The Corolla AE92 GT-S Project

A website about my ongoing project

Nederlandse vlag Engelse vlag

The mechanic

 

Whenever you're looking for information on the internet, it's important to know how reliable that information is.

You can't just assume that everything that is written on the world wide web is correct.

 

So to give you guys a little insight on how reliable the information on this website is, I'll tell you a little about myself, my experiences with engineering and cars of course.

That way, you can all decide for yourselves what the information I share here is worth to you.

 

 My name is Patrieck Wattel.

 

Picture of Patrieck Wattel

 

I was born in 1983 in the south-west of the Netherlands and raised in a small coastal town, where I still live with my wife and two children.

 

After high school, I started a study in electronics where I specialized in CIT (Computer Interface Technician).

After my studies, I have always worked as a technician. I have worked with the Royal Dutch Navy, a company that refurbishes industrial gearboxes, a valve repair company. I've also been an all-round technician at a waste oil disposal company. But nowadays I work at the Dutch Vermeer dealer. I mainly work on Horizontal Directional Drilling machines and tree care machines.

 

Vemeer D100x120 drilling machine

A example of a HDD machine I work on nowadays. A Vermeer D100x120 SeriesII drilling machine.

 

So I've seen several employers during my career and have learned a little everywhere. I worked in several different technical disciplines and as such, I know a little about mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic and electronics.

 

But where I hopped around a lot during my working life, my hobby during all those years stayed the same: I just love working on cars.

It hasn't always been like that though. As a child, cars just didn't interest me. But that changed when I got my drivers license when I was 18.

 

I started driving my parents Audi 100 2.3E. Which was nice, spacious and had a nice bit of power. But they already owned that car for a few years and it was starting to show it's age in the maintenance costs. So they started to look for a replacement.

That's when Toyota entered my life when they bought a Toyota Carina E 1.6 XLi. It looked way better and more modern then that boxy '80 styled Audi, and although the engine had way less displacement and a little less power,  the Toyota didn't feel much slower.

I made a lot of miles in that car. I probably drove it more than my parent did and it never let us down, not once! So that was my first positive experience with Toyota.

 

And eventually, you just can't help dreaming of your very own car. The internet was already a good place to browse through affordable, used cars. The Toyota Corolla GTSi appealed to me and ticked all the boxes I had back then. The Corolla model I was looking at back then, later turned out to be the AE101 model.

But still being a student, with school just a few km's from where I lived, there was no direct need for a car of my own yet.

But then one day, my cousin let me know that he was thinking of selling his car and I just couldn't resist the temptation.

 

He owned a Toyota Corolla GTSi for a few years now and although it wasn't the more sleek AE101 model I was aiming at before, it was still a cool little car. I always liked the look of his car and with the thought of owning and driving it myself, it just started to look better and better.

I still had school that day, but I didn't get much learning done. He had already let me know what he was going to sell the car for and I couldn't get that damn car out of my mind!

As you may have already guessed: By the end of the day, the car was registered to my name.

 

Toyota Corolla AE92 GTSi

The Corolla AE92 1.6 GTSi as I bought it from my cousin.

 

It was already a pretty fun car when I bought it. Being a GTSi, it came with a bodykit as standard and featured a nice sporty interior. But it didn't take me long to start altering little things to the car. A different radio, a nicer gearknob, small stuff to start with.

But as time progresses, I started to tackle bigger things to get my car in the pristine condition I wanted it to be in.

I'm a little bit of a perfectionist so things had to be right for me. I also had a nack for engineering and was curious as to how the thing was build. So I started to screw things apart to see how it all fitted together and make a few modifications here and there.

It was really fun working on my own little car and I could do whatever I wanted to it. The reactions to what I did were always positive, so I figured I was doing something right as well.

 

With some common sense, a little technical insight and a 'just do it' mentality I learned myself how to work on cars with that little Corolla. I had a pretty steep learning curve the first few years. But I am now at a point that there is practically nothing I can't do with a car, or at least give it a try.

I still have warm memories to my first car which I cherished for years and because of that very car, I have become sort of a E9 fan. And when you become so enthusiast for something, you quickly start to look for like minded people. So I soon became a member of the Dutch Corolla Club and became (and still am) a regular visitor of the Dutch Corolla Forum. There was a wealth of information and inspiration on there for me and it was a motivation for me to dig deeper and deeper into the car.

 

But despite all the good care for my little Corolla, it was starting to really show it's age. I bought it from my cousin with 168.000km's on the odometer. In the few years I had owned it, that had risen to a whopping 365.000km's.

Technically, it was still in pretty good shape, but rust had done it's evil job on the body of the car and I came to a  point I just couldn't drive it everyday anymore.

 

Corolla AE92 GTSi hatchback

My Corolla during it's last club meeting. I stopped driving her daily shortly after this.

 

I already had big plans with the car and started collecting parts for it some time ago. I kept the car around for a few years because I just couldn't part with it yet and I still wanted to make a project out of that car too.

But cars need to be driven to be kept in good condition and since I stopped driving her and she was left standing outside, it's condition just deteriorated.

So I very reluctantly sold her after a while when I realized I had to be realistic and it just wasn't going to happen anymore. But the funds and nice parts I had already collected came to good use for the coupé project.

 

I am now married and have two children. So after the Corolla was sold, I needed a bit more practical cars. The Corolla was replaced with a Toyota Carina E 2.0 GTi liftback.

A pretty rare car that was spacious, practical and because it was a GTi also had some special parts to make it fast.

 

Toyota Carina E 2.0 GTi liftback

The Toyota Carina E 2.0 GTi liftback I owned for several years.

 

Toyota Carina E GTi, Corolla coupé GT-S and Corolla GTSi hatchback

Al of my cars together somewhere spring 2009.

 

But when the Toyota Carina E GTi reached the very respectable age of 21 years, maintenance costs started to rise dramatically and so we started to look for a replacement.

That replacement came in the form of a Toyota Avensis 2.0 wagon Executive. It was fully loaded with every goody I could have ever dreamt of and it's just a very nice and comfortable car to drive.

We liked it so much that we even used it as our wedding car!

 

Toyota Avensis 2.0 wagon 

My current Toyota Avensis 2.0 wagon.

 

Toyota Avensis wedding car

The Toyota Avensis all dressed up for our wedding.

 

I still drive this car and it will be the family's workhorse for years to come. I do all the maintenance to the Avensis myself so it will stay in good condition.

 

I hope this page has shed a little light on who the person behind the project and this website is, how I got into cars and how my enthusiasm for the Corolla Coupé began and what my technical background is.