Akio_Toyoda_Toyota_Corolla

Happy 50th birthday Toyota Corolla! That’s right, one of the world’s best-selling (and most produced) nameplate celebrates its half centenary after the first-generation model was introduced way back in 1966. Marketed to nearly every market in the world, let’s take a look back at the history of the Corolla.

The first-generation Corolla (E10) was launched in Japan in November 1966, where it would compete against the Datsun 1000. Depending on markets, the E10 Corolla came with an inline four-cylinder engine in 1.1 or 1.2 litre capacities, mated to either a four-speed manual or two-speed automatic, driving the rear wheels.

By the year 1970, the Corolla had become the second best-selling import car in the US. In May 1970, the second-generation (E20) Corolla was launched, which had a longer wheelbase (2,335 mm compared to the first-gen’s 2,286 mm), and two new 1.4 and 1.6 litre engines. That same year, the Corolla became the second best-selling car in the world.

By the time the third-generation Corolla (E30, E40, E50, E60) was introduced in 1974, the world was recovering from the 1973 oil crisis. With big V8s being out of fashion and smaller capacity engines being favoured, the third-gen Corolla marked Toyota’s greatest growth in the United States

Malaysians will be well familiar with the fourth-generation (E70) Corolla, which was released in Japan in March 1979. Offered as a four-door sedan and equipped with the 1.3 litre 4K engine, the KE70, as it is known, is famous among collectors and tuners alike.

Initial D fans will instantly relate the fifth-generation (E80) Corolla to the AE85/AE86 (Levin and Sprinter Trueno) models. While Takumi’s (panda AE86) tofu delivery car was of the rear-wheel drive variety, the four-door sedan versions instead came as a front-wheel drive, the first-ever for a Corolla. The same year it was introduced in 1983, Toyota had produced its 10 millionth Corolla.

With the sixth-generation (E90) Corolla, the boxy look of old has been replaced with something a little more contemporary. This generation of the Corolla also marked the end of rear-wheel drive, and the adoption of all-wheel drive for the model.

The seventh-generation Corolla (E100) came around in 1991, and by 1997, the Corolla had already become the world’s best-selling nameplate. This was followed by the eighth-generation (E110) model, another model Malaysians are well acquainted with, which was powered by a 1.6-liter 4A-FE engine.

The ninth-generation (E120) Corolla was a locally produced model in Malaysia at the company’s Shah Alam plant, where it was sold as the Corolla Altis. Under the hood, a 1ZZ-FE 1.8 litre VVT-i engine produced 134 hp. In 2005, the 30 millionth Corolla had been produced.

The tenth-generation (E140) Corolla came around in 2006, with Malaysian introduction (still called the Corolla Altis) taking place in March 2008. Initially offered with 1.6 and 1.8 litre ZZ engines, the facelifted Corolla Altis came with the new ZR engine family, ranging from 1.6 to 2.0 litre configuration.

Malaysians never got the eleventh-generation Corolla (E160), which was sold in Japan and Hong Kong since 2012. Instead, the current Corolla Altis sold here is the E170. Here, the sedan drops the 1.6 litre offering, and instead comes in either a 1.8 or 2.0 litre engine offerings. The model also came with a more aggressive styling as well.

Though a twelfth-generation Corolla isn’t due to be introduced just yet, the current eleventh-gen 2017 Corolla has received a facelift in both Australia and the United States. The former would most likely be what Malaysians will receive once it is introduced here. In September 2015, over 40 million Corollas have been sold.

What are you fondest memories of the Toyota Corolla through the ages? Which generation would you say was the best and more interesting of them all? Let us know in the comments section below. And yes, that is current CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda’s personal Toyota Corolla.