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All Grown Up: The ‘Small Body’ AE92 Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla AE90

I think I speak in behalf of many car guys when I say that there are certain cars that stick to us in one way or another. Cars that, while we may not necessarily own them, we will always have a soft spot for. For most of us, this may include the car that our families started out with as we were growing up. The car that reliably brought us to far flung places and back home, the one whose back seats were so familiar to us as children.


Seeing as we all come from different families and generations, this car may not be the same for all of us. Given the number of these cars on the road though, it’s safe to say that the AE90 Toyota Corolla may well be a good example of a car that’s been part of our family for a good number of us. Growing up in the early 90’s I recall being taken to new places by a car just like this, and I wonder how it could’ve looked if it stayed in our family and aged together with me…

Mark's Corolla

Well, it appears I’ll need not wonder any more after seeing this one however, as this particular example built by Mark Luna looks to be close to what I would’ve done! Green has always been my favorite color, yet it seems like it’s one of those colors that people find difficult to pull off on a car since it makes the lines pop out. The Anzahl Christmas Green on this small body does the car’s shape justice, giving a unique color to an otherwise common car would certainly turn heads after all!

Sprinter headlights

Aside from the loud paintjob, choice parts for the exterior have been used to distinguish this Corolla from the common folk. The car has been treated to a full JDM Toyota Sprinter conversion that includes the Front Bumper, Grille, and Rear Bumper.

Toms Wheels

Throughout the years aftermarket manufacturer tuning arms have made wheels that go hand in hand with certain cars and models. For Toyotas of the late 80’s and early 90’s, one of the signature sets to go for would be these TOMS New Actions in 15” guise. The oddly designed 4 twin-spokes as well as a red outer lip distinguish them from other wheels in the market and are quite sought after nowadays by diehard Toyota aficionados. Come to think of it, these wheels provide just the right amount of contrast to remind us of the holidays!

Twin Cam

Chances are you’ll come across plenty of ‘modified’ cars out on the road sporting stickers like these on their doors, mostly implying that they’re packing something powerful under the bonnet. (i.e. ‘DOHC VTEC’) But then again we have to ask ourselves; how many of these cars actually have the walk to back the talk?

Toyota 4AGE 20V

As you can see, you’ll find that those stickers in fact tell the bold honest truth about what’s underneath the hood for this AE92. Lifted from the late 90’s AE111 Levin or Sprinter, the 4AGE 20 valve ‘Black Top’ swaps right into this corolla and sits right at home!

JDM interior conversion

The interior is also one for a JDM fanfare, as the seats and sidings all come from the Levin version of the AE92. Paired with various OEM trimmings and Brown Glass all around, this interior rounds up the whole experience of having a Japanese-spec corolla on the local streets.

Nardi Steering Wheel


While the seats, sidings, and other trims are OEM, there’s still a touch of aftermarket going on in the interior. The steering wheel is a TRD Nardi piece that looks right at home with the rest of the dash as if it were a factory option. Mounted dead center on the dashboard is also a trio of Defi Blue Racer gauges that read out Oil temp, Water temp, and Oil pressure to ensure that the 4AGE 20-valve is in good shape.

Toyota Corolla rear shot

Considering that it is a Toyota Corolla, the AE92 is still somewhat of a common car on our local streets to this day. That said, it’s come as quite a surprise to some that this body is actually over 20 years old already! Suffice to say, with examples like Mark’s rolling along our city streets, there’s no question that the ‘small body’ is a car that ages quite well.

1989 Toyota Corolla Sprinter AE92 1.6GT

4AGE 20V AE111 ‘Black Top’ 6M/T
TRD Oil Cap
TRD Radiator Cap
TRD High Tension Wires
TRD Quick Shift
GReddy Oil Catch Can
GReddy Breather Tank
Billion Power Steering Tank

Brakes, Footwork, and Suspension
TOMs New Action 15”
Advan Neova AD07 195/55
TRD Coilovers
Cusco Camber Plates
OEM Big Brakes

Anzahl Christmas Green Paint
VTX HID 3000K Headlamp bulbs
PIAA H4 headlights
Hella Horns
OEM Retractable side mirrors
Sprinter Front and Rear bumpers w/ plate lights
Sprinter Door and Fender moldings
OEM outer door handles w/ chrome lining
OEM 3-liner Sprinter Wagon face
OEM Complete Brown Glass w/ Rear Defogger
OEM Wiper Fin

GReddy Turbo Timer
TRD-Nardi Steering Wheel
TRD Duracon Shift Knob
OEM Leather Shift Boot
OEM Leather Handbrake Lever
OEM Levin Seats & Sidings
OEM Front seatbelt adjuster
OEM Tilting Column
OEM Push button A/C switches
OEM Defogger Switch
OEM 3rd Brake Light
Defi Blue Racer gauges (Oil Temp, Oil Pressure, Water Temp)
OEM Donut tire

In Car Entertainment
Eclipse CD7000 Head Unit
Morel 2pc Seps
Dynaudio 2pc seps
Boston GT22 100×2 Amp x3
Diamond Audio Technologies D1 12” Sub

Photos By Jet Rabe

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