Old School

Sprinter, Trueno, Star­let. Let’s talk Corolla SR for a change.

Top Gear (Philippines) - - Contents - WORDS BY NIKY TA­MAYO PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY MARK JESALVA

Men are, by na­ture, inquisitive an­i­mals who are into pok­ing, prod­ding, dis­man­tling and... uh, re-mantling... no, re­build­ing me­chan­i­cal con­trap­tions as a mat­ter of course. Call it a hobby. Call it a curse. But most of us have done it at one point or another in our lives.

But at 12 years of age, a time when most of us were cut­ting our teeth on Tamiya rac­ers or cheap RCs, Bo­chet Javier was al­ready work­ing on the real thing in his fa­ther’s work­shop. Here, he learned how to re­pair and re­build ev­ery­thing from Amer­i­can mus­cle to Ja­panese im­ports, up close and per­sonal. A lit­tle too close, at times, as when an er­rant gust of wind slammed the hood of an old Im­pala down on the scrawny teen’s back, pin­ning him in­side the hot en­gine bay for hours.

Not one to let a lit­tle ad­ver­sity get him down, Bo­chet kept on wrench­ing. Soon, wrench­ing turned to rac­ing, as he and his Corona Ma­cho, souped up with Isky cams and high-comp in­ter­nals, prowled Or­ti­gas Av­enue dur­ing the hey­day of pre-EDSA street rac­ing. In his later, calmer years, he found him­self work­ing at the old Toy­ota Ala­bang deal­er­ship, un­der Mike Lee, tin­ker­ing with ev­ery­thing from Corol­las to For­mula 3 race cars. Petrol­head heaven for this avowed Toy­ota lover.

It’s a love he con­tin­ues to this day with his lat­est build—a blaz­ing or­ange ’76 Corolla SR. While at first glance, it sim­ply seems like a well-re­stored and mildly dressed Corolla, there’s a lot go­ing on un­der the hood. The Corolla’s stock 3K en­gine didn’t re­main stock for long, get­ting up­grade af­ter up­grade be­fore be­ing yanked in fa­vor of a beefier, pe­riod-cor­rect 2TG. Bo­chet poured two years of time and money into this mo­tor, be­fore fi­nally pulling it in fa­vor of a newer 4AGE pow­er­plant. So de­tailed was his build that he got P150,000 for the 2TG from an ea­ger buyer.

True to form, Bo­chet couldn’t leave well enough alone with the 4AGE. While it still re--

mains stock in­ter­nally, save for a mild port and pol­ish, it boasts a neat cus­tom ex­haust and dual We­ber 40 car­bu­re­tors, pol­ished ve­loc­ity stacks hint­ing at fire-breath­ing po­ten­tial. The mo­tor takes pride of place in an an­ti­sep­ti­cally clean en­gine bay, with much of the wiring tucked neatly away. Power goes to the ground through an AE86 rear lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial and rel­a­tively mild 175/50 R13 rub­ber wrapped around

13in-by-8in Rota banana-type wheels. The car is also low­ered a bit, but not ‘stanced’ to death. Elec­tric or­ange paint aside, it’s a sub­tle, un­der­stated build that grabs you with its at­ten­tion to de­tail. No sav­age street racer, this one—it’s a daily ride that’s a de­light both to look at and to run.

The older, wiser Bo­chet frowns upon street rac­ing nowa­days, but his love of cars has not abated. It’s a fas­ci­na­tion that has him work­ing on cars 24/7, both at his new multi-bay ser­vice shop and else­where. While he does do main­te­nance and body work on new cars, he still prefers old-school rides, mod­i­fy­ing and tun­ing them for ea­ger cus­tomers with a sim­i­lar bent.

As for fu­ture plans for his own pet project? Bo­chet feels this build is per­fect as is. That said, af­ter the nu­mer­ous it­er­a­tions this car has gone through over the past few years, it’s hard to imag­ine it stay­ing this way for very long. What­ever fi­nal evo­lu­tion­ary step it might take. A 20V ‘Black­top’ per­haps? Only time will tell.

‘It’s a sub­tle build that grabs you with its at­ten­tion to de­tail’

Three-spoke Momo wheel and af­ter­mar­ket tach are so ’80s. We like!

The en­gine bay looks nice and clean. Wires are neatly hidden

The SR should be re­garded as much as other Toy­ota clas­sics

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