1977 Toyota Corolla

“Rock n Rolla”

By: Jared Govender

Edition 70

Some cars are able to transcend the boundaries of being just a means of transportation, for the Matadin’s, their 77 Rolla has become a family heirloom that has been passed from father to son for 3 generations. 

About 40 years ago Shaiur Matadin’s grandfather asked his father Ron to choose numbers and play the weekend lottery for him. As fate would have it, those 5 lucky numbers resulted in Shauir’s grandfather winning the jackpot, which in those days was R3500. While that sum of money may be just about enough to buy yourself a set of second hand rims these days, back then it could buy you an entire car, in this case a 1977 Toyota Corolla. And it has remained in their family ever since, being passed down from grandfather to his dad Ron and eventually to Shaiur himself. 

When he inherited the Rolla it was completely stock standard and in need of some urgent pimping. It had the factory fitted 1600cc lump with a lazy automatic transmission and that was ultimately the reason for the impending transformation that lay ahead for the modest baby blue Toyota. Shaiur began to cotton on to the fact that a retro cruiser done correctly would give him way more street-cred than a Velociti with a cone filter, which was the order of the day at the campus parking lot. 

So Shaiur began researching and trolling scrapyards for donor cars and eventually found an original Toyota SR5 that was being stripped for spares. He pounced on it and salvaged everything he needed to convert his car to manual including the gearbox, clutch, pressure plate, flywheel and even the clutch pedal. After the conversion was done, he was well and truly bitten by the modifying bug and he continued searching for “go faster” bits deciding that he wanted in 1800cc 3T powerplant to replace the underwhelming 2T motor. Once he sourced an engine, he sent it off to FullRace for some fettling.

The bottom end was balanced using new KS pistons and a knife-edge crank, while the original 2T head was ported and flowed with a set or TRD dual valve springs being added into the mix as well. A brace of 40mm Weber sidedrafts ensures that this Rolla now performs in a way that the stock car never could while a 100mm Jap box at the rear gives off a raspy growl when the loud pedal is mashed into the floor by Shaiur. With the performance of the Rolla now sorted, he turned his attention to the exterior and styling. He figured that all the car really needed was some subtle things to freshen it up but instead of using JDM parts he opted for Golf Mk1 bits like a duckbill spoiler, crosshair headlamps and wheel arches and they suit the car perfectly, annoying some old school VW fanatics in the process. 

The final piece of the puzzle was the sound installation and Shaiur and Ron tackled this task in-house opting for Kenwood headunit up front and a pair of RF Punch 10-inch subs at the rear. Everything in between like the amps and splits are from the XTC Hooka series and the combination of these components make this car on rockin’ Rolla.