January 20, 2022 By Francis G. Pallarco Photos By: by Mariony Dela Cruz

Hard to Find: This modded old school station wagon is not your average grocery getter

Hands down, the Toyota Corolla is one of the most popular cars ever to originate from the land of the rising sun. As proof, it is still in production which explains why it is often associated with words such as durable and dependable. But a huge part of its continuing allure has to do with the hardcore old-school enthusiasts.

These are the ones who continue to collect, restore and modify Seventies-era Toyota’s of varied models. The only problem is finding a forty-year-old car that’s still suitable for restoration that these days seems close to impossible. In most cases, the car could either be too rusted-out to repair or just too expensive that the owner isn’t ready to part with it yet. But what if you luckily stumbled upon a 70’s era bare wagon body shell with no engine, a few glass panels, what seems to be a dashboard, tired suspension with crappy steel rims, and three flat tires? While some may cringe at the thought of rescuing such a heap of junk or simply pass it off as scrap metal.

Hard to believe, but that’s exactly the case here with our featured car. Being a hardcore Toyota enthusiast, the owner immediately noticed that the languishing body was actually a TE-Series, 2-door wagon, making it quite a rare find. Back in the day, the TE-Series Corolla was only offered locally as a two-door coupe or a four-door sedan.

Unlike in Japan and the States where it was offered in a number of body styles like the station wagon and 2-door sedan/notchback. Upon close inspection, the engine and transmission plus the side marker lights indicate that this was indeed a U.S.-spec car that was imported way back. After deeming that the shell was still repairable, a deal was struck and he had himself a rare 2-door wagon, with a whole lot of missing parts. Emphasis on a LOT.

To the average enthusiast that seemed quite a huge problem, but if you happen to be the owner who’s none other than Pablo ‘Atong’ Ko of IchiBan Motor Parts. Sourcing hard-to-find Toyota parts doesn’t pose a problem. Being in the business of selling auto parts and having owned and collected a number of car-show winning Toyota’s, (including many TE-Series Corolla’s) he has amassed quite a stash that’s enough to resurrect/modify several cars. After some meticulous bodywork, he then set outfitting it with a plethora of missing interior and exterior pieces including the plastic trim parts, folding rear bench seat, and a lot of original OEM parts that he has kept for so long.

Judging by the quality of the front grille alone shows just how immaculate his parts really are. A number of rare trim pieces have also made their way onto the car, including the U.S.-Spec side markers, emblems, and such. At first glance, many of these might seem unimportant, but for the hardcore enthusiast and more importantly the owner, it’s an integral aspect that’s responsible for shaping the car’s unique resto-mod character. Some of the hardest to find are the 11,000-rpm, TRD tachometer, front and rear chrome bumpers with over rider, the U.S. only 5-mph bumper guard mechanisms upfront, and of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the proper wheels. In this case, it’s a set of uber-rare, 13-inch ‘Banana Type’ wheels made by TOM’S which is the first set I’ve ever seen and matching 80’s era Pirelli P7F tires that were the norm back then. I wonder how many of you still remember its unmistakably zig-zag-like, aggressive tread pattern?

Power-wise, the owner declined to put back the stock Hemi-head 3T engine that was in pieces, to begin with. Instead, he dropped a fully-built 2TG twin-cam engine for performance and longevity. The stock crank has been replaced with a 3T stroker crankshaft with 88mm forged pistons while the crossflow aluminum head has been ported, polished, and packed with oversized valves and TRD higher-lift 272 duration intake and 288 duration exhaust camshafts. Twin Solex side-draft carburetors deliver air and gasoline, while a custom stainless header sends the spent gases out back. Since this was going to be a cruiser and a legit U.S. version example, he opted to retain the stock automatic transmission giving it a unique character and a distinct reminder of its origins.

In my opinion, given the rarity and the faultless build quality, this particular wagon serves as a benchmark when it comes to building/restoring/modifying a TE-Series 2-door wagon. That is of course if you happen to find another one and have just the right parts.


1974 Toyota Corolla (TE28) Wagon U.S. Version

Pablo ‘Atong’ Ko

Ichiban Motor Parts

Engine: 2TG, Inline-4, 8v, DOHC,

Engine Mods: 89mm Forged Pistons, 3T Crankshaft, TRD (272-int/288-exh) Camshafts, Custom stainless header, SOLEX 40 carburetors (DCOE), Original roller throttle mechanism, NGK Spark Plugs,

MSD spark plug wires, Transparent Distributor Cap,

Transmission: 2-Speed Automatic Transmission

Interior: Reupholstered seats and door panels, TRD tachometer, OE Gauges,

Exterior: U.S. Version side marker lights and tail lamps, 5-mph bumper guard mechanism,

Front and Rear chrome bumper with over rider, Vitaloni Side Mirrors

Body & Paint: Anzahl Urethane Paint

Rollers: Pirelli P7F Cinturato Tires (195/55VR13), TOM’S “banana-type” Wheels (13×7),

Kudos To: Anthony & Jhoanna Claro,

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