6 August 2010

Why we love the AE86

We all know and love the AE86, but sometimes it is nice to have a sit back and look at its history and realise why it is we love it so much. What better day to do this on than 86 Day.

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Toyota first introduced the AE86 Corolla in 1983 as a small, Lightweight Coupe aimed at the passenger car market. The AE86 was the fifth generation corolla and the last AE chassis released with rear wheel drive. The most noticeable difference in its two models was the Sprinter Trueno & Corolla Levin. They were easily identifiable by the differences in headlights as The Trueno sported pop-up headlights as opposed to the Levin’s fixed headlights. Toyota also offered the 86 in two different body styles, the 2 door coupe & the 3 door hatchback which was both available in either Trueno or Levin formats. The 86 was released at a time when a lot of the competitive car manufacturers were beginning to produce Front wheel drive cars as standard for passenger cars as opposed to the 86’s Rear wheel drive format so straight away the 86 began to be known as a real Drivers car.

A Facelift was made during 1985 but nothing major was changed in its 4/5 year production. Models produced between 1983 & 1985 are known as Zenki models & the 1985 to 1987 produced models are known as Kouki.

In the UK, Toyota introduced their Corolla Levin to the market but dropped the Levin badge in replacement for the “Corolla GT Coupe” model name.

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Japan offered various trim options including the GT or GT-V (GT being the 2 door model & GT-V being the 3 door). The GT was sold as being the “sports” model and featured lowered weight, LSD differential & vented front brake discs. Then there was the GT-Apex, this was the top of the corolla range featuring so luxury options such as electric windows & mirrors, Air Con, Power steering, sunroof and a fantastic looking Factory fit body styling kit including a Front bumper lip, Side Skirts & a boot lid lip spoiler.

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The 86 was also made famous because of its three main characteristics. The gutsy, high revving engine, a 4 cylinder 16 valve Twin Cam 4AGE, an engine that was also found in the first generation MR2, the AW11. It’s incredible handling provided by Macpherson style front suspension with 4 link live rear axle & it’s agile, lightweight chassis. Because of these characteristics the 86 soon became a hit in the motorsport world.

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It was found be used in Group A Touring Car’s, Rally championships, the JGTC in Japan & possibly it’s most famous use, Drifting. The 86 also gained a huge cult following with fans of Japanese manga cartoon Initial D where it featured as the car for the main character, Takumi Fujuwara.

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We all have our own reason why we love this old Toyota chassis, but the main things we all have in common is that we just can’t get enough of the great 80’s body styles & incredible drivers feel.


AE86, we salute you!

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