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Daily driven: James Horner’s ’77 Toyota Corolla Deluxe (KE35)

23 December 2019




Name: James Horner // Age: 25
Location: Christchurch // Occupation: Engineer

NZ Performance Car: Hi, James. You’ve owned your fair share of Toyota steel. What made you buy this KE35 and how long have you had it?
James: Hey NZPC. I’ve always wanted a KE35. My mate spotted this Deluxe in a paddock and posted photos of it online, but said he wasn’t going to try to buy it. He told me where it was and how much the previous owner wanted. Turns out I had driven past it for ages but never spotted it sitting there. I bought it back in November 2014.

What condition was it in when you got it?
It was very tidy apart from one side that had damage. It was a one-family car from new — the previous owner was showing his wife how to drive and she managed to hit the only other vehicle in the paddock and dented the whole driver’s side. I’m the second owner and it’s done just over 96,000km — I got it at 75,000km.

Being such an original car, why did you choose to start modifying it?
It ran a bearing not long after I got it. So I decided to work the 3K, swap out the auto transmission for a five-speed manual, and lower it. It’s now just under 1400cc and has the biggest camshaft you can get for a 3K.

And how does it go now?
Goes well for a wee 3K.

You mentioned it’s a Deluxe instead of an SR; what extras does that give it?
I guess it sort of missed out, but then also didn’t. It doesn’t have a rev-counter dash, it was single carb and automatic, but, at the same time, it does have the better trim, chrome, and interior.

What does it get used for mostly?
Sunday drives. I’ve driven it to Auckland and back from Christchurch twice, and I usually take it out for things like fours and rotors [4&Rotary South Island Champs].

Is there any more you want to do with it?
Yeah, side-draft carbs and rev-counter dash.

Sweet! Cheers for the yarn, James.

1977 Toyota Corolla Deluxe (KE35)

Engine: Toyota 3K, 1400cc, straight-four; ported-and-polished head, F29 camshaft, upgraded valve springs, re-jetted 3K B-Twin carburettors, aftermarket headers, two-inch exhaust
Driveline: Toyota K50 five-speed, lightened flywheel, BorgWarner diff
Interior: Hidden head unit
Exterior: Resprayed factory yellow, Deluxe grille, Deluxe chrome, Deluxe bonnet with chrome vents, louvres
Wheels/tyres: 13-inch Cheviot Hotwire, 215/50R13 Nankang Prestige
Suspension: (F) lowering springs, shortened shocks; (R) reset leaf springs, OEM shocks
Power: No
Fuel type: Petrol