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1974 Toyota Corolla - Red Rocket

This Is One Unforgettable, Classy Little Badass

Chuck Tee
Sep 1, 2008
Photographer: Scott Dukes
130_0809_01_z+1974_toyota_corolla+side_view Photo 1/17   |   1974 Toyota Corolla - Red Rocket

In this month's Back in the Day section, we bring you a 1974 Corolla. This second-generation Corolla has been dubbed the "mango" due to its small, compact, organic shape. Paul Aguas' mango maybe classy red on the outside, but inside it sports a beefed up 1854cc 2TG heart.

Having a normal job unrelated to cars and only working on the Corolla as a side hobby, it took Paul five years to complete his dream. During that time, he had to source parts from all over the world; from Japan to Australia to the Philippines, Paul patiently collected and built. Being a systems administrator and drummer, he wanted to build a nostalgic car from the ground up, along with having the pride of driving something he built himself.

130_0809_04_z+1974_toyota_corolla+front_view Photo 2/17   |   1974 Toyota Corolla - Red Rocket

"I am not a mechanic by trade, so this was something that I did without prior experience. I learned a lot about how every part works. Not being mechanically inclined, this was all new to me. And this was mainly a backyard build; almost everything was done in my garage with the help of friends."

Although Paul wasn't mechanically inclined before, he wasn't new to performance cars. Previously owned cars include a 1995 BMW M3, 1992 MR2 Turbo, 300ZX and a BMW X5. Once you go turbo, you never go back-well, I guess that can be true in this case. After having a couple turbo cars, the boost junkie decided to turbo his Corolla. Paul previously had a 4AG in a different second-generation Corolla and even thought about doing a rotary engine swap in this particular build. He had several engine choices to make good power with. But he had strict consideration with the philosophy behind choosing parts for an old skool project. Using a 2T-G would be much more "OG" and adding a turbo would give him the ability to make big power gains. With forged Arias pistons and Eagle rods, Paul took a 2T-G and bulletproofed it for boost. He also decided to increase the bore to 87 mm and stroke to 78 mm, bringing the 1588cc displacement to 1854cc.

Keeping the era-specific motor wasn't the only classy or nostalgic thing Paul did; on the outside you'll notice the era-specific Speed Star MKII wheels. Nothing beats having an old skool car with old skool wheels. From the outside in, Paul has been very particular in choosing his parts.

Although the car is beyond pretty and worth more than most would pay for it, it is driven almost daily on the street. The car is not built for the racetrack or car shows; rather, this is the outcome of a streetcar hobby that became an obsession. In his obsession, Paul came across several barriers, including lack of an aftermarket turbo kit and fitting the newer W58 transmission in place. Lots of fabrication and modification had to take place to make it all happen.

Soon, Paul will be upgrading the brake system. And after that, he plans to upgrade the turbo, rear differential and gearing. Like most of us, his car project has an end.

Fast Facts
'74 Toyota Corolla

Owner Paul Aguas
Hometown City of Angels, CA
Daily Grind Systems Administrator/Drummer

Under The Hood
1854cc 2T-G, 87mm bore x 78mm stroke; 8.5:1 Arias pistons; Eagle rods; ported head; Isky dual valve springs; 250cc RC Engineering injectors; Aeromotive fuel regulator; Walbro fuel pump; HKS intake; Toyota Supra throttle body; custom Rene Motor Sports exhaust; custom manifold; NGK spark plug; MSD wires; T3/T4 turbo; Greddy Type S blowoff valve; HKS wastegate; Turbonetics intercooler; HKS EVC 5 boost controller; 3T-GTE oil pan

W58 five-speed transmission swap; AE86 LSD; ACT 6 puck clutch

Haltech E6X

Stiff Stuff
Ground Control front coilovers; Hill Climb rear; Tokico struts/shocks; SuperPro polyurethane bushings; Addco front sway bar

Speed Star MKII 15x7, 15x8

bodywork by Mang Sonny; Chili Red paint by Alex Auto Finish; aftermarket fender flares

Recaro seats; Auto Meter gauges; Momo steering wheel

My wife and son for their support, Mario Agno, Perry Cuesta at QC Autosports, Rene Franco Jr., Bisimoto, Labjoy Angeles, Lynar Mango, Biboy Angeles, Robert Reyes, Eric Comia, Patrick NG, Dino Del Rosario, Kou Vue, Mang Sonny, Kiyo Enari, Frank Tan


By Chuck Tee
3 Articles



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