1972 Toyota KE20 – Dub City – 192
We’ve all seen them in toy stores, and most probably have thought, Damn those look good! Classic 1:24-scale models dumped over huge wheels and displaying about the same anatomically correct proportions as a Barbie doll. While there is no denying that DUB City models look great, attempting to emulate such a build in real life would take some serious work to get the car functional, and to not just be something that sits in your shed looking cool. For Morgan Corkill this is exactly what he set his mind to do when he took to his newly acquired 1972 Toyota KE20 Corolla with a grinder. Not afraid to jump head first into the project it soon escalated into a full-on custom build, but the end result was well worth the blood and sweat invested.
Always a fan of the early Corollas, when an opportunity came knocking to purchase one, Morgan jumped at it. His workmate had ripped into the KE20 and stripped it back bare with all the intention in the world to follow through with the project, but for one reason or another progress slowed and soon stopped altogether, and Morgan was offered the KE20 in a hundred pieces. The injection of new life into the project quickly saw it freshly painted and back on the road. Then, after a few months of driving, Morgan started scheming about building the KE in the DUB style. So off the road it came and NZPC’s favourite weapon of vehicle destruction — the grinder — soon made short work of all the rear tin work. Morgan whipped up a set of large tubs and a new, larger, diff cover in preparation for the big new wheels. Morgan’s progress on the project slowed though as other things gradually moved up the pecking order of his available time, and the longer he reflected on his handiwork, the more he didn’t like the look of it: “I thought that the new tubs looked shit and were too square, so I cut it all out and started again. At the same time I also made a new channel in front of the diff to support the four-link suspension, and added new supports for the rear coilovers. We then shortened and fitted the Hilux diff with the wheels I was wanting.”
Those wheels in question thankfully weren’t as big as the ones on the DUB models, instead they were a pair of 18×10-inch Diezel D1Rs, which is a much more appropriate size for the tiny KE20.
The front end was another completely custom affair: with a set of 17×7-inch D1Rs destined for the front tubs and a ride height extremely close to terra firma, Morgan had no option but to tub the front end as well. For suspension he went with a set of S14 Tein coilovers. The front cross member was also grafted from an S14 and every arm replaced with adjustable items. To compete the under-car work a new gearbox tunnel was built to house the RX-7 gearbox that would be backing the 13B bridgeport turbo engine, which also required custom mounts.
With the running gear sorted it was onto the bodywork. The car was stripped bare and rolled onto its side using a makeshift rotisserie. The underside, being almost all-new steel, was etched, primed and under-sealed. With the help and guidance of Scotty from S.I.B Classics work on the body panels began. A new driver’s side sill was made up with recesses for the planned side exhaust. In turn, the rear panel was also remade to remove the recess left for the factory system. Special attention was also paid to the guards, which were wire-edged, a process rarely seen in these pages. With the custom work out of the way the entire body was hammered and filed to perfection, a job that is not only extremely time consuming but also a very demanding skill to master. With all the panel work complete, a full Spies Hecker restoration paint system was applied. With such a perfect paint and panel job Morgan wasn’t about to ignore the bolt-ons. Both bumpers were hammered and filed before being sent to be re-chromed along with the door handles, hinges and latches.
The first outing for the car was the V 4&Rotary Jamboree in 2011, and it literally stopped the NZPC staff in our tracks — admittedly in the first instance because of its gigantic wheels. However, a vehicle like this can hold your attention for quite some time. As you look over it you discover all those custom touches, like the Altezza dash, while there are other hidden details that probably will never get noticed, things like the fact that both front and rear screens have been glued in to give the car a more modern look, or the hidden bonnet hinges; but whether you notice all these touches or not doesn’t matter because they all contribute to the overall look.
Of course we wanted to feature it, but the problem was a week later Morgan was on a plane headed back to Australia to work. On his return he found time to get everything finished to Vehicle Certifier Neil Miller’s required standard and the KE20 became 100-per-cent road legal. Then the next day we managed to pin him down long enough to shoot the car, which was then locked away, as he was again off, this time to work in London.
When he does return home there are plans to drop in a much more powerful 13B. You see, Morgan wants to put those large rear feet to work on the drag strip and hopes to run 10s, a feat that shouldn’t be too hard, given the Corolla’s weight and modern suspension design. We can only hope he returns home soon because cars like this need to be out there being driven and being seen.
This article is from NZ Performance Car 192. Click here to check it out.
1972 Toyota KE20 – Tuning Menu
ENGINE: Mazda RX-7 S7 13B 1300cc twin-rotor
BLOCK: Bridge-ported plates, sump baffle plate
INTAKE: Custom 400x200x80 intercooler, Amsoil air filter with custom cold airbox
TURBO: Garrett TA51
WASTEGATE: TiAL MV-R 44mm
BOV: HKS Super Sequential III
EXHAUST: Custom steam-pipe manifold, 2.5-inch downpipe, twin two-inch system, twin custom Coby mufflers
FUEL: Custom 48-litre drop tank, three-litre surge tank, Carter high-volume lift pump, 2x Bosch 044 main pumps, Tomei fuel regulator, Bosch 1680cc primary injectors, Bosch 2000cc top-feed secondary injectors, braided fuel lines
IGNITION: Bosch coils, 10mm leads
ECU: Link G4 Storm, MicroTech X4 ignitor
COOLING: Alloy radiator, 14-row oil cooler with braided lines
EXTRA: Custom idler pulley on water pump, custom thermostat housing, custom filler and bleed point for water system, turbo beanie
GEARBOX: Mazda S7 RX-7 five-speed
CLUTCH: Exedy Extreme heavy-duty pressure plate, six-puck brass-button clutch plate
DIFF: Modified Hilux LSD
STRUTS: (F) S14 Tein Super Street coilovers (R) Subaru wagon A’PEXi N1 coilovers
BRAKES: (F) R32 four-pot calipers, slotted R32 rotors (R) N14 Pulsar calipers, R32 slotted rotors
OTHER: KE70 master cylinder, custom adjustable triangulated four-link, Nissan S14 front cross member, custom adjustable lower arms, custom adjustable caster arms
WHEELS: (F) 17×7-inch Diezel D1R (R) 18×10-inch Diezel D1R
TYRES: (F) Nankang NS-2 185/35R17 (R) Nankang 265/35R18
PAINT: Full bare-metal restoration, hammer and filed panels, full Spies Hecker restoration paint system
ENHANCEMENTS: Wire-edged all guards, handmade driver’s sill, handmade rear apron, hammer and filed then re-chromed bumpers, detailed front and rear windscreens glued in giving more modern look, re-chromed door handles, hinges and latches, fully detailed underbody
SEATS: Racepro RP2
STEERING WHEEL: OMP
INSTRUMENTATION: Custom-fitted Altezza dash, Capital speedo, rev counter, fuel level, water temp, boost and oil pressure
OTHER: Tubbed rear end, new hood liner, new carpet
POWER: 212kW (285rwhp) (until new engine goes in)
Morgan Corkill – Driver Profile
Occupation: Refrigeration technician
Build time: On and off for four years
Length of ownership: Five years
Thanks: Dad; Scotty at S.I.B Classics,
ph. 07 829 8771 or 021 205 5699; Andrew Watt at Top Town Tyres; Neil Miller at Modified Vehicle Certification
Words: Marcus Gibson Photos: Adam Croy