Corollas still light up the car scene with its lean look. CREDIT: Crispin Duncan

The old trusty of the car world has just got to be the Toyota Corolla.

They just kap aan forever, are usually inexpensive to fix, and you get parts for them in most places.

So when this kwaai shoot by Shahiem Bell of TPDZ Media and Events parked off in Bobby Nitro’s inbox, he started to reminisce about all the times he had enjoyed in just such a cabbie.

But that was the 90s, and most of those cars are still running. These three are from around that time themselves, when they made cars like they used to.

Proud owner of the red 1995 Corolla 160i (dubbed Colowla) is Luqmaan “Mr TRD” Cornelius, who is 29 years old and originally from the beautiful Garden Route in George, but currently living in Mitchells Plain.

The yellow 1989 1600GL (called Sarolla) is owned by Allister Ernstzen, 27, of Portlands.

He blames his dad for getting him hooked on Toyota.

Luqmaan says: “I’ve always loved cars. Back when I still played video games the majority of my collection was car-related. My room and school books were always covered in car pics and posters and I used to drive my friends crazy by saying that a car should have only one thing… simplicity.”

Asked why Corolla, he says: “Well, it is an extremely reliable car and user-friendly. Many people learnt how to drive with one and if by chance something should break [which is really rare] you don’t have to sell your soul to have it fixed.”

With regards to his take on the car scene, he says: “I was always a ‘less is more’ type of guy. I prefer a boot full of cleaning products and lappies over a boot full of spanners. But it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to work with my hands.”

Allister concurs, saying: “I like the clean and fresh look, not too much done and keeping it standard.”

Luqmaan continues: “I like my paint work to be clean and shiny and whatever is black to be moderately ‘Labello’d’. When it comes to customising, I like to do things that make you look twice and wonder what is really different on that particular panel.”

Allister (who happens to work at Wrapmaster) vinyl-wrapped his entire vehicle in satin yellow, imported front and rear lights and fitted 15inch 8.5j Schnitzer rims with 165/50/15 Dunlop tyres.

Luqmaan has kept the engine pretty standard, just a Powerflow branch and free flow system.

He reasons: “It has never let me down so I don’t really want to mess with a winning recipe.”

Exterior-wise, Luqmaan fitted aftermarket crystal headlamps, debadged the grill and fitted a custom twincam chin lip on the OEM 2 slot bumper. Thinking ahead, he added quick release clips to the front bumper to allow movement when entering steep driveways or to remove the bumper to prevent damage. The windows are tinted, there’s a large tilt and slide sunroof and the OEM twincam fin with JDM garnish.For the drop, he has gone with coilovers, saying: “I trust the old-fashioned metal spring more than driving on a rubber cushion of air. Yes, air is more convenient but the thought of something going wrong around a bend is just scary.”

Allister went for Maxtrac coilovers, saying they are “ideal for racing and to adjust the height for slamming at car events”.

His next project on the vehicle is to fit a 3sgte turbo-charged engine, a colour change and a sunroof.

Luqmaan is more conservative, looking only to tuck the engine bay up “to make it show friendly”.

In keeping with that, he says: “I would really like to own and drive a restored and slightly customised Morris Minor woody wagon and a super-low bad-ass looking Ford F100.”

Allister, who wants to drive a Supra one day, says: “My Corolla is not just a car to me, it’s my first car, and it was my mother’s first car so it has sentimental value. That’s why I spend all this money and time on it, because one day I can tell a story about my first car. So that’s my story on my little Toyota Corolla.”

Luqmaan, who works as a Specialist Engineering Artisan for the City of Cape Town, says there have been memories with this car: “I’ve owned the car for nine years so it has seen the birth of all three of my kids, seen us move houses, change careers and meet so many great people. I would just like to thank my wife who put up with me through all these changes.”

Shoutout goes to Toyota Club Owners (TCO) and Hoodfresh.”