1980s Toyota Corolla AE86 Restomods Are Tokyo Auto Salon Highlights

  • Looking for to maintain its heritage for a greener future, Toyota just unveiled two restomodded common 1980s hatchbacks at this year’s Tokyo Vehicle Salon, one driven by hydrogen, the other a pure battery EV.
  • The Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno are the two Japan-market variants of the sporty still cost-effective Corolla GT-S that was offered in the U.S.
  • These vehicles have been light-weight but reduced on energy, and they are normally identified by their chassis code, AE86. While uncomplicated and somewhat small-tech, these rear-wheel-drive equipment became pop-tradition icons in the 1990s many thanks in portion to the well-known anime collection First D.

If requested to listing Toyota’s most vital heritage vehicles, you may jot down the mighty twin-turbo Mk IV Supra, the unkillable Hilux pickup truck, the wafting Toyota Century (Japan’s only manufacturing V-12), or perhaps the million-dollar 2000GT. Nevertheless, the most well known Toyota of all time is an underpowered hatchback with pop-up headlights and a pace warning chime that arrives on if you exceed 64 mph. At this year’s Tokyo Car Salon, Toyota moved to maintain the heritage of this tiny automobile, setting up a pair of restomods at good cost: 1 run by liquid hydrogen, the other with a battery and electric powered motor.

Out of context, Toyota’s efforts seem a little like GM’s engineers confirmed up and mentioned, “Good news, absolutely everyone, we’ve saved the Chevette for potential generations!” On the other hand, the Corolla Levin and (extra vital) Sprinter Trueno proven off this 7 days are far more than mere sporty commuters. In North The us, these autos were being marketed as the Corolla GT-S, and they experienced a tiny but enthusiastic pursuing. In Japan, they were regarded by their chassis code—AE86 or hachiroku, Japanese for 8-six—and they have been rock stars.

That hero worship did not get there right away. The fifth-technology Corolla arrived in 1983 with rear-wheel push, not due to the fact that was the enjoyment selection, but as a carryover from the 1970s, when the front-wheel-push Civic was the exception to the rule. For the 1984 product year, Toyota stuffed in a twin-cam 1.6-liter engine shared with the initial-generation MR2 and fitted a 5-velocity manual gearbox. In Japan, the vehicle was offered as the Corolla Levin (with mounted headlights) or the Sprinter Trueno (pop-up headlights, similar as the U.S. Corolla GT-S).

AE86s built for common race and rally vehicles, for the same factors that the to start with- and 2nd-generation Ford Escorts were well-liked in Europe. An 86 was low cost, it was uncomplicated to hammer back collectively right after a shunt, and the handling was energetic. One particular of the engineers all through growth was Nobukai Katayama, who came from a track record in Toyota Motorsport, so the 86 had been bred to transcend its humble roots.

Pardon Us When We Veer into a Dialogue of Manga

Even so, we are talking about a auto with scarcely 128 horsepower on high-octane JDM fuel. The place the AE86 actually arrived into its own was in manga, the serialized graphic novels that are ubiquitous in Japan.

Developed by Shuichi Shigeno, Initial D tells the tale of a the natural way proficient driver finding into the unlawful road racing scene around the fictional Mount Akina. Shigeno dependent the manga all around his first car—a Sprinter Trueno, which he nevertheless owns immediately after much more than 25 years—and wove in a tale of disaffected youth in publish-bubble-economic climate Japan, cold nights and warm turbochargers, drift battles on slim mountain roads. Fundamentally, think Japan’s American Graffiti, but with Skylines and RX-7s.

The hero of the tale, Takumi Fujiwara, battles his way to the top of the pile in spite of driving an underdog Sprinter Trueno. That car or truck, painted “panda” black and white and bearing the identify of the Fujiwara tofu store, is now simply the most famed car or truck in Japanese tradition. Regrettably, the explosion of recognition in drift lifestyle and Preliminary D’s climbing abroad level of popularity usually means that many AE86s have been published off. That makes the survivors beneficial.

Additional, the notoriety of the hachiroku is sufficient for Toyota to the two title its Subaru collaboration following it—hence, GR86—and to consider to make absolutely sure that the AE86 will nonetheless be on the road extended just after the previous gas pump closes.

Now Again to Corollas

To that finish, these two Corollas have been futureproofed with alternate powertrains. The Corolla Levin has been equipped with the electric powered motor out of a Tundra hybrid, with a Prius-sourced lithium-ion battery. Electrical power is close to a lowly 50 horsepower, but torque is plentiful at higher than 180 pound-toes. The typical five-velocity could not tackle the twist, so Toyota swapped in the 6-pace out of a GR86. Engineers have been fast to position out that donuts were being most unquestionably on the menu.

The Sprinter Trueno retained its twin-cam 4A-GE motor but was converted with Mirai pieces to operate on liquid hydrogen. Toyota now ran a recent Corolla transformed to hydrogen ability in previous year’s Fuji Tremendous TEC 24-hour stamina race. In this case, the 4A-GE’s antiquated engine administration saw a fall in electric power about stock, but the automobile nevertheless operates, drives, and drifts.

The greatest aspect of both equipment is that the bodyweight penalty is minimum. EV swapping a traditional ICE-run vehicle frequently blunts the character, but Toyota’s proof of principles are continue to sub-2200 kilos. With both of those also staying guide-transmission, most likely you can find hope for the light-weight sporting activities auto however.

For fans of the AE86, equally equipment are evidence that Toyota in fact cares about the fanatics in the viewers. We know that the organization will offer much more illustrations of the Corolla Cross than they ever did AE86s. Even so, the plucky hachiroku is an critical component of the Toyota tale. Prolonged may perhaps it reign.