TOYOTA’S diminutive KE20 Corolla became a legend in Australia for its rugged simplicity and reliability, even if it only had 7hp and couldn’t hills with a passenger on board. Tim Skillicorn’s example fixes this with a 600rwhp turbo LS hidden between custom frame rails and a bucketload of fabrication work!
“I found the Corolla on eBay in Melbourne in 2012, says Tim. “It was already done with an LS in it, but it was naturally apsirated with a cam, and that’s about it. I took it for a quick drive and it leaked oil out the rocker cover, and the whole car went from there. I had only driven it around the block once and then pulled it down and redid it completely.
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Brand: Chevrolet LQ9 6.0L
Induction: FAST LSX-R
ECU: Haltech PS2000
Turbo: Garrett GTX42
Heads: LS1 #241 castings
Conrods: Callies I-beam
Pistons: JE forged
Oil pump: Melling
Fuel system: Aeromotive A1000 pump
Cooling: South Coast Radiators custom radiator, Davies Craig electric water pump, twin 12in Flex-a-Lite thermo fans
Exhaust: 4in turbo-back
Ignition: LS1 coils, MSD leads
Gearbox: Two-speed Powerglide, transbraked
Converter: Slingshot 4000rpm
Diff: Ford 9in, Strange Centre, 31-spline billet axles, full spool, 3.5:1 gears
Front: QA1 coil-over struts
Rear: QA1 coil-over struts
Chassis: Full chassis rails, tubbed rear end, coil-over strut front, four-link rear, Watt’s link
Brakes: Infiniti Q45 discs & calipers (f), Falcon discs & calipers (r)
Master cylinder: Wilwood
Rims: Custom Steel Wheels steelies; 15x4.5 (f), 15x9 (r)
Rubber: 145/80 (f), 275/60 (r)
Troy Worsley from Warspeed Industries; Jason at Gear Exhange; Al’s Race Glides; Dale and Chris from Castle Hill Exhaust & Performance; Rick from South Coast Radiators; Kyle from Hi-Octane Performance Coatings; Anthony at Maatouks
“The body itself is all original, but all the tinwork and chassis front-to-back is all new, Tim continues. “It’s got full rails front-to-back, a tubbed, four-linked rear end with a Watt’s link, nine-inch diff, and it is tech inspected and approved for the ’cage, too. The tunnel and floor have been raised, as this gives more clearance for the exhaust. That custom four-inch exhaust connects to an iron LQ9 six-litre truck motor built by Troy Worsley from Warspeed Industries, wearing a giant Garrett GTX42 turbo hanging off the side. While they’re renowned on the internet for making 1500hp on a stock bottom end, Tim’s LQ9 now rocks Callies I-beam rods and JE pistons, while LS7 lifters handle the job of transferring motion between the 232/242 cam and the Trend pushrods.
The six-litre wears cathedral-port LS1 #241-casting heads, topped by a carbondipped FAST LSX-R intake manifold, while a Haltech PS2000 ECU controls all the vitals and a custom radiator from South Coast Radiators keeps the whole lot cool on the mean streets of Sydney. On 10psi and sucking a gutload of E85 from the boot-mounted fuel cell, the little KE20 spat out 600rwhp, which should be more than enough!
“I haven’t felt the urge to go retune it. For the street it is plenty of power, Tim laughs. “I’ve always wanted to compete in Jamboree and events like that, but I’ve got a few things that I’d like to do before the car is ready to compete. Behind the LQ9 is a Slingshot 4000rpm torque converter and an Al’s Race Glides-built Powerglide packing a transbrake for nose-up launches, while Gear Exchange handled the nine-inch diff. The heavily narrowed nine-inch under the Corolla’s tiny bum copped a Strange Centre and 3.5:1 gears, 31-spline billet axles and a full spool.
“It doesn’t go around corners too good, but it is meant to drive in a straight line, says Tim. “I wanted to keep it all tucked out of the way, and make sure everything was under the bonnet line and hidden. I also tried to do it all properly the first time, and then enjoy it from then on. I’m s happy with it.