E7 Hardtop! - March 3rd, 2023

I’m a huge fan of the E7 Hardtop Corolla

The simple 80’s square styling and long hood makes me feel like it could look good as a lowrider or muscle car. The suspension can be converted to AE86 parts for more sports car like handling. It’s RWD so engine options are wide open! There is just so much potential I see with this chassis and Luis Mercado saw it too!

Originally from Puerto Rico, Luis remembers his Dad driving to work, his Mom learning to drive stick and his Brother picking him up from school all in this same family car. His Brother parked the car and advertised it for sale after a break in but to Luis, it was the coolest car ever! At 16 years old he convinced his older Brother to pass the car down to him instead of selling.

The car sat for a bit before Luis took possession and during this time a rat got into the wiring. It took Luis sometime to learn how to work on the car and get it running again but he was successful. It became his transportation to high school as he fixed up the body and saved money to turbo the original 3TC engine. Later the car went through a complete refresh that included a 3SGE swap, new paint and some T3 parts!

Luis set out on his own and moved to Florida. He had to store the Corolla in Puerto Rico for 5 years until he could get his own garage space but he still had dreams of continuing the build! He shipped the car into the states a little over a year ago and has begun another refresh!

This time around the engine was swapped for an SC300 2JZ with W58 Transmission. The intake was modified with CNC flanges to adapt 6 Blacktop ITBs, the wiring was completely redone and tucked along with modifying the firewall to fit the larger engine. Tuning is handled with an ECUMasters EMU Black. Luis says the engine is like a mix of the 4AGE and 2JZ. The ITB’s sound exciting and the 2J’s low end torque means the engine doesn’t have to get revved out to have fun. He likes to drive it just to listen to the noises!

Suspension upgrades include Whiteline Sway Bars, T3 Camber Plates, Coilovers and Control Arms. A Celica Rear End with Cusco LSD handles traction. Bride Seats and Work Equip 03’s were also added during the latest refresh!

As a kid, Luis would draw pictures of his car with the upgrades he planned. These days, he’s building something awesome and shooting pictures of the final results!