If I had a choice between a blossoming 18-year-old college freshman and a refined 36-year-old mother of two, I'd be pressed to choose the latter. Older women are just flat-out sexier. They're mature, drama-free, established, confident and most importantly, they can teach me a thing or two about performing between the sheets. MILFs, cougars, whatever you want to call them; as Phife-Diggy would say, "I just want to rock their little men for inside the boat."
And if I had a choice between a 1990 Toyota Corolla GT-S coupe and a 1972 Toyota Corolla TE27, guess what I would go for? Point is: the older, the better, the sweeter the juice. Take for example Raymon De La Cruz's Sundown Orange Toyota Corolla. It's hands-down the most mesmerizing Back in the Day feature this magazine has ever had. We've had some formidable cars in this section: a 1972 Nissan Skyline GT-R straight from Japan, an SR20DET-powered Nissan 240Z, a Mugen-inspired Honda CRX; the list is as long the toilet paper you're holding in your hand, given you're dropping the deuce, which is likely if you're reading Super Street.
Raymon's car is classified as a TE27. If you're not familiar with the Corolla family of cars, you've stopped at the right paragraph. The Toyota Corolla was first introduced in 1966, and it's been said that since then, one Corolla has been sold every 40 seconds. That's roughly the same rate a teenage boy thinks about sex on a daily basis. The first generation was between 1966 and 1970, also known as the E10 series. The second generation, or the E20 series, was in production between 1970 and 1978, all of which were front-engine rear-wheel drive layouts.
The only major difference between the U.S. and JDM versions were the engines. Naturally, the better engines stayed in Japan while the U.S. was left with mediocre motors. The TE27 was the hard-top coupe of the family which, relatively speaking, was the older brother who played starting quarterback, boned the lead cheerleader (and her best friend) and was accepted to Yale. In Japan, the TE27 was better known as either the Levin or the Trueno, familiar names to those AE86 geeks out there. In the U.S., however, it was called the Corolla SR5 and equipped with a 1.6L engine, running a stout-for-the-time 102 hp, which brings us back to Raymon's car. As impressive as the factory engine was back in 1972, I'm sure the manufacturers never envisioned the TE27 to ever perform with an engine that produces 190 hp.
Raymon's version of the TE27 runs under the power of 2.0L 3SGE, which can originally be found inside a 1986-1989 Toyota Celica GTS and is capable of producing impressive numbers; in this case, 190. The "G" series engine is a true DOHC, where both cams are externally driven and the valves are spread outward at a wider angle. It also came with a steel crankshaft and bushed rods. In other words, it was a bad-ass engine off the lot. Raymon, with the help of JD Recto of TNT Motorsport, added JE pistons, Redline fuel pump, dual side-draft Mikuni carburetors and ported and polished the head; all of which makes this strong engine even stronger.
Of course, a 36-year-old transmission couldn't possibly take the brunt of this high-power engine. So Raymon replaced the tranny with a W-58 from a 1989 Toyota Supra, installed an ACT clutch set and a TRD quick shift, and smiles every time he chirps out of his driveway. But the first thing you'll notice when you look at his car is the wheels. The TE27 chassis is dropped on top of a set of 13x8 ultra-rare TRD Toscos with lips so fat you'd think they invented Botox for rims. They are wrapped around in a set of Pirelli stickies and roll deep with a hybrid suspension system. Raymon replaced the front suspension with one found in an AE86 and just added a set of KYB short stroke shocks. In the rear, he left the springs stock and replaced the factory shocks with a set of Tokicos. Along with the Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings, the TE27 gives out a stiff and maneuverable ride, not bad for a cougar. Rawr!
The second thing you'll notice, unless you're downright colorblind, is the wet-look paint job. Picasso'd by the folks at PJ Bonifacio Auto Design, the TE27 was stripped bare like it was in county jail, sandblasted, covered in two coats of primer and painted with the sparkling orange you see before your eyes. Fun Fact #1: The paint can be found on a 2002 Volkswagen Beetle. But despite all the engine and chassis work, Raymon still believes the most special part of his old-school ride is the original metal fender flares, which apparently are harder to find than Osama Bin Laden. These fender flares widen out the car and just make it even sexier, like adding more curves on Beyonce. When asked how he came up on such a rare find, he simply replied, as most Pilipinos do when they don't want to share their secrets: "I solve all my problems through the Pilipino connection." One word: major!
It's rides like this and tuners like Raymon that make me appreciate the passion people have for modifying cars. It takes a lot of work to restore a car so old, but to also make it as pretty as if it just rolled out of the dealership is simply admirable. This is the main reason why featuring an old-school ride is important. The Corolla alone from the TE27 to the AE86 has established a firm foundation for this sub-culture we call tuning, and without people like Raymon giving homage, we'd all just be tooling around, lost. In other words, go find yourself a cougar or a MILF, and treat her like the queen she is!
'72 Toyota Corolla TE27
Owner Raymon De La Cruz
Hometown Gardena, CA
Daily Grind MTA Maintenance
Power 190 hp @ 6,000 rpm