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Some memories on the Toyota AE86 and news on the FT86

By Rigval on 22 Jan 2010

Attached Image The AE86 (1983-1987) model series of the Toyota Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno version was a small, lightweight coupe introduced by Toyota as part of the 5th generation Toyota Corolla line-up. The "AE86" model code was used to describe the whole model range regardless of Levin or Sprinter versions. In the Toyota model code of the period, the "A" represents the engine that came in the car (the 3A and 4A series) and the E86 represents the 6th revision of the fifth generation (E80 series) of the E model which is the Corolla. The visual difference between the Levin and Trueno is that the Levin had fixed-headlights and the latter had retractable headlights. The AE86 (along with the lower spec 1.5liter engined AE85 and 1.6liter SR5 versions) was rear wheel drive and is among the last rear-drive cars of its type, at a time when most passenger cars were being switched to front-drive due to cost effective and packaging reasons. In 1987 it was replaced by the front wheel drive AE92 Corolla/Sprinter range. The AE86 is also referred to as the Hachi-Roku; Japanese for "eight-six".

The earliest memories that I have of this car was before the hype of the Japanese anime series Initial-D. This was the car that I saw parked regularly in front of a house in Gombak, near Kuala Lumpur during the late 1980s. I was fresh out of high school at the time and basically bothered little about cars. The only thing on my mind those days was get my driver's license, spend time doing absolutely nothing productive with friends and ogle at girls at the local McDonald's. It was bliss. The guy who owned the Levin was a cousin of my schoolmate, and we used to see that car parked outside his grandmother's place every day as he came to pick his kid up after work. During that time, it was another small Japanese sports car that did not really arouse any of my senses. It was just like any other sports car that looked nice and was pretty fast for the time. Comparable to anyone who owned a Honda Quint Integra or a Nissan Sylvia of the era.

The only thought my friend and I had about his cousin as we played badminton in front of his house was that he had a flashy car and that his wife was an ex-stewardess. I think the fact that his wife was an ex-stewardess appealed to me more than the AE86 itself at that point of time. Amazing that a small Japanese sports car that I basically saw everyday became a famous drift car, a cult car as well as an anime and movie star too. I heard later that he used it till around 1995 and sold it off for a bigger car. A bigger family and the fact that it was getting old were the given reasons. He must have sold it for around RM25,000.00 at the time but imagine if he waited to sell it after the anime series as well as the life action movie came out. He could have sold it for RM45,000.00 or slightly more due to the interest in the car.

Twenty plus years on, the new FT86 concept car was unveiled. “FT” standing for “Future Toyota” and it would be good news to all who like driving a smallish rear wheel driven car if it goes into production. I think there is very high chance due to the fact that Toyota is currently lacking in basic sports coupes. There are no more really sporty small Toyota's since the Celica and MRS which were discontinued a few years back. It is about time for one. And if we look at the FT86 in the picture below, the Toyota FT86 G sports kitted version was displayed at the 2010 Tokyo Auto Salon, showing the car off with performance parts for the car; rims, trims and spoilers. This shows that there is a high percentage that Toyota will make this "Future Toyota" into a production Toyota very soon. A picture of a 'stock' FT86 concept is shown after the G sports version pictures.
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Toyota AE86, Toyota Levin and 3 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

  • 1
Sw20 Jan 23 2010 12:09 PM
I do not understand where are you coming from.
Are you wasting blog space? All these could be read on the net.
There is no POINT in this blog. So what is about the AE86??? So what is about Toyota stop production of the Celica and MR-S? So what is it about the FT-86???

To write about a sports car, you must 1st be driving one and understanding it's concept. Then understand what is the engineering point of the car, then understand it's marketing strategy. Did you know some companies produce sports car not to make money? Is more for advertising purposes?

Think of what you want and to bring your point across to the people.
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