Toyota Corolla AE70 Sprinter 1979

For a long time, we have been talking about various Japanese cars. Some of them are widely known, while others are known and loved only by enthusiasts. But there are models that were destined to become the people’s car of Japan, to stand the test of time and to remain in the top sales charts of new cars to this day. Toyota Corolla in its fourth generation.

In 1966, the first generation of the legendary compact car model was introduced. The car turned out to be so successful and timely (considering the oil crisis of the early 1970s) that in 1974, the third generation Corolla became the best-selling car in the world. The Japanese did not intend to stop there and approached the revamping of the lineup with utmost responsibility.

The design process for the new model began in 1974, under the guidance of Fumio Agetsuma. He formed the main principles that guided the development of the new Corolla to ensure continuity:
-The car should be quiet, fuel-efficient and affordable to maintain. These are the factors that endear this car to its buyers.
-The design should incorporate the latest aerodynamic trends. The coefficient of drag should be minimized.The car should be comfortable and spacious inside, with the option of installing all the new systems that enhance driver and passenger convenience.
-The car should undergo changes, but it should be an evolution of the previous model, retaining all the features that customers love.
-The Corolla should appeal to all generations of consumers.
-The car should perform equally well in any weather conditions, which is an important consideration since it was being sold in various markets, including regions with snowy climates.
The overall conclusion of Fumio-san’s recommendations was, “Corolla – a legend! Let’s build a new generation of this legend!”

We have presented these principles to you almost verbatim, without our own modifications. If you were to visit a Toyota dealer in your city and find a new Corolla, you would see that these statements still hold true today. While other manufacturers attempted to attract customers with aggressive design and marketing, the Japanese calmly continue to produce one of the best budget cars.

In 1979, the new generation was introduced to the world. In the 21st century, it may seem strange to combine the words “aerodynamics” and “brick-shaped design” from the 1970s, but at that time, the engineers did their best with the available technology. Reducing aerodynamic drag played a role not only in acceleration or top speed but also in acoustic comfort and fuel efficiency – factors that influenced consumers’ choices.

If you look at the car from the outside, you might want to use the word “facets” instead of “lines.” Indeed, every line of the car represents a distinct facet. Even the moldings along the body have a slightly faceted shape, forming an almost right angle with the body itself.

The engine is traditionally located in the front longitudinally, with rear-wheel drive. From a technical standpoint, the new generation boasted a new 5-link rear suspension, which Nissan Sunny, its direct competitor, had implemented two years earlier. In the interest of the consumer, the engines underwent minimal changes, but a new engine, the 4A-C, was introduced, which distinguished itself from other engines with a combination of SOHC mechanism and an aluminum body. The technologies “tested” on this engine were later implemented in all Corolla engines. Power steering with hydraulic assistance became available as an option for the first time, taking the car’s comfort to a new level for the driver. This was also influenced by the peculiarities of the American market, on which the car was planned to be supplied in large quantities.

The interior of the car is a celebration of Japanese minimalism with elements of high-tech. The dashboard, though styled according to the trends of the time, does not overshadow the instrument panel. Under the “visor,” there are also some buttons and switches arranged horizontally, deflector vents for the heating system. The cigarette lighter conveniently placed within reach of the driver’s left hand – the designers were definitely thinking about smokers in those years!

In 1980, record-breaking assembly line performance was recorded: 2,346 cars per day! This resulted in the one-millionth Corolla in 1983, for which a special “One million edition” was created. In the same year, the next generation started entering the market, which further solidified the reputation and admiration for the modest “budget” car. Its name was *E80, and it was in this generation that the famous “Hachiroku” AE86 made its debut. But that’s a completely different story, and in 1984, all *E70 modifications, except for the wagon (which managed to stay in production until 1987), left the assembly line. A new era was dawning, the last for the rear-wheel-drive layout of the Corolla. We will definitely tell you more about it when the time comes.

The material was worked on by:
Text: its_sokol