1977 Toyota Corolla (KE30) – Sketchy Lines – 150
Pedey nearly loses control of his innards sitting in the passenger seat of this hardcore old schooler
Such a nice interior, I mused to myself while absent-mindedly stroking the acres of leather and suede cloaking the interior of Marc Willers’ 1977 Toyota Corolla. We were sitting on a deserted road in the middle of nowhere, while a herd of cows stood at a nearby fence, slowly chewing grass and staring at us expectantly, as if to say, “Do something interesting, we are so bored.”
I turned to Marc and began to ask the value of such a high-end interior, getting a mere few words out before he grinned, put the car into gear and squeezed on the throttle. The smooth green Corolla reared up on its haunches and bolted down the private country lane, violently snaking left and right through first, second and third. This car was fast. Scary fast.
As speed picked up, my options became limited. I could A) look like a sissy and cry out for a reprieve from the punishing acceleration and rapidly blurring countryside, or B) look for something to hold on to as all my willpower was diverted to keeping various orifices under control. I chose the latter, and prayed desperately for the strength to keep said sphincter oh-so-tightly puckered God forbid something terrible happening and this nice new interior I had just been fawning over being swiftly ruined by my own lack of self control.
Thankfully, big S15 Silvia disc brakes pulled us up with plenty of room to spare, and I could keep both my dignity and my tidy whiteys in one piece. “I’ve always liked scaring myself, ever since I can remember,” admits Marc. Clearly, it’s not just himself that Marc enjoys scaring, but everyone else, too. I’ve been in many a fast car, but there is something uniquely frightening about 400hp at the wheels in 1000kg of old, structurally questionable Japanese tin.
It is this 'scare myself every day’ mentality that, besides resulting in the build of this stupid-fast street KE30 Corolla, also directly results in Marc Willers being a very hard man to pin down for a photoshoot. As a professional BMX rider, Marc can usually be found in the States and Europe competing with the world’s best, so when trusty, dependable Facebook told us he would be back in the motherland for a few days, we jumped straight on it.
The sultry 1977 KE30 first came to our attention when we met Marc for an interview after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. We were aware he was a reader of the magazine but we weren’t prepared for what awaited us when he opened his garage door: immaculate custom green/gold paint laid over a nipped, tucked and shaved custom body, just for starters. Peering through the untinted glass reveals an interior awash with top quality leather and suede, and with some serious cash behind it. But it is what’s under the hood that really impresses. “When I first bought the car, it was a 1300cc two-speed auto that didn’t have enough power to spin one wheel, even on diesel, with people lifting it,” Marc explains.
“I decided to just go crazy on it, with the goal of beating my dad’s HSV Commodore. Although I considered going down the rotary route, I ended up getting this Nissan SR20DET motor and forging it for big power. It all just got out of control from there.”
It is fairly clear that pop’s Holden is no longer a challenge for this 400hp weapon of tyre destruction, titled NIZOLA (Nissan-Corolla), so what now for the little green machine? “I’ve already gone so far with this car and spent so much, there is no point stopping,” Marc tells us. “Next I’m going to upgrade the injectors, increase the boost and add a nitrous system.” Yeah, that’s a good idea Marc, because even more power seems the only sensible option for this old-school, arse-puckering, fear-inducing, oversized go-kart.
1977 Toyota Corolla (KE30) – Specifications
Engine: Nissan SR20DET 2.0-litre DOHC 16V inline-4, Eagle rods, Mahle forged pistons, ported/polished head, stainless steel exhaust valves, steel head gasket, K&N filter, Z32 airflow meter, 2.5-inch intercooler piping, Garrett T04S turbo, 600x300x75 intercooler, Blitz blow-off valve, Tial 38mm external wastegate, stainless steel exhaust manifold, Bosch Motorsport 044 fuel pump, Sard adjustable FPR, Sard 660cc injectors, 10mm fuel lines, Jaz fuel cell, 2.5-inch exhaust system, S/S Commodore mufflers, S14 Silvia radiator, A’PEXi Power-FC engine management system, GReddy Profec-B Spec 2 boost controller, polished 2.5-inch piping, aftermarket oil and water catch cans
Driveline: Nissan S13 5-speed gearbox, DVM flywheel, Exedy 5-puck clutch, shortened Hilux rear end, Hilux LSD, custom driveshafts
Suspension/Brakes: KYB shocks, adjustable platforms, Lovells 280lb front springs, 2-inch lowered leaf springs, Nolathane bushes, S15 4-pot front callipers/2-pot rear callipers, S15 discs, S14 master cylinder, FX-GT handbrake cable
Wheels/Tyres: 18×8.5-inch Zenetti Tracer rims, Falken 215/35R18 tyres
Exterior: Custom green/gold paint, shaved handles, shaved vents, shaved boot lock, shaved rear bumper, flared front guards, front LED indicators, 2004 Audi side markers
Interior: Full suede and leather re-trim, 4x bucket seats, Momo steering wheel, Splitfire boost, water temp, oil pressure, air/fuel ratio gauges, Capitol fuel, speedo, RPM gauges, Sony head unit, Sony 6×9 speakers
Performance: Dyno Power — 292kW (392hp) @ the wheels
Marc Willers – Driver Profile
Occupation: Professional BMX rider
Thanks: Dad, Sku @ Design Upholstery Rotorua
Words: Peter Kelly Photos: Adam Croy
This article is from NZ Performance Car issue 150. Click here to check it out.