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Toyota Throwback: The AE86

By marian on November 13th, 2015


toyota ae86 3

Old but gold – that expression applies to things that have considerably aged but are still on par with or even better than new things. But can a car, considering the breakneck pace of automobile technology advancement and its gradually deteriorating parts, be described as such? Perhaps. And one of the chosen few would be the Toyota AE86.

While the Toyota Vios in the Philippines has yet to join the ranks of Toyota’s great automobiles despite thirteen years of excellent performance, the Toyota AE86 has proven time and again that it’s one of the finest cars the company has ever produced. Here are some awesome tidbits of info about this sought-after old-school gem.


Two of a Kind

Not a lot know about this, not even some car enthusiasts, but there are actually two variants of the Toyota AE86: the Toyota Corolla Levin and the Toyota Sprinter Trueno. The difference between the two lies in the headlights: those of the former are fixed, while those of the latter are retractable. This makes the Trueno a little cooler, especially when the headlights pop up.

For the two variants, there is a hatchback version and a coupe. And there’s also the “Black Limited” version, which is a send-off to the model before it was officially discontinued. As if the originally white AE86, whichever of the two versions it may be, isn’t hard enough to find!

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By the Rear

The Toyota AE86 was released during the time when car companies stopped producing rear-wheel drive cars, making it one of the last of its kind. This gave car enthusiasts and collectors more interest towards this model and its many variants.

And because it’s a rear wheel drive car, it has great balance, acceleration, road handling, and stopping power – that is why almost all racecars are built as such.


Catching the Drift

Could the AE86 be a good racecar? Of course! That’s probably another good reason why it’s such a hit with racing enthusiasts. Aside from that, the AE86 also became renowned due to Keiichi Tsuchiya, a professional racecar driver who furthered his already mad driving skills through illegal means: mountain racing to be exact. Because racing in the mountains involve a lot of sharp bends, it wasn’t enough that mountain racers were fast; they also had to be good at turning. And one of the best ways to do this was through drifting – oversteering through corners. What did Keiichi Tsuchiya  use as his ride of choice in order to perform such a feat? Why, none other than the AE86!

This feat gave the AE86 its cult symbol status. Even today in motorsport events that feature drifting and drift racing, it’s a mainstay crowd favorite, and it’s the car of choice of the protagonist in Initial-D, a popular manga about drift racing.


Gran Turismo 6

The Toyota AE86, despite its short-lived market exposure, will always be one of the company’s most famous cars, and for good reasons. And who knows? Maybe the Toyota vehicle you just bought would someday receive the same reception.



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