Toyota Corolla Rally Car Build

1981 TE72 Corolla Rally Car

Year: 1981
Make: Toyota
Model: Corolla DLX Liftback
Weight: Approx 1600lbs
Engine: 3TC
Cylinders: 4
Displacement: 1.8L
Factory Power Output: 75hp
Current Power Output: est 85hp
Transmission: T50 5 speed
Suspension: Macpherson
Other Info: Stripped interior, AC, PowerSteering, Webber 32/36 Carb, long runner header, side dump exhaust, Supra Driver Seat….for all the horse powers

This project all started with a local grass roots snow-cross rally and ended with a new project. Despite a constant fear of wrecking our expensive dailys, we had the time of our lives and were hooked. We decided we needed to build a dedicated rally car that we could drive to, and beyond, its limit without fear of going off track, aka Full Send. We have been building and playing with cars our whole lives but had never had a dedicated racecar that allowed us to really push our own limits without fear and become better drivers. The ideal rally car needed to be cheap, lightweight, reasonably reliable, easy to work on, source parts for and be rear or all wheel drive.

Enter Project RockNRolla

Our TE72 Corolla is the redheaded step-sibling to the legendary AE86. The TE72’s unibody chassis was the precursor to the 86 and shares many design traits. A large portion of suspension are shared or a direct swap, making its handling on par with the 86 and aftermarket components widely available. Like the AE86, the TE72 is a 4 cylinder powered rear wheel drive variant of the Corolla.

The car caught our eye being cheap, extremely light with a factory curb weigh around 2,000 lbs, and Toyota reliable. It was a good chassis without the added 86 drift tax. Our original plan was run the factory engine until it decides to take its final send, or we grew bored and lined up another swap. However we found that the 1.8l 3TC, despite being an antiquated single cam push rod design, actually has a large following and shade tree builds have taken the motor to incredible power levels. With the low weight of the chassis, a forced induction build on the 3TC will provide ample power at a much lower cost than swapping in a boosted 4AG or 3S-GTE. We already have big aspirations for the potential of this car as a full blow vintage rally spec competitor. For now we are going to do our best to prioritize seat time and learning what the car needs before throwing parts at it.

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