Toyota Corolla

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Toyota Corolla

1968 - 1969
4 cyl.
60 bhp
4 spd. man
Top Speed:
Number Built:
1 star
When Nick S wrote to us about our mentioning the Corolla in our "Lemon List", he was quite justified in levelling his criticism - as many Australians have owned one at some stage in their lives. And although they now have a reputation as being the "Nana-mobile", they remain as popular as ever.

Indeed Toyota's reputation for building reliability and quality into an affordable car today goes without saying. But that reputation took a lot of hard work to achieve - and maintain - and if there is one model in its line up that's responsible it is the humble Corolla.

The Corolla name is the second oldest in their stable, following the "Land Cruiser", and while never an "exciting" drive, with over 30 million Corollas sold worldwide, it has become the most popular car line in history. Since 1968 there have been some 9 "Generations" of Corolla.

Simplicity was at the core of the first Corolla's engineering. Introduced during 1966 in Japan, the first Corolla debuted in the US and Australia in 1968. The original car had a 90-inch wheelbase and was available as a two door coupe, four door sedan and two door wagon.

The Corolla was powered by a 60bhp 1.1liter OHV 4 cylinder motor, mated to a 4 speed floor mounted manual transmission. The unibody structure had a strut front suspension and mounted the rear axle on a pair of leaf springs.

The car was a lesson in engineering simplicity - and by using as few parts as possible the chances of breakdown were reduced, thus ensuring a level of quality at a price point few believed possible.

Toyota worked hard through the '60s to overcome the then common perception that Japanese products were second rate. Today it is extremely rare to see Corolla's from the first and second generations, and they are not particularly collectable. However, these early models were an important part in creating the huge success that Toyota is today.

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Also see:

Kiichiro Toyoda
The Toyota Australia Story
Toyota Car Commercials
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