Leave it to the Team O'Neil Rally School to find out.
Sure, Toyota did win the manufacturers' title with a Corolla back in '99, but that, needless to say, was a highly modified rally machine. That's now what we're looking at here in this video. This is a bone-stock, ten-year-old econobox, with an open differential, an automatic transmission, and no further "enhancements” than a set of steel wheels shod with off-the-rack snow tires.
That's the mass-produced car which the good folks at the Team O'Neil Rally School out in Dalton, New Hampshire, are focusing on in this video. The one question on their minds: can you rally a Toyota Corolla?
One of the most prolific vehicles ever made, the ninth-generation E120 Corolla was hardly what you'd call a "performance-oriented” piece of machinery. Quite the opposite. It was made to mobilize the masses with a bargain-basement approach. No turbochargers, no spoilers... just a basic economy sedan that most anybody could afford and drive without encountering surprises.
It does have a mechanical handbrake, mind you, which may be its only redeeming quality when it comes to putting it out on the rally stage. And that's just what Team O'Neil rally instructor Wyatt Knox set out to do.
Given that this is a new series (and one we're likely to follow as it ratchets up more episodes), the time it clocked on the school's snow-covered rally course doesn't have much with which to be compared. But even for lack of context, and without giving too much away, the work-a-day Corolla didn't embarrass itself too badly when things got all twisty and sideways.