Meet the 1994 Toyota Corolla that's rarer than some hypercars

Sanjay/Jul 18, 2020 02:00 PM

Last week, my colleague Jason talked about rally nobility. This week, let me one-up him and show you a 1994 Toyota Corolla that’s rarer than most supercars, including the $38 million Ferrari 250 GTO. 

Yes, it's as pictured. No, I'm not making it up.

1966 Toyota Corolla front 3rd quarter

We've come a long way since this.

Most of you know that the Corolla has been a household name for decades with a legacy that started way back in 1966.

New 2020 Toyota Corolla Cross rear

With the 2020 Toyota Corolla Cross, they’re trying new things but along its 54 year history, it's only right the Japanese engineers blew off some steam every once in a while.

2013 Toyota Vios TRD Sportivo

TRD makes improved versions of current models.

Although these days they are all but superseded by Gazoo Racing, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) serves as Toyota’s in-house tuner and are responsible for many crazy cars along the years - such as the featured Corolla.

Wow, sweet Toyota Corolla...

1996 Toyota Supra TRD 3000GT

TRD 3000GT + TRD 2000, perfect two-car garage?

Don’t call it that - Toyota insists on calling it the TRD 2000, to show that it’s a completely different animal. I’m sure the fact that it sat right between the TRD 2000GT SW20 MR2 and fellow debutee, the TRD 3000GT A80 Supra in 1994’s Tokyo Auto Salon helps too. 

3SGE engine in TRD 2000

Snug fit, big power. Photo credit: Option

Modelled after the 1995 Corolla Japanese Touring Car Championship race car, most of the oily bits were swapped for racier options. Chief among them is the 2.0-litre, naturally aspirated 3S-GE mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox.

TRD 2000 wheels and brakes

These aren't the original wheels, but the brakes are. Photo credit: Option

Other goodies included a heavy-duty clutch, mechanical LSD, quickshifter, TRD brakes and uprated suspension that lowered the car by 20 mm.

TRD 2000 engine

Custom-made engine mounts. Photo credit: Option

TRD ransacked their parts bin to make sure it worked: mixing and matching the gearbox and driveshaft from two different Celica generations and creating bespoke engine mounts. 

TRD 2000

Goodies, lots of 'em. Photo credit: Toyota Corolla AE101

All this meant it made 180 PS in a package that weighs 1140 kg - lesser than most cars made today. 

TRD 2000 rear

Simple yet quick. Photo credit: mobilmotorlama.com

What’s cool is that it looks so unassuming. I’m sure most of you remember that this shape was a common sight on our roads before the first Toyota Vios rolled in - some of you may have even owned one.

Understated TRD goodies

TRD 2000 exhaust

Small hints to what's inside. Photo credit: Option

Save for a bespoke set of 15-inch TRD Type-FT wheels and very minor bodywork tweaks, the only clue one would get of this car’s pedigree are the twin exhaust pipes at the back.

TRD 2000 interior and steering

Except the steering wheel, everything is stock. Source: Option

Inside, everything looks bog-standard except for the pair of Konig Prinz P200 bucket seats, TRD steering wheel, and shiftknob.

TRD 2000 interior

Smiles per miles, guaranteed! Photo credit: Option

While it redlines at 7,600 rpm, I think the 180 km/h limit is conservative...

TRD 2000 front

Such development doesn’t come cheap, and the car cost more than the ST205 Celica GT-Four, Toyota’s purpose-built sports car at the time.

This meant that it never reached its 99-unit goal and only 10 were ever made in the end, cementing its place in automotive history as the mad Corolla that could.

Source: Option

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