Out of the Ordinary
Unfortunately the Toyota Corolla was never designed to be a head turner. Toyota wanted an affordable compact sedan, with great fuel economy, and the reliability of Toyota’s kept buyers coming back for more with each generation. There was ONE exception; the XRS. In 2005 and 2006 Toyota decided to give their economy sedan some pep in its step, and do away with its traditional grandma-esque styling and go for something a little more edgy.
Between 2005-2006 approximately 6,600 XRS’s were produced. The engine is what sets this Corolla apart from the sea of econo-sedans. Toyota worked in collaboration with Yamaha to create the perfect engine for the XRS. This four banger revs out to 8200 RPM’s, and all that power is delivered through a 6-speed manual gearbox. The car is not a rocket ship by any stretch of the imagination, but definitely is much more fun to drive compared to your average Corolla.
Our friend Joey Frank snagged one of these bad boys up, and went to work on it. Obviously at first glance you notice that the shiny brown paint you see, is not a factory color. Joey had his XRS resprayed Porsche Macadamia Metallic for the main body panels, while the roof was painted Java Black Pearl, commonly found on STI’s. The brown on black contrasts just enough in the correct lighting to see the two colors in full affect. A full respray was not the only attention spent on the exterior. Joey had both the front and rear fenders pulled to remove the factory body lines. He also did a 2003-04 front bumper swap, fitted with Vulteq valences front and rear, a Vulteq grill, Altis folding mirrors, an Altis trunk spoiler, Altis rear window spoiler, and Altis 2nd generation tail lights. Though a lot was changed on the exterior of this Corolla, it all looks very clean and factory appearing.
Keeping stock wheels and suspension was not an option for this build After all that extensive work was done, it needed something to tie everything together; stance. Assuming that there is not a huge market in lowering one of these, getting this thing on the ground wasn’t an easy feat. Joey opted to go on air with this car. Going on air seemed like the only practical option for going low because spring kits or coil-overs are few and far between. Joey went with AirRex air struts, Air Lift AutoPilot v2 digital management, a 5 gallon polished aluminum tank, dual Viair 444c compressors, dual pneumatic water traps, and a 80A Stinger relay. Aside from just bagging this car, Joey decided to stiffen up the suspension a bit more for the corners with a trunk x-brace, and DC Sports CS-2 front strut bar. After Joey got his Corolla nestled on the ground, he had to make the tough decision of which wheels would suit his car best. We’ve all been at the fork in the road, and didn’t know which set of wheels that would make a perfect match for our car. Joey felt that Work VS-XX’s was the proper choice for his Toyota, and I’m glad he did. They work (no pun intended) really with with the car. Gives it that VIP flare. These VS-XX’s have gold centers, with polished lips; 2.5” up front, and out back he is sporting 3” lips.
Now that Joe’s XRS is looking up to par, now it’s time for it to produce some sound. Lets face it, we all have that one song that is cranked full blast when it comes on in our cars while cruisin’ around. Joey made the invest to make sure that his music never cuts out, or sounds like crap. All the audio components are Pioneer; the in-dash navigation, an adapter for his iPod, and the interior speakers were upgraded, and luckily enough the car came with a 10” Kicker subwoofer and amplifier as an OEM dealer upgrade.
Joey should be proud to say he owns a Corolla XRS as beautiful as his is. He truly showed the car community that a Corolla could be something cool. With a little hard work and elbow grease, anything can happen. So hats off to Joey and his XRS!