14 May 2011

Feature - Cédric Martinet's Levin and Trueno

So some of our readers are lucky enough to own an AE86 or some form of retro Toyota. But what if you owned not one, but TWO? Now if this wasn't enough to make you jealous, have a look at the roads surrounding Cédric's hometown:

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He was kind enough to answer some questions I sent through as well as supplying us with loads of amazing photos! Enjoy...

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Cédric Martinet




Aiguebelle, France

What is your first memory of AE86's?

I was 18, at that time I was driving a S13 200SX. I discovered Initial D (I'm a big Japanimation fan) by chance. At that time, it wasn't very well known outside Japan. I was very surprised to discover that it starred the AE86. I became an absolute fan of this anime.

Anyway, the first time I saw the Trueno, I was already in love. I really didn't know the model but I loved the old school design and the pop up lights. Then I started looking for some information on the model. I said to myself:"If they have created a manga about this car, it must be a very special one!" I also discovered Keiichi Tsuchiya's Hachi Roku and his love for the model. I realized at that moment that it was the perfect car for my roads. The Hachi Roku is a more suitable car for them than my 200SX, as I live in the mountains and roads here are very narrow and winding.

What do you most love about them?

Handling and instant response of the engine. It's a car you feel. I have never found any other car as fun as an Hachi Roku. Even a S2000 or a 400 horsepower WRX STI. It could seem weird to people who have never driven an 86, but I think the others owners will understand what I am trying to say. It's a pure fun car.

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When did you get your first AE86?

I got the Levin (Corolla GT, it's a French one) in May 2005. Only 240 models were sold in France in 1984. It's a very very rare car here. I found one in the south of France, rustless (Pretty awesome). Just some rust in the spare wheel tub. The body was in good condition, but the engine was dying and the rear axle broke down not long after I bought it.

My dream was to get an 86 as close as the one of Dori Dori. It took me more than 6 years to finish it. I got the parts little by little, while still keeping the car on the road. My father is a mechanic, he was the one who modified and rebuilt the Levin. We were the first in France to install a 20V in an 86, it took us 3 days to get it run. It may not be a big deal, but for a little no name garage in the mountains, we were quite proud to accomplish it. The Rear axle was fully rebuilt with TRD 2 way LSD and 4.7 Final Gear. And this year, we have finally installed and rebuilt the TRD3 Gearbox to finish the car.

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How did you end up with two ?

It's a long story. Importing a car is very difficult in France. Homologating it is a pain in the ass. Especially if the car comes from Japan or the USA. Until 2 years ago, nobody risked buying a Trueno and homologating it. My friend Henri actually managed it with his 2 door zenki Trueno. He let me drive it and I said to myself "Damn I'm driving a real JDM Trueno!" It may seem weird to you in the UK, but for us in France, I mean for French Hachi Rokus Fans, the Trueno is like a legend. We only get Levins across Europe, and like I said before, unlike you in the UK, the homologation is very difficult and hazardous. Personally I would have never thought I could even see a Trueno in my life. Anyway, after that ride, I was like a child, and I made myself a promise that one day I will get one. Even if I already got the Levin, getting a Trueno was a dream. A real JDM car. I think you know what I mean!

Several months later, I found one in Belgium. The guy bought it from an Irish guy who imported it from Japan. On pictures, the car seemed OK. At that time, I really didn't want to restore it. Unlike the Levin, I wasn't too worried about taking care of it. Unfortunately, the car turned out to be a real piece of crap, with a load of rust! So I decided to bring it back to life, I worked every week ends at my father's garage to pay for the body repair and paint.

There was a lot of work, Besides the body damages, the car was a total mess. Power steering leaking, buckled wheels and blown dampers. The only good thing was the engine. It still run very well! Once the body was repaired, I made the minimum modifications to have fun with an Hachi Roku: suspensions and an exhaust. The rest is stock.

It is a Kouki Trueno but I prefer Zenkis. So I decided to make a mix of my 2 favorite Hachi Rokus. I have the Front of Dori Dori's Trueno (Black Bonnet, Zenki lip on kouki bumper, OEM Side Skirts) and the rear of Takumi's 86 (Zenki Tail lights, wingless, mud flaps, panda color and Fujiwara Tofu sticker).

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How do you decide which one to drive?

I drive the Levin a little more. But it is because I have some little things to finish on the Trueno.

Car specs:

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French 1984 Toyota Corolla GT AE86 "Levin"

Engine :
- AE111 4AGE 20V Blacktop
- TRD Engine Mounts
- SP-Tec Distributor Relocation Kit
- SS Works Water Cooling Relocation Kit
- Jubiride Air Screens
- Danstoy Headers
- T3 Velocity Stacks
- T3 Test Pipe
- HKS Silent Hi Power Cat Back

Body :
- T3 Front Strut Bar
- T3 Rear Strut Bar
- T3 Camber Plates
- T3 Coilovers ( Kayaba AGX / Ground Control )
- T3 Lower Control Arms
- T3 Outer Tie Rods
- T3 Tension Control Rods
- T3 Panhard
- T3 RCA
- T3 Rear Traction Bracket
- TRD Gearbox Close Ratio Transmission ( TRD3 )
- TRD Final Gear 4.7
- TRD 2 Way LSD
- Cusco Front Sway Bar
- Cusco 6 Points Rollcage
- 88 Rotors disc with OEM Pads

Exterior :
- JDM Levin GTV "Levin" grill emblem
- JDM Levin GT Apex Stickers
- JDM Levin Corners Lights
- JDM Levin Mud Flaps
- Konig Rewind 15', 7' ET0 Gold

Interior :
- Recaro Speed Seat ( Driver Only )
- Nardi Steering Wheel
- Nardi Shift Knob
- 3 Point Harness
- Additionnal Tachometer
- Full Red OEM Interior

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JDM 1986 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex AE86

Engine :
- TRD Spark Plugs Wires
- RS*R Headers
- T3 Test Pipe
- Trust Cat Back Exhaust System

Body :
- Manual Steering Rack
- Cusco Front Strut Bar
- T3 RCA
- T3 Rear Traction Bracket
- T3 Coilovers ( Kayaba AGX / Ground Control )
- T3 Panhard
- JDM 5 Points Rollcage
- 88 Rotors Discs with OEM Pads

Interior :
- Bride Seat ( Driver Only )
- GT Apex Shift Knob
- Nardi Steering Wheel
- Zenki Red interior with passenger seat

Exterior :
- GT Apex Stickers
- Fujiwara Tofu Ten Sticker
- Zenki rear tail lights
- OEM Sideskirts
- Zenki lip on Kouki Bumper
- Konig Rewind 14', 7' ET-9 Black
- Toyo R888 185/60/14

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A massive thanks to Cédric for the information and images. Expect some more photo's and wallpaper's soon!



  1. Cedric's the man! Both are stunning cars and I'm looking forward to see what the future holds for the trueno. Personal favourite part is the almost complete t3 catalogue for the suspension on the corolla GT, SO jealous! Great photo's and great words:)

  2. oh yeah enfain des français qui sont sur le blog lol

  3. Were trying to get round to talking about corollas from every country one by one! So far we have France, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Finland. So if you know of any more cool Corollas in france drop me an e-mail:)

  4. p.s: Google Translate is my friend:)

  5. Cedric is a total G. I've been in both cars many times and the levin is simply out of this world to drive! Damo.