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Dorikaze Corolla History Title

1st Generation Corollas
KE10, KE11, KE15, KE16, KE17, KE18

Japan's growing middle class thought the Publica (Toyota's entry level car in the early 1960's) was too boring while the Crown and Corona were too expensive for them. At this time, a Toyota engineer called Tatsuo Hasegawa had noticed that the Opel Kadett was doing very well in Germany. The Kadett was a very light car that looked good, was fun to drive and was replacing the VW beetle as the car to have in Germany. Hasegawa designed the Corolla around the same ideas as the Kadett. It was sized between the Publica (700cc) and Corona (1500cc), looked classy, had modest power, yet was economical and inexpensive.

Management originally wanted to use an existing 1000cc engine but it was heavy and low powered. Management only let them design a new engine as long as they could find a use for the old engine in another product - so they put it in a truck. The Nissan Sunny (also called the Datsun 1000) was to be released a few months earlier than the Corolla with a new1000cc A10 engine, so Toyota ordered the engineers to increase the engine by 100cc. This was hard to do so late in the design scedule but it was done. It also raised the Corolla into the next tax class but this gave it more prestige with Japan's growing middle class. It was advertised as "the 100cc advantage" and "the extra 100cc gives extra comfort".

Ad the 100cc Advantage
(The 100cc Advantage Ad [circa 1966])

At the time, Japanese owners prefered a 3 speed column shift - more gears meant more gear changing (a sign of a weak engine) and floor shifts were for trucks. But America was going to 4 speed floor shifts, so Toyota decided to go with the new trend before other Japanese companies did.

The new factory was built with the latest automated and computerised facilities. Lower production costs reduced its selling price to Y432,000 - 5% lower than the Sunny (Datsun 1000). Combined with disc brakes, 4 speed floor shift and MacPherson suspension, it outsold the Sunny by 35%.

The Corolla was sold under 2 names - "Corolla" and "Sprinter". The Corolla was offered as a 4 door sedan, a 2 door sedan and a 2 door van but not as a fastback coupe. The Sprinter (never called a Corolla but sharing most parts) was offered only as a fastback coupe.

Corolla's first export destination was Australia in November 1966.
By March 1968 more than 3000 cars were being exported to many countries every month. In April 1968 the Corolla was introduced to America. Its selling price of US$1800 catapulted total US sales to 71,000 that year, 130,000 in 1969 and 208,000 in 1970.

- from Wayne Stephenson's Corolla Production page

 

DK Flag 10 Series 1100cc Sedan - 1966
1966_corolla_ke10.jpg
(1966 Corolla 2DR Sedan KE10)
 

Name: Corolla
Engine: 1K
Chassis Code: KE10
Style: 2DR/4DR Sedan
Production Start Date: Nov. 1966
Production End Date: Aug. 1969
Market: Japan Americas World

 

DK Flag 11 Series 1200cc Sedan - 1969
1969_corolla_ke11.jpg
(1969 Corolla 2DR Sedan KE11)
 

Name: Corolla
Engine: 3K
Chassis Code: KE11
Style: 2DR/4DR Sedan
Production Start Date: Sep. 1969
Production End Date: Apr. 1970
Market: Japan Americas World

 

DK Flag 15 Series 1100cc Sprinter Coupe - 1968
1968_sprinter_ke15.jpg
(1966 Sprinter Coupe KE15)
 

Name: Sprinter
Engine: 1K
Chassis Code: KE15
Style: Coupe
Production Start Date: Mar. 1968
Production End Date: Aug. 1969
Market: Japan Americas World

 

DK Flag 16 Series 1100cc Wagon, Delivery Van - 1967
1969_corolla_wagon_ke16.jpg
(1969 Corolla Wagon KE16)
 

Name: Corolla
Engine: 1K
Chassis Code: KE16
Style: 2DR/Wagon
Production Start Date: May. 1967
Production End Date: Aug. 1969
Market: Japan Americas World

 

DK Flag 17 Series 1200cc Sprinter Coupe - 1969
1970_sprinter_coupe_ke17.jpg
(1970 Sprinter Coupe KE17)
 

Name: Sprinter
Engine: 3K
Chassis Code: KE17
Style: Coupe
Production Start Date: Sep. 1969
Production End Date: Apr. 1970
Market: Japan Americas World

 

DK Flag 18 Series 1200cc Wagon, Delivery Van - 1969
1969_corolla_wagon_ke18.jpg
(1969 Corolla Wagon KE18)
 

Name: Corolla
Engine: 3K
Chassis Code: KE18
Style: 2DR Wagon
Production Start Date: Sep. 1969
Production End Date: Apr. 1970
Market: Japan Americas World

 

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