Japanese owners of the TE27 Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno recently gathered for their annual meeting, held at the Toyota Automobile Museum in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan. Ninety-six cars in total came from all over the country, forming a sea of moss green and orange.
Born in 1972 as a more sporting offshoot of the Corolla and Sprinter twins, Toyota believed they were different enough from their parent models to give them separate names. Levin is an old English word for “lightning,” while Trueno is Spanish for “thunder.”
Each was sold through a different Toyota dealer network, but aside from slight differences in lights, grilles, and badging, they were otherwise identical. Officially, however, the Sprinter Trueno weighed about 10 kg more than the Corolla Levin.
Denoted by factory over-fenders — initially offered in steel, or FRP if you went with an aftermarket TOSCO rally setup — common on touring cars of the day, there was no question that they were meant for a good street fight. Toyota dropped in the twin-cam hemi-head 2T-G from the larger Celica 16000GT. With some 400 fewer pounds to haul, the TE27 was a bullet on the streets, the rally stages, and the tarmac.
At ¥813,000 when new it wasn’t cheap, but its motorsports prowess soon garnered it a devoted following. It became an icon of the golden age, right up there with Skylines, Belletts and Galant GTOs. The Club TE27 gathering is proof that a loyal following has carried over nearly half a century and still holds strong to this day.
Correction: This article originally said FRP flares were offered from the factory. In fact all factory flares for the TE27 were steel; FRP was offered as an official TOSCO (Toyota Sports Corner) aftermarket part.
TE-27 Levins NEVER had FRP “over fenders”, they were steel. Fake Levins and Truenos have replicas made from FRP. The fenders are slightly different on real cars; they have a lip that mates to the flare.
You’re right. I’ve made a correction.
How I wish I could own one.
The TE-27 was essentially the precursor to the iconic AE-86. Great seeing these cars in such original condition. I always enjoy seeing vintage Japanese iron on JNC.
The TE72 was the true precursor to the AE86. From the rear suspension to the 4A block, the TE was essential the father to the AE. The the TE-27 was more like the great-grandfather to the AE 🙂
More than the sum of parts for sure here! Corolla says ‘shopping trolley’, Trueno says ‘race car’.
While I’ve seen plenty of Corolla Levins here in the USA, I’ve never seen a Sprinter, let alone a Sprinter Trueno. They seem to share the same body appearance and the same taillamps, the thing that seems to differentiate the two is the front end appearance.
USDM Corolla coupes (no flares) and SR-5s (with flares) used the Levin grille and taillights.
That first orange Levin is just about perfect for me, minus the stripe. Great colour, and the proportions of these cars are just about perfect. Having driven a couple of theoretical rivals from the era – mid-seventies examples of the Ford Escort and Mitsubishi Lancer, I’d love to see what a TE27 is like.
Because I learned to drive 44 years ago in a beautiful 2 door 1972 KE20, I have great memories of these models, for that reason I´m fascinated with the rarity ( For us in this side of the Planet ) of the TE27 Truenos and Sprinters.
Just love seeing all these beautiful cars make me want to pull my TE27 Sprinter Trueno and go for a long drive.
Long time and one of the biggest fans of these cars. I have owned countless KE25’s and recently bought a 2TG and will be building a JDM replica at some stage.
Love TE27s <3
It will be nice if we can have our own Club te27 here in the US.
Russ, Larry here. I am hoping you are the same Russ, I just met at Toyota Fest, 2016 and I stopped by your house–to check out your mango.
Hey Russ, We can definitely start a US chapter of the TE27 Club. We have more than enough guys that would be willing to join. It would Be great to have meets like this at the Torrance Toyota museum or have a canyon run up Angeles Crest Hwy, then have lunch at Newcombs Ranch Restaurant. If I did not spend most of my waking hour at work, I would start the club myself.
Each one of them worth about $50000 and over now. So much care and restoration.
Even a rotting corpse of one here in Japan costs $10000.
I often wonder what would have happened if Toyota Australia entered TE27 into the Bathurst 1000. I’m not suggesting line honours…but the ‘legend/brand strength’ that would have been developed. By the time a TE corolla unit was punishing the mountain (driven by UK PM Margaret Thatcher’s son, Mark) we had RA celica power.
Russ/Mike, would be a great thing. For your consideration—My nephew is a website designer. If we need someone to maintain d site–we can employ him to build and maintain it. He works in the Philippines for a company here in the states. Larry
Does any one know the Greenpeace colorido code for the te27
When and where will the 2019 Te27 meet be at? If budget and time permits, will travel to japan. Also, it there a swap meet during the event?
Lovely to see pics of these beautiful “mango” TE27, whether Levine, Sprinter, Trueno or Corolla SR, all lined up in one of the pics and in pristine condition. I bought one in the UK in 1980 from a friend which was badged as SL. That was in a mustard yellow colour. In 1982 when I was returning to my home country Pakistan, after finishing my education and a period of working in London, I bought my second Corolla mango which was badged as an SR and in orange colour (which in may opinion is the perfect colour for it). In the UK there were few to come by.It had been sparingly driven by the original owner and I brought the car back to Pakistan. I still have it and have refreshed and detailed it twice over the last 38 years ! its been through so much history in our family.Other cars come and go, but our Princess (as we call it in the family) stays alongwith a Mk1 Cortina which my father bought in 1966 and which I am currently restoring “metal up”. My son even opted for using the Princess as his wedding car in preference to other newer cars in the stables. As he and his wife were driving away, guests at the wedding reception became more interested in the Corolla and virtually forgot about the groom and bride !
The mango draws a lot of attention on the road and at our car shows and rallies. There are many peanuts but no surviving mangoes (out of the few that were in Pakistan).
That’s a great story. Please post a link to pictures of the car if you have any!
Ben thanks for your appreciation. Certainly will create a link and upload a selection of photos. I’ll let you know when its done.