1. 1966 Sprinter - Today Toyota builds 1.5 million Corollas worldwide every year, but 50 years ago the company’s beginnings were humble with this quite pretty car, actually. Even though the Corolla was launched in 1966, it wasn’t until 1968 that export markets like the US started getting them, and when people realised you could actually buy a reliable car that started when you expected it to, the face of the auto industry changed forever.
2. Convertible ‘Rolla - A drop-top Corolla might sound ridiculous today but believe it or not there was a US coachbuilder in the Eighties by the name of Griffith who did some fine business turning Toyota’s TE72 generation Corolla two-door into a Toyota Corolla SR5 Convertible Griffith Limited Edition. Fancy.
3. Corolla GT - Before it became a synonym for commodity design, the Corolla really had some fun times with enthusiasts. This little hatchback packed a big punch with its high-revving 16-valve engine when it went on sale in the early Eighties as the Corolla GT in 1983.
4. AE86 - The legendary Hachi-Roku (Japanese for eight and six) is today the darling of the drift world and when it premiered in the 1980s the AE86 could be had in a variety of body styles and designs, but all came with rear-drive and a screaming 4AGE engine with a design influenced by Lotus’ twin-cam four-cylinder.
5. Levin GT-Z - The E90 generation Corolla was the beginning of the end for most fun Corollas but there was still time for the fantastic front-wheel drive Corolla Levin GT-Z featuring a supercharged 4AGZE 1.6-litre engine serving up 165bhp. Considering an M3 of the day in the late Eighties only had 30 more horsepower, this car was quite the undercover sleeper.
6. RunX RSi - While the rest of the world wallowed in the Corolla’s beigeness throughout the 2000s, South African enthusiasts got themselves a Corolla with 190 horsepower, called the RunX RSi and featuring a 1.8-litre four-cylinder that peaked at nearly 8,000rpm. Its slick six-speed manual got a lot of use, then, and 0-100kph took about eight seconds. A proper hot-hatch.