The Toyota Corolla has become one of the most recognisable nameplates in history. In fact, with more than 46 million units sold in over 150 countries, the Corolla is also one of the best-selling cars in history, even surpassing the Volkswagen Beetle in 1997.

The Corolla traces its roots back to the KE10, first launched in Japan in 1966, and locally in 1968 when it rolled off the assembly lines of the Champion Motors plant in Shah Alam. As a celebration of the illustrious history of the Corolla, UMW Toyota set out to give the KE10 a new life with a complete restoration.

Corolla KE10 Reborn

It was a proud moment for us when we launched the 12th Generation Corolla last September. But what was truly humbling and a real honour, was being able to restore this iconic KE10 that was first assembled in Malaysia some 50 years ago. They say, from humble beginnings come great things. We take this opportunity to thank the people who worked behind the scenes for giving us an opportunity to see this icon on the road once again. Here’s a glimpse of the revival of our historic Corolla.#Drive❗ #AllAboutTheDrive #ToyotaMY

Posted by Toyota Malaysia on Wednesday, 8 April 2020

The Toyota Corolla KE10 used in this restoration has been sitting dormant for the past 15 years. As a result, the engine was completely seized, and the transmission non-functional. After a thorough check by project lead Khairil Anuar Sarmat, who’s a senior technical consultant in the company, it was found that two pistons had completely snapped.

Khairil initially anticipated issues in sourcing the replacement parts, but fortunately was able to find most of it online, mostly shipped from the Northern states interestingly. As for parts that they were not able to source, UMW Toyota’s engineering department took on the responsibility of refurbishing it into a working state.

“If we want to build something, we must have the interest. When we have the interest, the fun will follow, and then finally we can achieve our target,” said Kahiril.

While the KE10 restoration is a one-off project, its spirit will live on with the 12th-generation Toyota Corolla, which was launched late last year. We had a drive in the all-new Toyota Corolla during its launch, and first impressions were pretty good. Stay tuned for more Toyota Corolla content coming soon!

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Believes that a car is more than just numbers and facts, it's about the emotions they convey. Any car can be the right car for someone, but he'll probably pick a hot hatch over anything else.