Toyota AE86

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Toyota Corolla Levin /
Sprinter Trueno (AE86)
New stock ae86 coupe.jpg
Manufacturer Toyota
Also called Toyota Corolla,
Toyota Sprinter
Production May 1983[1]–1987
Assembly Toyota City, Japan
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style 2-door coupé,
3-door hatchback
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Related Toyota AE85
Engine 1.6 L 4A-C I4
1.6 L 4A-GEU I4,
1.6 L 4A-GEC I4
Transmission T50 5-speed manual,
A42DL 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,400 mm (94.5 in)
Length 4,200 mm (165.5 in)
Width 1,630 mm (64.0 in)
Height 1,340 mm (52.6 in)
Curb weight 1,000–1,090 kg (2,200–2,400 lb)
Successor Toyota Corolla E90

The AE86 generation of the Toyota Corolla Levin and Toyota Sprinter Trueno is a small, lightweight coupe or hatchback introduced by Toyota in 1983 as part of the fifth generation Toyota Corolla lineup. For the purpose of brevity, the insider-chassis code of "AE86" depicts the 1600 cc RWD model from the range. In classic Toyota code, the "A" represents the engine that came in the car (4A series), "E" represents the Corolla, "8" represents the fifth generation (E80 series) and "6" represents the variation within this generation.

The Levin has fixed-headlights, and the Trueno has retractable headlights, but both can be hatchback or coupe. The export model name Corolla covers both variations. The AE86 (along with the lower spec 1,452 cubic centimetres (1.452 L) AE85 and 1587 cc SR5 versions) was rear wheel drive (unlike the front wheel drive CE80, EE80 and AE82 models), and is among the last rear-drive cars of its type, at a time when most passenger cars were being switched to front-drive. In 1987, there was a limited edition model of the AE86 called "Black Limited" that served as a send-off model before the AE86 chassis was replaced later that year by the front wheel drive AE92 Corolla/Sprinter range.

The AE86 was also known as the "Hachi-Roku (ハチロク)", Japanese for "eight-six". Similarly the AE85 was commonly called "Hachi-Go (ハチゴー)", meaning "eight-five". The word "trueno" is Spanish for thunder, and "levin" is Middle English for "lightning". In Japan, the Sprinter Trueno was exclusive to Toyota Japan dealerships called Toyota Vista Store, while the Corolla Levin was exclusive to Toyota Corolla Store.

The AE86 later inspired the Toyota 86 (also badged as the GT86, FT86, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ).[2]


The AE86 was available with a fuel-injected 4-cylinder twin-cam 1587 cc 4A-GE engine in Japan and Europe which was also used in the first-generation Toyota MR2 (AW11) and the facelift Toyota Celica GT-R and GT Carina (Japan only). This engine had a maximum gross power output of 130 PS (128 bhp; 96 kW) and 110 lb⋅ft (150 N⋅m) of torque in standard form, though it was later down-rated to 120 PS (118 bhp; 88 kW) and 105 lb⋅ft (142 N⋅m) in net output.[3] The AE86 came with a 5-speed manual gearbox, and later came with the option of an automatic. The 4A-GE engines used in the AE86 and AW11 were equipped with T-VIS (Toyota Variable Intake System). The AE86 had an optional LSD.[3]

In North America, a modified 4A-GEC engine was used to comply with California emissions regulations. Power was rated at 112 bhp (84 kW), and 96 lb·ft (136 Nm) of torque.[3]

The AE86 used ventilated disc brakes. The car was equipped with a MacPherson strut style independent suspension at the front and a four-link live axle with coil springs for the rear. Stabilizer bars were present at both ends.[3]

Higher- spec AE86 models known as the GTS featured the DOHC 4AGE, 4 wheel disc brakes, color matched bumpers, front lower bumper surround had a much more sporty and pronounced lip, door panels were moulded, tachometer redline is around 7,500, wrapped steering wheel, seats had leather wrapped tops ( front seats are completely different from SR5), optional LSD, and aluminium wheels, chassis code in the VIN is AE88 (for North American market cars).

Lower-spec American AE86 SR5 models used the 1587 cc 4A-C SOHC unit, The SR5 rear end was a non LSD with drum brakes. The SR5 model also had a softer suspension, and small styling and interior changes such as seats, gauge cluster, door panels, un-painted front and rear bumpers, and the lower part of the front bumper surround is shorter and flat, and its chassis code in the vin differs as well being AE86 for the SR5 model (for North American market cars)

Models equipped with the 4A-GE engine received a 6.7" rear differential, while 4A-U, and 4A-C models received a smaller, weaker, 6.38" rear differential.

The AE86 SR5 (4A-C equipped) had an optional automatic transmission, though the GT-S model (with the 4A-GE DOHC engine) only came with a standard 5-speed manual gearbox.

One of the staff who was behind the car's engineering work was Nobuaki Katayama, who would later head the company's motorsport department and who would become chief engineer of the Altezza project a decade later.[citation needed] An article in Car Magazine in April 1999, stated he has a photo of an AE86 hung in his office.

Body styles[edit]

Variety of AE86s at 2004 Annual AE86 Meet-Up in Melbourne, Australia.
Variety of AE86s at 2004 Annual AE86 Meet-Up in Melbourne, Australia.

Both the Levin and Trueno variants were offered with either a 2-door coupe or 3-door hatchback body style. The Levin and Trueno were generally identical, apart from fixed, rectangular headlights on the Levin and pop-up headlights on the Trueno. Minor bodywork changes were made in 1986 which resulted in different tail lights, front and rear bumpers, corner and headlight trim lights, and grilles, are the main differences for both Levin and Trueno models, along with the coupe and hatchback styles. The models sold between 1983–1985 are sometimes referred to as "zenki" (前期, lit. early period), and the models sold from 1986–1987 are referred to as "kouki" (後期, lit. latter period).[4] [3]


In Japan, the DOHC 4A-GEU AE86 was offered in GT, GT-APEX and GTV trims as the Corolla Levin or Sprinter Trueno. In North America, the top-spec DOHC 4A-GEC was sold as the Corolla GT-S (with AE86 on the build plate in the engine bay but AE88 in the VIN), with the SOHC 4A-C being sold as the Corolla SR5 (with AE86 on the build plate and in the VIN). Both versions were sold with pop-up headlights only. Euro spec models were sold as the Corolla GT with DOHC engines and fixed Levin-style headlights. The Middle East received the same basic model as the North American market, with pop-up headlights and the regulated 5 mph (8 km/h) bumpers.

The lightest AE86 is the Japanese 2 door GT model which weighs 910 kg (2,006 lb). It has the same exterior as the GTV trim, but with the interior of the AE85 with the exception of the gauges, and is equipped with rear drum brakes.

North American AE86 specifications[edit]

A Corolla Sport GTS, with Sprinter Trueno trim modification

There are three types of Corolla Sport RWD for the US market: DX, SR5, and GT-S, though the DX was generally an internal Toyota designation, as brochures, and advertising do not include the DX designation;[3] it consisted of a lower trim level, lighter duty suspension parts and the like.

  • Model Years of production: 1983 to 1987
  • Versions: DX, SR5 and GT-S (85+ Only)
  • Drag Coefficient: 0.39

Note that the VIN and the chassis code do not match for all models.

DX & SR5 specifications[edit]

  • First 7 characters of VIN: JT2AE85 (DX) or JT2AE86 (SR5)
  • Chassis code: AE86 (which may differ from the VIN)
  • Horsepower: 87 hp (64 kW) @ 4800 rpm* Torque: 85 lb·ft (115 N·m) @ 2800 rpm*
  • Weight: approximately 2200 lb (998 kg) to 2400 lb (1089 kg)
  • Engine: 4A-C, 1587 cc
  • Engine type: SOHC 8-valve Inline-4 carbureted
  • M/T transmission: T50, 6-bolt flywheel
  • A/T transmission: A42DL, 4-speed overdrive w/lockup torque converter, mechanically controlled, with electronically engaged overdrive
  • Compression: 9.0:1
  • Differential: 6.38" open with 4.10:1 ratio, 2-pinion (automatic) (S292) or 3.91:1 ratio, 4-pinion (5-speed) (S314)
  • Wheels/tires: 13×5" +33 mm offset rims with 185/70R13 tires

GT-S specifications[edit]

  • First 7 characters of VIN: JT2AE88
  • Chassis code: AE86 (which differs from the VIN)
  • Horsepower: 112 hp (84 kW) @ 6600 rpm* Torque: 97 lb·ft (132 N·m) @ 4800 rpm*
  • Weight: approximately 2200 lb (998 kg) to 2400 lb (1089 kg)
  • Engine: 4A-GE, 1587 cc
  • Engine type: DOHC 16-valve Inline-4 AFM Multiport Fuel Injection w/T-VIS
  • Transmission: T50, 8-bolt flywheel
  • Injector size: approx. 180 cc, low impedance
  • Compression: 9.4:1
  • Differential: 6.7" Open (T282) or optional LSD (USA Only) (T283) with 4.30:1 Ratio, 2-pinion
  • Wheels/tires: 14×5.5" +27 mm offset rims with 185/60R14 82H tires (195/60R14 85H for 86+ models)

The AE86 in motorsports[edit]

Shoji Nakazawa, drifting his 13B-powered AE86

During its production life, the AE86 was a popular choice for showroom stock, Group A, and Group N racing, especially in rallying and circuit races. Even after production of the car was discontinued, many privateer teams still raced the AE86, and it is still a popular choice for rallying and club races today. Part of the continued appeal of the AE86 for motorsports is its rear-drive configuration, a feature not available in most newer lightweight coupes. In Group A touring car races, the car either dominated the lower category where eligible or fought it out with Honda Civics or the later AE92s and AE101s whilst maintaining its competitiveness. In Ireland, where rallying is considered one of the most popular forms of motorsport, as organizing regulations are more relaxed compared to that of other countries, the AE86 was popular when new, and is still so popular that teams will purchase cars from the UK due to local shortages. The AE86 is also popular for rally use in Finland, where the cars can be competitive in the F-Cup competition for naturally aspirated 2WD cars.

The AE86 entered the European Touring Car Championship from 1984 to 1988 with a 150 hp (112 kW) 4A-GEU engine. In 1986 it beat the BMW M6, BMW 325i (E30), Rover Vitesse, Volvo 240 Turbo, Merkur XR4Ti, Mazda 929, Holden Commodore (VK), Alfa Romeo 75 (turbo V6), and Mercedes 190E 2.3-16 to win the Manufacturers Championship with 267 points, surpassing the 1986 Drivers Championship Schnitzer Motorsport BMW M6.[5]

The semi-factory supported Kraft team entered a spaceframe Trueno at the JGTC with a 3S-GTE engine that came from a SW20 MR-2 Turbo producing about 300 hp (224 kW) for the JGTC GT300 regulations in 1998. Despite being popular with the racefans, the car had minor success and was abandoned from use halfway through the 2001 season in favor of a newly delivered MR-S.[citation needed]

The rear wheel drive configuration, combined with the AE86's light weight (approximately 2300 lb (950–970 kg) curb weight), balance and relatively powerful (and easy to tune) 4A-GEU engine made it popular among the Japanese hashiriya (street racers in Japanese), many of whom raced in touge (mountain passes in Japanese) where the corners suited the AE86 best, especially on the downhill.[3] Among those who utilized this car was Japanese racing legend Keiichi Tsuchiya also known as the Drift King ("Dori-Kin" in Japanese). Keiichi Tsuchiya helped popularize the sport of drifting, which involves taking a car on a set of controlled slides through corners.[3] The AE86's FR configuration made it well suited to this kind of cornering, and currently the car is a mainstay of drift shows and competitions. Japanese drifters like Katsuhiro Ueo, Toshiki Yoshioka, Yoichi Imamura, Koichi Yamashita, Hiroshi Takahashi, Tetsuya Hibino, and Wataru Hayashi were also involved in making the AE86 famous in the drift scene.[citation needed]

AE86s around the world have been extensively modified for use in professional drifting.[6]

The AE86 was also rallied by several rally drivers across the world.

In popular culture[edit]

Initial D AE86 replica.

The main character of the anime and manga Initial D, Takumi Fujiwara, uses his father's AE86 Trueno Apex Hatchback for racing and making his tofu deliveries. Also in Initial D, Takumi's friend, Itsuki Takeuchi, drives an AE85 Levin, initially mistaking it for an AE86. Later on in the series, an imposter Takumi drives his own AE86 Trueno. Throughout the series, two of Takumi's opponents would drive AE86s, the first being Wataru Akiyama, who drives a turbocharged (later converted to supercharged) AE86 Corolla Levin and Shinji Inui, who drives the Notchback coupe version of the AE86 Trueno in the series' finale. A Corolla Levin AE86 also made a brief cameo in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious 4.

The popularity of the manga is cited as the main cause of the car's high resale price, which is often referred to as "Takumi tax", after the main character.[7]

The Sprinter Trueno and Corolla Levin are featured in the racing video games series Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport (excluding the Corolla Levin), Sega GT, Tokyo Xtreme Racer for the Sega Dreamcast (which was later made to PS1 & PS2 for other TXR titles), Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V as the Karin Futo (based on the Corolla Levin). A modified AE86 Trueno similar to the one depicted in Initial D (starting with Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec) appears only in Gran Turismo. The American market AE86 GT-S is featured in Need for Speed: Underground 2, as a starter car. The Toyota AE86 also appears in Need for Speed: The Run, for challenges and multiplayer events. It also appears in Need for Speed: World, Need for Speed: Pro Street, and Need for Speed (2015) (GT-APEX) and Need For Speed: Carbon, and Need For Speed: No Limits. It also appears in the Taito Battle Gear arcade and console racing game franchise. In Battle Gear 3, it appears in tuned and stock forms—the S-Class Trueno appears as a mechanically-tuned machine, while the S-Class Levin appears in both turbocharged and supercharged versions, both looking similar to their Initial D counterparts. The Toyota AE86 Trueno also can be used in Japanese pack of Assetto Corsa. In the Wangan Midnight arcade game by Namco (starting from Maximum Tune 4), it appears with a stock tune of 130 hp and a stock body in the beginning with some 3 selectable colors, and it also appears in anime and manga of the same series.

Takumi Fujiwara's AE86 was available as a livery in the mobile game Pixel Car Racer with the Japanese writing on the side saying "Fujiwara Tofu Shop". However, the livery was removed in a later update (v1.0.66), rendering it a normal AE86 GT-S. It's also available in another mobile game Redline: Drift with the name "hachiroku" and with the writing on the side, as the starting car in the game.


  1. ^ "Toyota Family Tree". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  2. ^ "Toyota Sports Car Heritage | Toyota 86 Predecessors". Arabia MSN Autos. Retrieved 2012-06-12. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Drift Japan » Toyota Corolla AE86 - AE86 History and Overview
  4. ^ Blog - はちろくブログ - AE86: An In-Depth Look at A Legend
  5. ^ "European Touring Car championship - 1986". Retrieved 2016-03-12. 
  6. ^ Petrány, Máté (2014-11-21). "Europeans Have To Out-Crazy Japan When It Comes To Drift Cars". Jalopnik. Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  7. ^ O'Mara, Sean (2013-01-28). "The Enduring Legacy of Initial D and the AE86". Retrieved 2013-02-01.