My desire for a road-going corolla started not long after I got my KE70, long before I was considering a peanut. The KE70 sedan I owned was never destined for the road, but I always envisioned developing a killer engine and driveline to swap into a road car. I never got that far, but the KE70 still had lots to do with the rest of this story, so you’ll have to keep an eye out over the next few posts.
What’s a Peanut?
Peanut is the global nickname given to the second generation (E20) corolla two-door sedan. Coupes were known as Mangoes. 🙂 The second generation really captured my attention. The ’70s might not have been the USA’s heyday for automotive design but a lot of Japanese designs found their stride. It’s said that the KE20s are ‘coke bottle’ styled, trading stoic, uptight body lines of the first generation for curves and contemporary highlights.
This daydreaming then turned more often to Gumtree browsing, and late in 2014 I found a listing for a 1974 KE20 two door sedan rolling shell. It was a reasonable price and it was at least worth a look to see what sort of condition ’20s were selling for. There are plenty of potential alarm bells for rolling shells, mainly in terms of completeness and condition. I was surprised to find this one manageable for both. I took a stack of photos and pored over them that evening, myself still learning what to expect of the ins and outs of a KE20. Only a handful of parts were missing from an otherwise complete but dismantled shell. This particular shell had been resprayed a while ago and while even the second lot of paint was at the end of it’s lifetime, inspection and even tapping around with a magnet suggested that there were only a few usual weak spots in terms of serious corrosion, and hopefully no undue use of body filler.
I arranged the cash the next day and picked it up at the end of the week. These cars are compact; I used a standard flatbed tandem axle trailer!
I towed the Corolla to a shed where I could store it without it getting in the way, and work on it as time and funds permit. The only tricky bit is that it was a three hour drive away! But there were other advantages to that location, which you’ll see in due course. 🙂