr coupe "Levin", "SR-5" (Mango)USA, Japan
TE272T, 2T-B, 2TG2dr coupe"Sprinter Trueno" Japan1971-74
KE283K2dr wagonAust, Euro
TE282T2dr wagonUSA, Japan
KE303K4dr sedanAust, Euro1974-77
KE303K2dr sedanAust, Euro, USA1974-78
TE312T, 2T-B2dr/4dr sedanUSA1975-1979
KE353K or 3K-B2dr coupe hardtopAust1974-78
TE35T-U, 2T2dr coupe hardtopJapan1975-76
KE363K2dr/4dr wagonall1974-78
TE36T2dr/4dr wagon
TE372T, 2T-B, 2T-G2dr coupe hardtop "Levin", "SR-5"Japan, USA1975-78
KE384K2dr/4dr wagonAust, Euro1978-81
TE382T2dr/4dr wagonUSA1978-80
KE404K, 3K-H, 3K-BSprinter
TE412T, 2T-BSprinterJapan
KE454K, 3K-HSprinter
TE472T, 2T-B, 2TG2dr coupeSprinter "Trueno"Japan1974-78
KE503K2dr liftbackAust, Euro1976-79
TE512T 2dr liftbackUSA1977-78
TE512TGEU2dr coupe"Levin GT"Japan1976-78
TE512TGEU2dr liftback"Levin GT"Japan1976-78
TE522T2dr hardtopJapan
KE55S4K, 4K-B2dr coupe hardtop Aust1978-81
KE55E4K, 4K-B2 & 4dr sedanAust, Japan1978-81
TE552TGEU2dr coupe"Levin GT"Japan1978-79
TE552TGEU2dr liftback"Levin GT"Japan1978-79
TE612TGEU2dr coupe"Sprinter Trueno"Japan1977
TE622T, 12T2dr coupeSprinterJapan
TE652TGEU2dr coupe"Sprinter Trueno"Japan1978
TE662T4drDaihatus CharmantJapan
KE704Ksedan/ wagonAust, Euro1981
KE704Ksedan/ wagonSprinter1981
TE703TC2dr sedanUSA
TE702T,3TE, 12T, 13T, 2TGEU4dr sedan"GT"USA, Japan
CE701C dieselsedan/ wagonEuro
AE703A-U2dr coupe"Sprinter"?1981
AE714ACsedan/ wagonspiritAustralia1983
TE712TGEU2dr coupe "Levin" Japan1979
TE712TGEU2dr coupe"Sprinter Trueno GTApex" Japan1979
TE712T,3T, 2TGEU2dr hardtop"Levin"Japan
TE712T,3T, 2TGEU2dr hardtop"Trueno"Japan
TE723TC, 2TGEU2dr liftback "T-18", "SR-5", "GT"Aust, USA, Japan1979
TE722TGEU2dr hardtop"Levin" Japan1979
AE724A-C2dr liftback "SR-5" USA1982-84
AE724A-C2dr hardtop "SR-5" Puerto Rico1982-84
TE732T,3TE, 12T, 13Twagon
TE742T,3TE, 12T, 13TJapan
AE853A-Uliftback"Levin" Japan1983-85
AE853A-Ucoupe"Levin" Japan1983-85
AE853A-Uliftback"Trueno" Japan1983-85
AE853A-Ucoupe"Trueno" Japan1983-85
AE864A-C2dr liftback "Sprinter"Australia1983-85
AE864A-GEU2dr coupe"Levin GT-Apex" Japan
AE864A-GEU2dr liftback "Levin GT-Apex", GTV Apex"Japan1983-86
AE864A-GEU2dr coupe"Sprinter Trueno" Japan1983-86
AE864A-GEU2dr liftback"Sprinter Trueno GT Apex" Japan1983-86
AE853A-Uliftback"Levin" Japan1985-87
AE853A-Ucoupe"Levin" Japan1985-87
AE853A-Uliftback"Trueno" Japan1985-87
AE853A-Ucoupe"Trueno" Japan1985-87
AE864A-GEU2dr coupe"Levin GT-Apex"Japan, USA
AE864A-GEU2dr liftback "Levin GT-Apex"Japan1985-87
AE864A-GEU2dr coupe"Sprinter Trueno" Japan1985-87
AE864A-GEU2dr liftback"Sprinter Trueno GT Apex"Japan1985-87
AE864A-GEC2dr liftback"GT-S"USA/ Canada1983-87
AE864A-GEC2dr coupe "GT-S"USA/ Canada1983-87

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