As usual posts and commentating will happen tomorrow. On a time crunch to finish a few assignments and readings BUT have enough time to give you guys a story. Hope you enjoy! :)
Before I begin, I would like to thank you all for reading this. Took me a while to collect some pictures and information based on the cars I stated above. Would like to thank those who waited for my return with patience, I am forever grateful and those who are kind and friendly with myself and those surrounding them!
With that, let’s begin on this story of the history of Corollas especially those that were owned and kept over the years, moreover what we have gained and lost in the people’s car of today! Of course this may make some bored and question, “Why talk about a Corolla if it isn’t the AE (insert number) series?”. Truth is, if it wasn’t for Toyota making Corollas in the beginning, we would have VW Beetles as the people’s car and if it wasn’t for the Corolla itself, such manufacturers would not have competition. But that is for another blog ;)
Of course this is an opinion/ story time with Papa Parmesan hence some facts may be true and some opinions may be a bit bitter, but I do hope you enjoy the nostalgia and have a laugh here and there. With that being said, lets drive down memory lane Starts Little Yota and drives into the distance!
If anyone remembers the 90s, it was a buffer decade between the 80s and 2000s. Sure you had the rise of PCs and TVs in households and the reduction of the 8 inch to now the popular 3 inch save icons becoming a trend, there was a rise of technology within automobiles that excelled (and hindered) many cars of the day. Sure you have ABS and anti-lock brakes becoming more present, but the bulky tech wasn’t as “healthy” for the car in terms of weight and restrictions of emissions or safety. But who could forget the sweet tape decks many of us had! Aside from popular cars in the late 90s, many tend to forget the early predecessors of what was believed the first for many companies to do that gave rise to their famous nameplates. Though there are many cars from different manufacturers to talk about, I would be recalling a specific company for what they have done. Maybe it would not please everyone, though you do have to admire its success and perhaps beauty.
The 1995 Toyota Corolla LSX. Sure you had drum brakes, though disc brakes were becoming a thing. Of course you had a typical auto in the 1990s with a tape player, radio and if you were lucky, a 4 speed automatic. Though the speciality of this year, was the fact it had something more. 4 Dolby Speakers, leather seats (which later I learned it was custom made for the dealership as an advertisement of their business), cruise control (40km/h baby) and an unusual high wall tyre V4 of a block. Got you a month’s (or 2 if you push it) worth of fuel before you filled it up.
The nostalgia is real since it was the family’s first car and my childhood car. The LSX badge was made for the Canadian market which was quite rare (even forums across the web know very little about the car). It was the first (in my opinion) for Toyota to make it to the FWD scene. Weighed a lot less than your cars later in the 90s, which meant by today’s standard it would be a king in fuel savings. From what I read, apparently airbags was an option for early 1990s Corollas (which I don’t know if it is true) though the LSX model got you 2 front airbags (standard) and an optional 5th seatbelt (in the middle behind the gearbox) and an optional delete of the tape player (when radio was still king for our parents)! Wasn’t as fast in top speed but had a punchy throttle but it was a marvel of engineering as imports were gaining traction with their fuel efficient cars. Though that would change later in the 90s, with the 1995 model coming out!
As the 90s kept rolling, of course the fuel prices began to drop and SUVs were becoming more popular. So popular that their tyres would become like mush and endanger their passengers (recall of the Firestone/Ford controversy). However, the rise of these beastly econoboxes, also birthed the sweet imports we all can recall (I.e. Toyota Supra, Nissan GTR R34), which no doubt shaken up the markets and sparked interests of many.
While the noise and tons of eyes, hearts and empty wallets dwelled with these “super cars”, the Corolla did suffer a bit. Sure you did have the typical tape player and radio (standard), 4 speed automatic, FWD layout, the design was lackluster. Thinner plastics on the bumper and an all plastic dash with little design point made it really cheap. From a recall of my memory, it indeed felt like a car that was made to drive from A to B. You will still see some of them on the roads today (in North America at least), though their bodies and parts itself could be ideal for a drift car (pun intended) due to the not so hidden plastics of the E100 series. Was rather dissapointing to drive. Wanted to be something more, yet I could of taken the engine and strapped it on a go-kart to get some thrill.
Though as the 90s kept rolling on, Toyota introduced a few other vehicles while others had been phased out. Some designs were found elsewhere on their lines of production (i.e. Toyota Cressida’s exterior design paved way for the Toyota Camry) and some engines were found on multiple cars (i.e. Pontiac Vibe and Toyota Matrix shared the same 2 ZZ-GE), Toyota developed an intriguing engine block otherwise known as the ZZ engines. You may be wondering why mention the block as of now than before. This block (and the entire ZZ family), replaced the iron cast 4A blocks which were not as highly optimized for economy and torque like the ZZ is. More importantly, the ZZ engine style were quite popular with outside manufacturers like Lotus for a brief period of time.
The 2001 Toyota Corolla CE (which is also my car A.K.A Little Yota/Parmesanmobile), was the last generation of the first generation of the ZZ known as the 1 ZZ-FE. Between 1999 to 200, the 1 ZZ had an ideal HP to Torque ratio (123HP/122lb ft) aluminum block. For it being 2001, it was not a prime time for many manufacturers to build such cars as safety and emissions began to take grip, forcing auto manufactuers to come up with new ways to build cars. The car itself had 2 front air bags and has ABS (standard) Like many Corollas from the 1990s to esti. 2003, the brakes were 2+2 (2 discs at the front, 2 drums at rear), where the drums served as the E-Brake (which reduced repair cost in an event of breakage). It also had three trim levels (VE,CE,LE) which had very little variations. It came with a CD player where a small bump would cause the needle to skip, a radio and a 4 speed auto or 5 speed manual, FWD. Interior is surprisingly well put together. Yes the plastic is still there but some panels have a “squishy” feeling (in which many manufacturers are adding that to every car nowadays, the colour choices are a bit bland however.
The arrangement of speakers were also odd, 2 at the front doors and 2 at the rear behind the passengers. It drives fairly nice (as the body is probably one of many light weight cars you can find). As you may wonder, does this engine last long. The previous engines (4A series) according to some forums can go up to 1 million kilometres without any hassle, though the opposite is true with the ZZ engines.
Because of this optimization of fuel economy and it being an aluminum block, maybe it reduced the block lifespan up to 300 000KM. Though we shall find out once Little Yota reaches there very soon! She would need her intakes clean (because oil burning 1 ZZ), but the drive is quite fun! It is quite dumpy in the sense if you take a corner (and with a little practise and luck), it would take it like a champ. Of course FWD have that understeer/oversteer imbalance, but in the winter (on a private road or cool neighbours), it is quite fun!
Fast forward to 2006 and the Corolla is no longer the traditional car you knew…
I like to call these Corollas, the “chubby Rollas” as it is slightly rounder and somewhat sleek looking. This version of the Corolla had the typical 4 speed auto/5 speed manual and if memory recalls the CD player issue was resolved, the structure was more sound (no wind noise unlike the previous generations), VV-TL-i /// 1 ZZ-FE continuation with a better build quality and addressed issues of the previous block makeup of the same family of ZZs.
The drive on the chubster was a bit of a throw off of the cars driven before. The input of the throttle would be quite sensitive to the point one can make burnouts at the stop light (for us heavy foot drivers). For passengers it was quite roomy and you can listen to your tunes without all that road noise. Only set back of this car was the exterior styling. It may sound a bit harsh, though it is understandable it was another “phase” for the Corolla’s styling to smooth out and staying competitive with other cars within its class. Though, nearly a decade later, we have the 2015 Toyota Corolla, known as the “ironed out” model. Still with every generation of the Corolla (and many other automakers), there are some flaws, but takes a mind and a bit of heart to appreciate them.
2015 Toyota Corolla, where can one begin! A quiet yet large interior, lots of leg room at the front and back, a media screen and its accessories (i.e. AUX jack), heated front seats, cruise and a button for traction control, what more can someone ask! [ADD ENGINE INFO], an engine that does not want to rev nor want to be floored. If you do that, it would make a loud whine followed by nothing (went from happy to bleh in 2.2 seconds). Like the 2006, it is sensitive in throttle response but catches the brakes easier. Since it is an LE, I suppose the windy windows may be an option, though caught both myself and my father off (after all we are old school folks), we could not help but to play with the button for a bit before bringing her home. Steering response is also quick (thanks to the electronics), the touch screen however was a bit of a nuisance rather than a use media tool. Sure you can listen to your tunes or radio and see through the back up camera and all the airbags one can wonder, but some things are rather left in their analogue form (i.e. radio) since these things do not last for a good while. Also, having a screen can b a tad bit distracting though co-driving can sometimes eliminate the need to fiddle with the technology on board.
One thing I was not prepared for was the pillars. I wonder how can one see through the side in an event to turning (A and B pillars are just enormous). It may sound as if I am bashing on the car itself, though I do appreciate what Toyota has done. After all, it is roomy and does save fuel when it can, I am overall proud that the Corolla history is still running within our family and that my parents are glad for this new chapter of life. It may be my parents car but as a fellow petrolhead, I am its caretaker and would do my best to take care of her as long as I can.
You may be wondering, Parmesan why mention this history? Well since the newest addition to the Parmesan family, it caught my attention of how many Corollas we (as a family) have driven over the years and the memories it gave us.
If you were to ask what would be my favourite, it would always be the 1992 Corolla LSX. As small, light and rare it was, it was something more. A first car for my parents when they emigrated, first car I spent time in as a child, all the travels across cities and town and the first and last to live in an era where CD and computers are king. Sure you have older cars from the 1980s, but who saves a (possible) first FWD, tape player ride? Moreover who saves a Corolla? It is like the Ford Falcon or a VW Beetle, they were made to go to and from places while saving fuel. They were small cars, underpowered, family orientated, cheap and made for the masses, but once they reached the end of their lifespan off to the crusher they go. Some cars are saved from the impending doom thanks to media exposure, some are just waiting for someone with a heart to appreciate its flaws or its design as a whole. What ever it may be, these type of cars gave rise to other famous nameplates (i.e. Corolla to Cressida or Avalon)
Thanks for reading this blog/ story/ opinion based article. Yes I am back and regular postings will happen very soon! Been quite busy with school and with family. Do miss you all, but I hope to see you guys very soon around the comments or other posts you have :)
Got any questions and comments, do let me know! Again I am glad to be back and hope to write another article! :) Hopefully next time talking about biology and automobiles!