Corolla stuns the world

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By PAUL GOVER

EV­ERY­ONE has a Toy­ota Corolla story.

How can they not, when the Ja­panese hero is now the world’s all-time favourite with a pro­duc­tion to­tal that has just topped 40 mil­lion cars.

Based on those num­bers, the Corolla is nearly twice as pop­u­lar as the Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle with 21.5 mil­lion sales and even fur­ther ahead of the T-Model Ford at 16.5 mil­lion, although it has had the ad­van­tage of sell­ing at a time when far more peo­ple ev­ery­where in the world own and drive cars.

My first ex­pe­ri­ence of the Corolla was in the 1960s, soon af­ter the orig­i­nal cars landed in Aus­tralia.

By the stan­dard of the times, and we’re talk­ing here about Fal­cons and Kingswoods and Valiants, it was tiny and tinny but also solid, sensible and smartly priced.

I was only a rider and not a driver at the time, but it also had a fun fac­tor that was miss­ing from other cars of my ac­quain­tance — and you have to re­mem­ber that an Austin Free­way cringed in our sub­ur­ban Syd­ney drive­way.

The orig­i­nal Corolla hel- ped ig­nite a small-car rev­o­lu­tion and laid the firm foun­da­tion that now has Toy­ota ram­pag­ing along as Aus­tralia’s favourite car­maker, with an­nual sales that trump the com­bined ef­forts of Holden and Mazda in the other podium places.

In Amer­ica, the Corolla— and Honda Civic— is cred­ited with the rel­a­tively re­cent bank­ruptcy of Gen­eral Mo­tors and Chrysler.

Look­ing back to the US in the six­ties, it be­came the ‘‘sec­ond’’ car in many Amer­i­can house­holds and won over women and young­sters driv­ing for the first time.

They went Ja­panese and never came back.

Does that sound fa­mil­iar?

Since the late 1970s I’ve driven ev­ery new Corolla model and had some fan­tas­tic fun on the side, in­clud­ing flat-out track laps in pur­suit of an Aus­tralian rac­ing cham­pi­onship and sev­eral for­est fights in the Aus­tralian Rally Cham­pi­onship. And a Corolla has never let me down.

And that gets me think­ing about the Honda 750 four.

You see, the Honda stal­wart from the sev­en­ties was tagged as the Uni­ver­sal Ja­panese Mo­tor­cy­cle be­cause it could do any­thing, from high-speed pur­suit du­ties with the High­way Pa­trol po­lice, to daily com­mutes, to tour­ing the world be­fore long-dis­tance mo­tor­cy­clists switched to BMWs.

In the same way, the Corolla should be known as the Uni­ver­sal Ja­panese Car.

It’s as sensible as an ac­coun­tant, as de­pend­able as a bul­let train, and as pre­dictable as a new tech toy from Ap­ple. It’s also a bank­able in­vest­ment on the sec­ond­hand scene and will never of­fend or an­noy.

It doesn’t have the at­ti­tude of an Alfa, or the per­for­mance of a Porsche, but a UJC is just fine and we have 40 mil­lion sig­na­tures to prove it.

This re­porter is on twit­ter @paulwardgover

The Toy­ota Corolla could be called the Uni­ver­sal Ja­panese Car be­cause it is sensible, de­pend­able and good value

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