Meet the second generation of the world's best-selling auto nameplate.

What is it?

It is the Corolla – the world’s best-selling vehicle with more than 44 million units delivered since 1966. It’s an icon, a definition for a car, and a benchmark.

When and where was it made?

In this piece from the Classic Ads series we will focus on the second generation of the model, which debuted in 1970. In different body styles, it remained in production until 1978 and was manufactured in Japan, Australia, and Indonesia.

Toyota Corolla (second generation)

Why is it awesome?

The second generation of the Corolla built upon the success and favorable reputation of its predecessor, but was designed as a drastic overall improvement over the first-gen model. Toyota wanted to make a clear statement this is a brand new car with advancements in every single possible aspect.

But the new Corolla had even more important goals than just being better – it had to follow the pace of Japan’s booming industry and economy at that time. The production volume was dramatically increased. As a result, just a couple of months following its debut, cumulative production reached a total of one million units in June 1970.

The second-gen model was also the first to receive a sporty two-door body style for a total of four different body types, including a two- and four-door sedans, and a station wagon. It also marked an expansion of the sporty range with the addition of the Corolla Levin model with DOHC engine and five-speed manual gearbox.

Toyota Corolla (second generation)
Toyota Corolla (second generation)
Toyota Corolla (second generation)

What’s so special about this ad?

As Toyota explains in a retrospective analyze of the second generation Corolla, the model “was given greater comfort with an expanded body size and enhanced overall driving performance.” Also, the list of standard features was significantly increased and that’s the focus of this classic video commercial for the 1971 model, which features Frank Bonner (yes, the sales manager Herb Tarlek from the “WKRP in Cincinnati” citicom).

And we like that spot, just because it shows, in a clever and classic manner, the amount of standard features the Corolla offered back in the 1970s – everything from the luxury door panels and the bucket seats to the wheel covers, chrome trim, and tinted windows. Fantastic!

More from the Classic Ads series:


Photos: AutoWP

Gallery: Toyota Corolla (second generation)