Toyota has embarked on a cross-country rally in a 1970 Toyota Corolla to mark the model’s 50th anniversary.
The first-generation Corolla is running The Great Race, a 10-day, 2,500 mile time-speed-distance rally that started in San Rafael just north of San Francisco and will end in Moline, Illinois. Competing with the Corolla will be 130 vintage machines dating back to 1916, everything from muscle cars to high-end European collector vehicles. There were even four teams from Japan that shipped their classic Japanese cars across the Pacific to run the event.
The 60-horsepower runabout will be piloted by 13-time X-Games BMX rider Jamie Bestwick with Laurence Foster as his navigator. Along the way, guest drivers including Baja 1000 winner BJ Baldwin, motocross racer Andy Bell, and motorcycle racer Rolland Sands will take turns behind the wheel.
Though the car itself is a 1970 model, it is virtually identical to the 1966 model that kicked off one of Toyota’s longest running nameplates. It was purchased mostly stock from Joji Luz, a southern California car collector. With the exception of disc brakes, a bolstered racing seat, new, air-conditioning and new wheels and tires, the car remains the same as it was received from Luz.
Over the last 50 years, Toyota has sold an estimated 43 million Corollas worldwide. You can follow the progress of the Corolla as it makes its way cross-country at Racer.com/GreatRace.