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'grumpy' The Jdm Rt104 Corona


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Hello everyone!


Now I realise this is 'Rollaclub' but there isn't a big fan base for Coronas- and Corollas are the next best thing! :P


I'm a long time reader and after reading many build threads I've decided it's time to make my own.


My name is Stephen and I'm currently in my second year at university. This build began way back in when I was in Year 11 at high school- the moment I turned 17 and got my P's.


Firstly I'd like to thank my cousin Adrian for he completed all of the work on my car while I merely held the torch eagerly, trying to learn as much as I could.


You may ask "Why a Corona?"... So here's the story of how it came about.


My family has had a bright yellow 1982 Subaru Leone hardtop coupe since brand new and I was given this to drive. However, those crazy engineers that worked for Subaru back these many years ago decided it was a great idea (somehow) to make the Leone both Front Wheel Drive AND FRONT HANDBRAKE! WTF! How is a P Plater supposed to have any fun? So I asked my cousin who currently owns 6 RT81 Corona's, for a better car that I could buy and have all to myself. It needed to be cheap, as fast as a commonhore, and have 4 doors. Funny enough he told me to buy a Corona! =D


After researching these 18R-G engines and how they could be put into RT104 Coronas we set out to find to find one. After seeing a dumped on 16s and very shiny RT104 cruising around the streets with a Dominos pizza light ontop, Adrian and I decided that I would try and buy it off this P plater pizza boy. After waiting at Dominos for him to return, he explains that he loves his Rona and will never part with it (a feeling that now I share too), but he knew where a white, manual RT104 had been sitting for years and gave us the contact number, so our search continued. We figured that we would need to buy this one and use it a manual conversion donor after we found a overrated auto one to steal off a grandma somewhere haha.


We went and looked at it the next day (I think?) and after my first look at it I immediately decided it was too rough and that my cousin was dreaming lol. My cousin however had a different idea... After having a really good look over it he found all the glass in perfect condition and only a very small amount of rust. At this stage he was definitely more eager than I was and he assured me that if I bought it that it would prove to be an awesome car after he fixed it up. After haggling the seller (who was very rough himself lol) we agreed on $300 and that I would get heaps of spares including lights and a spare overrated grill from which was located at his family's farm. Unfortunately this was my first lesson in the hard world of being ripped off in the car industry- he changed his number and moved house. To this day I've never seen those parts...


So with Adrian's enthusiasm and my life-long savings this project began and continues to this day :). He's currently in the middle of his own 4A-GE KE70 build which I'm sure will a have a build thread of it's own soon enough.


I have many photos and build details to post so I'll reserve the next few posts in this thread and when I have some free time I will add more.


Below is a before and after shot. The before shot is the moment we got it off the car trailer and into our front yard. The after shot is at Eastern Creek Raceway as Grumpy lines up for scrutineering with all the other cars to attend the Drift Mob Wet Skid Pan event on 21/01/2012. If anyone here was at that drift day, the reason the car handled so poorly was 4 blown original shocks. The Bilsteins really made a difference. :)


Enjoy! XD


1975 Toyota Corona RT104 (York Motors Import)


Current Specifications!




18R-G engine (210 head) with:

9.7:1 compression, fully rebuilt head- oversized valves, heavy valve springs, reground cams to 877C spec by Tighe Cams, 44 mm Solex sidedrafts, dyno tuned to 102RWHP/76RWKW.

Custom choke set-up installed by Adrian - definitely needed where I live as the temperature often drops below freezing point.




New Bilstein B6 shock absorbers front suited to the HK Monaro 327.

New 22mm front sway bar (3mm oversized) by Mako Swaybars.

All suspension bushes replaced with new polyurathane bushes- Nolathane at the front and SuperPro at the back.

1977-85 Ford Courier (also double wishbone) front springs originally having the rate of 830 lb/in or 14.8kg/mm, now even stiffer with three coils 'removed'.

Reset rear leaf springs with two extra leaves added, 2 inch lowering blocks and new u-bolts to suit F series diff conversion.




Reconditioned F series YR22 Tarago diff with new TRD 2-way LSD (to suit Altezza) imported over from TRD NZ.

Custom Tailshaft

W-50 gearbox with shift rebuild kit put through it, tight shifts with but syncro gone between 1st and 2nd as usual.




14 x 9 - 19 (front) and 14 x 8.5 -13 (rear) Type R Watanabe racing wheels all round, restored and powdercoated in matte black.

195/60 Yokohama ADVAN A048 semi-slicks up the front.

185/55 Federal 595s on the back.




Front guards have had 2 inches of guard professionally cut out, extensively pumped, re-rolled lips to maintain stockish shape and flares added.

Rear guards professionally pumped as far out of as possible and lips rolled also with fibre glass flares added.

15% window tint all round.

Fibreglass lip, zip-tied as necessary :P.

Old school restored JDM fender mirrors.




1st gen Celica tacho customised and rebuilt to fit in the factory clock position within original dash (hours of work by Adrian and instrument shop).

Retrimmed Recaro racing seats in the front modified to fit on RT104 seat rails by engineering shop, covered with slip-over seat covers that have the old Toyota emblem.

Kenwood Head Unit with MB Quart (40WRMS) front 2-way 6" speakers and Kicker 6x9" speakers (100w RMS) in the back.

Genuine Momo 'Cavallino' steering wheel (taken out of my dad's old RX3 300HP PP 13B rally car).




Custom handbrake cables and accelerator cable.

New clutch master and slave cylinders.

New brake master cylinder, new pads upfront, new shoes and cylinders for the massive rear Tarago drums.

Tow-bar removed.

Handbrake inconspicuously (hidden by stock cover) modified; drilled to take a pin in order to keep button pushed in.


Good condition replacement parts found and installed:


Fender turn indicators.

Corona grill badge.

Rear bumper.

Rear tail lights.

Boot chrome strips.



Edited by InSaNiTy
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This is Grumpy after we got it back to our house after hiring a car trailer and towing it home. As you can see it could really use a bit of TLC :).


At this stage I didn't realise that this little old Corona would be the cause of being broke for the next few years.


The goal was to first clean it and then Adrian said we needed to prepare it for blue-slip- I didn't even know what a blue-slip was at this time LOL.














Edited by InSaNiTy
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This is Grumpy after a clean. I was feeling much more confident in this old Corona now, looked presentable! It tooks hours and was the first clean it had experienced in year. I think this was the first time I'd even been in Supercheap Auto but I spent enough for about 10 visits... new seat covers front and back, new battery and lots of little bits and pieces like spark plugs, spark plug leads, oil, brake fluid etc.


Adrian did all of the mechanical work while I tried to follow what was going on. The fuel tank and lines were completely blocked and the whole tank had to come out and get flushed. Had to use the air compressor on the fuel lines. I then sat in the car and operated the pedals as Adrian bled the brakes and clutch lines. There was some very muddy rusty and awful stuff that came out of them lol. Adrian also installed the new plugs and leads and finally got it started and we drove it like 100m up the side of the road and back (there are truck parking bays out the front of our house). We didn't get far before we noticed the clunking and slapping noise coming from the engine. Adrian pulled the cam cover off the old 18R-C to find the timing chain guide had snapped in two and has fallen down into the timing chain. After some efforts of inventing a contraption to hook around it, Adrian got the chuck of timing chain guard out. I still have the chunk of it somewhere haha.











Edited by InSaNiTy
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The first three photos are of Grumpy's first proper drive- back home to Walcha (80km away) after passing blue-slip and getting plates! I was so excited! Adrian followed beheind driving LEONE! so it could be returned to dad lol.


I had now removed the pin stipes which I believed were too 80s at the time lol, I also spent HOURS touch-up painting the car because I was too poor for a respray haha.


To give you an idea of the effort it took to touch up the car- 3 touch-up paint pen thingies have gone into the car... It's hard to tell in the photos but this has done wonders for the car's appearance. :)


Yes... that's right... that's the one.. the ONLY... 1982 yellow Subaru Leone hardtop coupe!


The fourth photo is a photo taken a few months later, immediately before it's first road trip to Sydney. :)





Edited by InSaNiTy
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Now as a typical teenager, I wanted to modfy the car... Put a big stereo in, wheels, tint etc... Now I had decided since my car was far from overrated (and I was happy with this- I live on a farm and wanted to do skids/learn how to drive) that it needed to be tough.


So after spending hours browsing through forums, in particular AE86DC, I had concluded that I wanted Watanabe Type R racing wheels and that they had to be genuine. I wanted wide and offset. And this also introduced me to the concept of guard scrubbing haha.


In one weekend road trip to Sydney we had managed to get the windows tinted at 15% in Blacktown (only $170 - under half the price they charge here in the country) and a good job at that. We got it done there on recommendations from different forums and our friend who took this photoshoot with his WRX STi. With the tint still drying we drove from one side of Sydney to the other to pick up 14 x 8.5 (front) and 14 x 9 (rears) Watanabes! :)


After driving on them, we quickly worked out that we needed to extend our bump stops dodgily to avoid the tyre bending my guards :(... so with Adrian's dodgy idea and a Bunnings store with an empty car park, the wheels were fitted for the sheer purpose of doing this photoshoot! =D


After the photo shoot, we left Sydney the following morning (Monday) to begin our big drive back to Tamworth. Just as we were leaving we saw a fibreglass factory on the left and decidided to pull in joking about how funny it would be if they just happened to have a set of flares to suit my car. We couldn't believe it when we walk in and tell them our story and they say "Yeah we have one universal set out back, somebody ordered them and never picked them up." So we test fitted them and to our disbelief they fitted and covered just enough of the wheel to hopefully tell Mr Officer that the wheels in fact weren't protruding from the guards LOL! :P So we bought them and drove back home, feeling like we achieved a lot from a single weekend! :)



















Edited by InSaNiTy
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