These days, talking about high-performance Toyota Corollas generally involves a discussion of the new GR Corolla. Its overachieving three-cylinder engine delivers no less than 300 horsepower, courtesy of a big ol' turbocharger under the hood. The slightly older Corolla featured in the above video also has a turbocharger, but you won't find it under the hood. And it has considerably more than 300 hp.
In this instance, slightly older takes us all the way back to the early 1980s. This is a late-run E70 series 'rolla, back when the engine sent power to the rear wheels as opposed to the GR Corolla's all-paw arrangement. It started life as a normal four-cylinder car for Jason, the son of this father-son build team. Piet is the father, and as the video from Cars.co.za explains, they are known in South Africa for custom billet manufacturing. They also have a thing for cars, and Jason decided he wanted something different to drive.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Toyota Corolla
Swapping the stock four-cylinder for a 1UZ V8 from a Lexus LS400 certainly qualifies as different, but that's just the tip of the iceberg on this build. The engine features upgraded internals, and a T76 turbocharger force-feeds the mill to the tune of around 470 horsepower (350 kilowatts). Looking under the hood, the engine swap is one of the cleanest we've seen ... too clean if we're honest. The turbocharger and all its piping are nowhere to be seen.
That's because Jason wanted this sleeper build to be very sleepy. The turbo is actually mounted at the back of the car, with custom piping connecting it to the engine. To keep up the appearance of a naturally aspirated engine, there's even a fake air filter and intake mounted under the hood. Creating the custom turbo setup was a nine-month project on its own, but the result is a stealthy Toyota that makes healthy power with virtually no lag. And without the turbo under the hood, engine temperatures stay cooler.
A four-speed Lexus automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels. BMW E36 springs are used at the back, with Brembo brakes at all four corners. The front suspension is stock, and the Corolla's simple interior is also largely stock. The seats have been recovered in leather, and there's new carpeting. Everything else is OG Corolla, right down to the gauges.
Jason did nearly all of the work himself and the attention-to-detail certainly captured our attention. Okay, billowing clouds of tire smoke also caught our attention, but in a world of custom cars, this old Corolla is a decidedly cool, unique machine.