Since the Toyota Corolla’s inception in 1966, it has always been known for its reliability, dependability, and most importantly for its incredible gas mileage. What it is not known for however (Aside from the AE86), is being a formidable player in the automotive scene, nor is it a car that exactly gets heads turning.
That leaves us dying to ask this burning question, what was illmotion’s own JC Tenchavez thinking upon the purchase of his 2009 Toyota Corolla? While the answer may not be clear to JC himself, perhaps a look at his 10th Generation Corolla XRS can provide somewhat of a resolution.
From the time of JC’s acquisition in late 2008, his Corolla had gone through its phases, all of which have been conservative. With the XRS marketed as the “sportier” trim level, it was only fitting that his Corolla was modified in the same tune. Fast forward to the present, and JC finally decided it was time for the Corolla to steer away from its consistent, conservative and “safe” looks, and go in a completely different direction, that of which was inspired by the way that Corollas (known as the Altis) in Asia were modified. With VIP tuning being all the craze in places such as Thailand and Malaysia, the Altis believe it or not, is a platform that is considered quite popular to use among enthusiasts overseas (Along with its big brother, the Toyota Camry).
With very little support from the aftermarket in North America, JC did his research and looked to forums based out of Thailand to get an idea of the direction that he wanted his XRS to go in. While the language barrier was certainly there, the images that JC managed to find did help him a lot during his search. The most notable pieces that can be found on his Corolla are the OEM Altis LED Taillights, and the OEM Altis radiator grille, which he managed to acquire with assistance from his family abroad.
The next step for JC was to remove the Tein S.Tech springs and OEM shocks combo, which he originally installed not even a week after he first bought the vehicle. The replacement, a set of BC Racing BR Type Coilovers to get his Corolla even closer to the ground. Continuing in the suspension department, a TRD Rear Sway Bar was also added to stiffen the lack luster performance of the rear torsion beam found on 10th Generation Corollas. For breathability, JC modified the OEM air intake box and also installed an A’PEXi World Sport 2 Exhaust, complete with custom welding and piping.
A quick glance at the interior of JC’s Corolla and what is almost immediately noticed is the SRR 300mm Bubble Shift Knob, along with some interior accessories from Junction Produce.
To complete the “Miniature VIP” direction that this Corolla was going in, the most important feature was down to the wheels. With help from Bobby & Mark from Tunerworks Calgary, JC acquired what is considered a ‘Luxury Sports’ wheel, an 18″ set of Work’s ever so popular 3 Piece Modular wheel, the VS-XX in Gold finish. As this Corolla was pretty much new to the scene of wheel fitment, getting these wheels to cooperate with the rear torsion beam suspension set up did require quite a few trials of rolling, cutting, and pulling of the rear quarters to get them to fit nicely. After a little patience and time on the rear quarters, this is how it finally sits.
The saying goes, ‘a car is an extension of one’s personality’, and with that in mind there is no denying the impeccable taste that JC has when it comes to modifying his economical compact car. Being that this is also the vehicle he drives during the winter and summer seasons (as these are really only two seasons that Calgary gets), the constant maintenance involved for JC to keep this daily driver in tip-top shape through every season is definitely something we can really appreciate.
While JC’s daily driver may not appeal to everybody out there, the styling and direction that his Corolla has gone in definitely maintains Toyota’s sense of subtlety, while at the same time showcasing a modest sense of style, simplicity and finesse that is prominently found in luxury/VIP cars. By doing so, JC managed to take one of the automotive scene’s most often overlooked, ordinary and economical cars, and turn it into quite a head turner. For a vehicle with hardly any aftermarket support, it’s the little things that JC has done that truly make his Corolla stand out from the crowd.
Modified OEM Air Intake Box
A’PEXi World Sport 2 Exhaust with custom piping
TRD Performance Air Filter
TRD Radiator Cap
TRD Engine Oil Filler Cap
Junction Produce Kintuna
Junction Produce “Missions” Neck Pads
Super Road Race 300mm Clear Bubble Shift Knob
T1-R LED Dome Light
Eurolite LED Vanity Interior Lights
Boo The Dog Plush Toy =p
OEM Toyota Corolla Altis Radiator Grille
OEM Toyota Corolla Altis LED Taillights
OEM Toyota Window Visors
GT HID 4300K HID Kit
Nokya 2500k “JDM Yellow” Fog Lights
Euroline 3000k DRLs
Eurolite LED License Plate Lights
“Iron” Vinyl Wrapped Headlamps, Tailights & Foglamps
Matte Black Front & Rear Emblems
BC Racing BR Type Coilovers
TRD Rear Sway Bar
SPC Rear Camber Shim Kit
18″ Work VS-XX 18×8.5 +26 in Gold (GLD) Finish
215/40R18 Falken Ziex ZE-912
For more pics, check out our Flickr page here: JC Tenchavez’s 2009 Toyota Corolla XRS