HANDS up whose mum or nanna had one of these Toyota Corollas when you were a kid? Betcha it didn’t have a silly big turbo with 26psi boost, an ANDRA-teched safety ’cage and the gravy to run 10s over the quarter-mile!
Complete with the patina of four decades on Aussie roads, this little KE55-series Corolla is owned by Brodie Villis. Fans of Japanese performance know that Toyota has some good ‘little big’ engines in its range, but this one is packing a Nissan CA18 four-cylinder under the bonnet. It was already in the car when Brodie bought it from a trailer at a car show. He’s been having a stack of fun with it ever since and put plenty of effort into it for its Drag Challenge debut.
The CA18 was built by Jason Ghiller (owner of the sleeper XD Falcon that took home DC17’s Quickest Ford and Quickest Six awards) at Tunnel Vision.
The short story is that it’s packed full of forged goodies with a 9.5:1 compression ratio and breathes through a Garrett 35/66 turbo and a beautifully crafted Custom Plenum Creations intake.
The gearbox is a Paul Rogers Performance-modded Powerglide with a 3800rpm converter, and the rear axle is an ex-Aussie Skyline BorgWarner spooled diff located on a set of coil-overs that hang from the strengthened shell – there’s B Custom-fabbed reinforcing from the The car was running in Haltech Radial Blown at Drag Challenge 2017. “I’m just here to have fun and hopefully run consistent 10.1s at each track,” Brodie said on scrutineering day.
But things didn’t go according to plan.
“It all started as we drove out the gate at Adelaide,” Brodie chuckles after the event.
“We had a broken wire somewhere in the harness, so we had to fix that. We got another 500m down the road and a MAP sensor shat itself. So we fixed that; then later that night our roof rack collapsed!”
There were problems on-track, too, that took three days and three tracks to diagnose. “We were constantly chasing why it wouldn’t launch off the line properly,” Brodie explains. “Throwing more nitrous at it didn’t work. Eventually I found an actuator line was loose. It was doing 14-second passes, but at least by the end of Swan Hill [Day Three] it was doing a 12, so we were heading in the right direction!”
Brodie juices the Corolla on E85 and he ran out during the long commute back to Adelaide, necessitating a petrol tune to be enabled in the Haltech. However, thank heck, Brodie managed one almostclean pass back at Adelaide, netting a 10.81@127mph. Yay!
“To be honest,” he laughs, “I’m amazed I made it!” front strut towers to the rear of the car. The rear tyres are a fat-for-a-Corolla 255-wide.
Class: Haltech Radial Blown
QUICKEST FOUR-CYLINDER Engine: Nissan CA18 four-cylinder CYLINDER Turbo: Garrett 35/66 Transmission: Powerglide Converter: TCE 3800rpm Diff: 4.11:1 Power: Not dynoed Previous PB: N/A Best Drag Challenge Pass: 10.81@127mph