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Old favourite rolls on

And there are many reasons why.

Some like the Corolla's looks, others are drawn to its reliability and good reputation.

And then there are those who like adding their own personal touch so they can demonstrate their unique character and create an expression of themselves.

And it's when you add these touches, that you can be a unique Corolla owner.

Matthew Breen, 22, is among the devotees who have modified a Corolla.

The Sydney resident owns an AE92, which means it's a 1992-model Toyota Seca SX series 2. He's a self-confessed Corolla fan.

He's owned two other Corollas, a 1985 KE30 and a 1979 KE70. He and his three siblings all learned to drive in the family 1985 Corolla.

Breen bought his current Corolla for about $6000 and has spent $2000 on upgrades. "I put some mag wheels on it and a CD player and I lowered it," he says.

For Breen, the Corolla's appeal can be attributed to its looks as well as its solid reputation for reliability.

His interest in the near-legendary vehicle, which has spanned more than eight years, was initially fuelled by his friends' shared interest in the make. It was raised further in 2003, when he joined a community of Corolla fans, who have dubbed themselves the Sydney Rolla Club.

On a regular cruise, the club attracts a convoy of about 30 Corollas, both male and female owners and all types of models.

"They're always reliable and the price of them and everyone's got one," Breen says of the reason they're so popular.

Breen uses the car as his regular daily transport and says he hasn't had any problems in the two years he's had it.

He says he wants to hold on to his current model for a little while longer, and doesn't have any plans to upgrade to a newer car, be it a Corolla or otherwise.

The Toyota Corolla has been available in Australia for 40 years and in that time, more than 974,000 models have been sold. Toyota Australia predicts that the brand will reach the milestone of a million sales in Australia by the end of this year.

So its popularity doesn't seem to be diminishing any time soon.

The small, four-cylinder car was the second most popular model in Australia last year, beaten by the Holden Commodore. This year alone, 7076 Corollas have been sold.

The very first Corolla export from Japan came to Australia in 1966.

Jaqueline Brooks, 24, owns a 1988 CS Corolla. She purchased the car six years ago when she was still driving on her P-plates. It cost just $3500 and maintained a family connection with the model.

"It was a family tradition that we all had Corollas," she says. "My cousins all had Corollas and my grandfather liked them."

Brooks was also attracted to the reliable nature of the popular car.

"That's the reason I bought it. It's not the most attractive car going around. It has a brown interior," she laughs.

"It has no airconditioning or power steering, but it goes well."

Brooks has clocked up many kilometres in her car over the six years and says she has only really had one major problem with it.

"It needed an engine replacement, but it doesn't cost much to fix," she says.

"I'm going to drive it until it dies."

And when that time comes, she says she will consider upgrading to another Corolla.

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