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Daniels’s AE71 Corolla – 8/2/14

Although my main motivation for cruising down to Streetkarnage‘s Halfway Hangs was to catch some of the best drifting around, another big reason for making the journey was to see some of the cool street cars that typically reside in Sydney. Cars like Daniel’s AE71 Corolla.

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Although we do have a fairly large community of KE70 / AE71 Corollas in Queensland, it’s not often that I get to see one that’s been so well looked after, let alone with such a consistent attitude to styling displayed across the car.

In fact, I think they key here is tasteful restraint. Although the height and wheels certainly do draw some attention to the car, it’s really only on a second glance that they can be taken in. For anyone spotting the car driving down a residential street, it would be easy to forgive them for overlooking the car completely. And yet, up close there’s more than a few details to savor.

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Small things like the JNC and Option 2 stickers, complimented by the factory gold pin-striping really do go a long way to showing the owners broad understanding of automotive culture. The smooth melting pot of automotive culture continues inside, with an immaculate silver Nardi Classic steering wheel, supported by a modern Works Bell quick release. Even the driver’s seat, a locally made, FIA and ADR approved Velo GPT-2 fixed back seat sits atop a classic, high-quality Bride FO rail.

Instead of getting caught up in buying exclusively period correct parts, or just opting for new off the shelf, it’s great to see someone really assess and obtain quality components and make them work together, regardless of their origin or age. However, it must be said that the real work has taken place under the body.

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You see, Daniel isn’t just any regular car guy. Daniel actually owns and operates a rapidly growing company known as JDM Wheels, providing importation services to international clients, as well as personally importing and stocking a wide range of aftermarket parts and rare, desirable wheels. As such, simply chopping the springs on this old girl wouldn’t do at all, and instead nearly every suspension component has been replaced or modified to allow the old chassis to sit low, and corner flat.

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Working down the body, a Cusco Type OS strut brace holds the front together, with the rear towers linked by a super-rare Run Free rear brace. The shocks and springs are provided by AE86 BC Coilovers, linking up with GRP4 Fab Caster Rods, an adjustable GRP4 Panhard Rod, XT130 Corona LCAs and TRD AE86 Swaybars. All new Superpro Bushes were fitted to restore the original crisp handling feel, and JDM AE86 front calipers with QFM A1RM pads on slotted rotors help the AE71 pull up hard.

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All this suspension and steering work culminates in a car that handles dependably, even whilst running some of the largest kyusha shoes around. Tucking under the modified rear guards sit a pair of massive Impul Hoshino G5 wheels in immaculate condition, measuring 13 x 9 -22 on the rear. The fronts aren’t any less respectable either, running 13 x 8 -7 G5’s all day – every day. Although the engine and drive-train hasn’t been fiddled with too much yet, running a 4AC with a 32/36 DGEV Weber through a 2″ exhaust to a 4.11 locked diff, Advan AD05 and Federal 595 SS’s help keep the car predictable, yet fun.

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All of this culminates in one of the coolest AE71’s I think we have in Australia by a long way, though I’m led to believe that it’s nowhere near finished yet. I just hope that I can be nearby when the new engine and drive-train get bolted down. Until then though, the benchmark has been set very high indeed.

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