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Toyota Corolla – the story of a legend

When Toyota Corolla was first introduced to the market in 1966, no one suspected that it would become one of the most recognizable brands in the world. History has shown, however, that the Japanese had written the best business plan for their compact model and already 8 years after its premiere, the Corolla became the most-bought car on the blue globe, and in the next 23 years it broke the record of the Volkswagen Beetle in the number of copies sold. To date, more than 45 million Corolla have been sold worldwide.

The history of Toyota Corolla began in the second half of 1962, when the design team was led by Tasuo Hasegawa. After the not-so-successful debut of the Publica model, the design team concluded that a completely different approach was needed when designing a new model. Rapidly developing Japan needed a modern car that would not only be spacious and economical, but most of all reliable. The designers decided to focus on creating a new concept that would be characterized by a completely new design of the suspension, body and engine. Building a new car also required a modern production facility. After long, not always successful, work, it was finally possible to construct a car that would meet the expectations of not only customers, but most of all the management of the Japanese concern.

Corolla generation I (1966) 

Compared to the previous Publica model, the new Corolla was much more futuristic and better suited to the needs of the modern world. The car was equipped with an engine with a capacity of 1.1 liters, 59 HP and a torque of 83 Nm. Several revolutionary technologies were used in the engine, such as a high-mounted camshaft for improved performance and a five-bearing crankshaft that could withstand the higher engine speeds.

Inside, there is a sporty, modern theme with bucket seats at the front that can be fully unfolded. The Corolla also had equipment that would normally only be found in more expensive cars of the time, such as the center console, armrests, radio and heating. Initially, the Corolla was equipped with only front and rear drum brakes, but for the North American market, Toyota also installed front disc brakes. The safety requirements for motor vehicles in the United States were much higher than in Japan, which is why Toyota also included multi-point seat belts and recessed, pull-over door handles on the Corolla.

Corolla 2nd generation (1970) 

Tatsuo Hasegawa and his team once again became responsible for the development of Corolla. Work on the new car began about a year after the first-generation model was launched, and the goal was simple: to increase the Corolla’s advantage over the competition. Hasegawa looked at the entire Toyota range and noticed that while the Corolla’s engine capacity was increased to 1.2 liters, there was still a significant difference to the next model, the 1.6-liter Corona. With this in mind, he and his design team set out to explore the capabilities of a 1.4-liter power unit to bridge the gap between Corona and Corolla.

In terms of body design, Toyota wanted to create something that would not only be instantly recognizable as a Corolla, but would also be modern. The design team focused on smoothing the lines of the Corolla’s body and making it more modern.

However, up to the point, when the car was launched, many members of the design team were hesitant about the car’s bold new look. The bold new second-generation Corolla design has been a huge hit with Japanese and international buyers alike. To further enhance the company’s sports image, the decision was made to launch a special edition model known as the Corolla Levin. The idea was to take an engine from one of the larger Toyota models and squeeze it into the Corolla. It turned out that the 113hp 1.6l engine from the Celica model is a perfect match for the Corolla and at the same time ensures sporty performance. It should be remembered that the first generations of the model were rear-wheel drive. The car quickly took part in many sporting events, and was most successful in the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland, when it managed to beat European competitors.

Corolla 3rd generation (1974) 

Thanks to the tremendous success of the first and second generation models, the third Corolla edition had to break new boundaries again. Buyers wanted more, and competition in both the Japanese and international auto markets grew fiercer. Toyota noticed that their competitors were catching up, so spending money was spent on the development of the third generation car. The car was to be not only more refined, comfortable and safe, but also more economical and meet the strict emission standards that are more and more common all over the world.

The first things the design team focused on were improving the car’s performance, functionality, soundproofing and interior comfort. They also decided to increase the width of the vehicle and give it a higher quality interior compared to the second generation model. To tackle the problem of reducing emissions, Toyota opened the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center for emissions and emissions remedies. The clever and ingenious engineers at the plant finally perfected the catalytic converter-based exhaust aftertreatment system, which in the following years was already widely used in almost all cars in the world.

Corolla 4th generation (1979) 

n the late 1970s, the oil crisis that affected the automotive market finally ended and the global economy grew stronger. However, customers have reevaluated their car priorities and there has been a growing demand for fuel efficient vehicles. The idea for the new model was to create a car that was practical and luxurious enough to prevent a new high-income generation of baby boomers from switching to larger, higher-end vehicles. With huge responsibility for redesigning the world’s best-selling car at the time, the designers decided to conduct a global market study. The new 1.5-liter engine generated 79 hp and 115 Nm of torque.

Corolla 5th  generation (1983) 

In 1983 it was time for the new Corolla. Toyota wanted to attract a new, younger generation of buyers and redesigned the Corolla to better suit their needs and desires. The Japanese also introduced a number of new technology and feature changes, the most important of which was front-wheel drive. The Corolla was once again successful and became the best-selling car in Japan and in the world markets. As with many car makers at the time, Toyota shifted to making full use of computers in much of its development and design work. Initially, Toyota offered several different engine options, including the 1.3, 1.5 and the newly developed 1.6 electronic fuel injection engine with 99hp.

Corolla VI generation (1987)  

With the introduction of the sixth generation car in 1987, Toyota wanted the Corolla to be more than just a family car. Akihiko Saito, the chief engineer and the team focused on three main areas: performance, quality and style. The design team created over 2,000 development proposals and collaborated with over a hundred other component manufacturers to create a design that would take it to a new level of quality. So the range has a new 1.8-liter four-valve engine, and even optional all-wheel drive and Electronic Modulated Suspension (TEMS), ventilated brake discs and brake force equalizer for better performance with less pressure. pedal.

To be continued…