The Corolla E10 was the first generation of cars sold by Toyota under the Corolla name.
The Corolla was launched in Japan in November 1966 at a Japanese dealership sales channel called Toyota Corolla Store. Eiji Toyoda said it took hard work to create popular demand, and disputed that Toyota rode a wave of private car ownership that was taking off in the mid-1960s. The Corolla’s major competitor was the Datsun 1000, released a few months earlier, along with the Subaru 1000 earlier in May. Its companion, the Toyota Sprinter, was sold at a different dealership sales channel called Toyota Auto Store. The Corolla’s development was largely influenced by the success and lessons learned from an earlier, smaller vehicle called the Toyota Publica, which used an air-cooled two-cylinder, boxer-style engine, inspired by the Citroen 2CV. The dealership that was named after the Corolla in Japan was previously known as the Toyota Public Store, to sell the Publica.

The initial car, the TOYOTA KE10 COROLLA COUPE series was small, with a 90 in (2286 mm) wheelbase.The transmission was by a four-speed floor shift manual transmission or a two-speed floor or column shift automatic transmission, with rear wheel drive. At the time, floor shift transmissions were considered only for trucks and 4 speeds implied that the engine did not have enough torque to drive through only three gears (more torque allows each gear to have a wider spread of engine revolutions, thus requiring fewer gears). This was a big risk for Toyota but the effectiveness of the new system gained in popularity.

The suspension in front was MacPherson struts supported by a transverse leaf spring beneath the engine cross-member, with leaf springs connected to a solid axle in back.

The engine was originally meant to be for the under 1000 cc tax class but was changed late in the design process to be 1077 cc in order to beat the forthcoming Datsun 1000. In Japan, this put it into a 1000cc engine road tax class but gave it some prestige over the Datsun 1000 – helped by its “100 cc advantage” advertising campaign. In August 1969 the engine was upgraded to 1166 cc. Special twin carburettor K-B (1077 cc) and 3K-B (1166 cc) engines were used in the SL grade models for an extra 13 PS (9.6 kW).

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