Toyota AE85

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Toyota Corolla Levin /
Sprinter Trueno (AE85)
1983 Toyota Corolla-Levin 01.jpg
Manufacturer Toyota
Production May 1983[1]–1987
Body and chassis
Class Sport compact
Body style 2-door coupé,
3-door coupé
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Related Toyota AE86
Engine 1.5 L 3A-U I4
Power output 83hp (1,452cc)
Transmission 5 speed manual,
4 speed automatic
Wheelbase 94.5 in (2,400 mm)
Length 165.5 in (4,200 mm)
Width 64.0 in (1,630 mm)
Height 52.6 in (1,340 mm)
Curb weight 1,950 lb (880 kg) to 2,075 lb (941 kg)
Predecessor Toyota Corolla E70
Successor Toyota Corolla E90

The Toyota AE85, sold as the Toyota Corolla Levin, Toyota Sprinter Trueno or Toyota Corolla DX is a rear-wheel drive sportscoupe manufactured by Toyota from 1983-1987. The AE85 shares its chassis and basic design with the famous AE86, but while the AE86 was designed for performance, the AE85 was designed for economy and differs mainly in its engine. The chassis code "AE85" is used to describe the 1500 cc RWD model from the range. In classic Toyota code, the "A" represents the engine that came in the car (3A series), "E" represents the Corolla, "8" represents the fifth generation (E80 Series) and "5" represents the variation within this generation. The Levin has fixed-headlights, and the Trueno has retractable headlights, both came in hatchback or coupe variations. Despite the successes of the AE85, a North American version was never produced; instead, a North American spec AE86 SR5 was made featuring a 4A-C engine, but with a SOHC.[2]

Engine / Technical[edit]

The inaugural AE85 model's standard equipment included Toyota's 3A-U carburetor-equipped Single Overhead Cam (SOHC) motor displacing 1,452cc(cubic centimeter) and K50 cable-clutch transmission. It featured drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering.[3] It did not incorporate the limited-slip differential (LSD) or rear disc brakes of the higher-performing AE86.

The A Series engines are a family of straight-4 internal combustion engines with displacement from 1.3 L to 1.8 L produced by Toyota Motor Corporation. The AE85 featured the 3A-U engine, which at the time was nothing new; fourth generation Toyota Corollas and Sprinters such as the AE70 featured the same engine. Toyota opted to use the older, less powerful engine in the AE85 to keep costs down, while still providing enough power for an economy class car. This decision lead the AE85 to be outclassed in horsepower by not only the stronger AE86, but most other options at the time. However, it was rated by the Japanese Ministry of Transport to have a fuel economy of 26.4 km/L (62.1 mi/gal) when running at a constant speed of 60 km/h (37.28 mph)[4] which was drastically better than most other cars of its class.

Body Variations[edit]

The AE85 and was available in multiple body variations,[2] and also with fixed headlight front (Levin) or pop-up lights (Trueno.) Because of their identical outward appearance, the variants can sometimes be mistaken. All AE85 variants have 1.5 L engines, and are nearly identical in form to their 1.6 L AE86 counterparts. The Corolla Levin was unique to Toyota Japan retail sales channel called Toyota Corolla Store, and the Sprinter Trueno was available new only at Toyota Vista Store locations.

SR and SE[edit]

The AE85 SR and SE both come in Levin or Trueno versions, the former being a 3-door hatchback, and the latter being the 2-door variant.

XL and GL[edit]

Both of these models were low grade versions that were less expensive. The XL model is a 2-door Trueno, and the GL is a 2-door Levin.

XL-Lisse and GL-Lime[edit]

The Lisse and Lime were luxury variants of the XL and GL models, featuring automatic transmission and power steering, they were marketed heavily towards women in Japan.[4] The Lisse is a 2-door Trueno, and the Lime is a 2-door Levin.

Difference between AE85 and AE86[edit]

A comparison of the AE86 (red) and the AE85 (grey).

Because they are different grades of the same model, it is often difficult to distinguish between the AE85 and the AE86. If the model emblem is lost or removed, or the car has been painted, the two are almost indistinguishable by appearance alone. Furthermore, many modifications exist for these models, which further blurs the line between them. However, if the hood is opened, the two grades have obvious engine differences, and the model number is stamped into the monocoque. They also have a distinctly different exhaust sound, which is one of the most obvious differences.


  • A badge on the trunk will often denote the variant, AE85 variants include: SR, SE, XL, and GL; whereas AE86 variants include GT-APEX, GT-S, GT-V, GT, and SR-5.
  • On Trueno models, the AE85 did not come standard with cornering lamps as the AE86 did.


  • The AE85 has a stabilizer on the rear suspension of the 3-door SR but not the other models, the AE86 has it on all models.

Drive System[edit]

  • The manual transmission is K50 type with cable clutch as opposed to the AE86's T50 transmission with hydraulic clutch.
  • The front brakes are solid disks, and the rears are drum brakes. The AE86 has ventilated front disk brakes on the GT-Apex, GT-S, GT-V, and GT models, but has solid rear disks. The North American AE86 SR-5 also features solid front disk brakes, with drum type brakes at the rear.


  • The AE85's front seats are more basic bucket seats and the steering wheel has two spokes, the AE86 has more ergonomic racing seats and a three spoke steering wheel.
  • The red zone of the tachometer starts at 6000 rpm, and the AE86's starts at 7600 rpm.


  • The engine model is 1.5 L 3A-U SOHC, which is much less powerful than the 1.6 L 4A-GEU or 4A-C engine that AE86 cars had.[5]
  • The AE85 (and the NA spec SR-5 AE86) feature a SOHC engine for fuel efficiency, whereas the AE86 GT-V, GT-Apex, and GT-S have a Dual Overhead Cam (DOHC) engine for more power and torque at the cost of efficiency.

Popular culture[edit]

The car is known colloquially in Japan as the Hachi-Go (ハチゴー?), meaning "Eight-Five". The word "trueno" is Spanish for thunder, and "levin" is Old English for "lightning".

Privateer racing teams in Japan would use the AE85 and convert it to an AE86 since it is much cheaper by performing an engine swap. Using modifications such as a bolt-on turbo or supercharger, racers can strengthen their vehicle while keeping the light weight of the AE85 body.[6]

In the manga/anime Initial D, Itsuki buys an AE85 thinking it was an AE86.


  1. ^ "Toyota Family Tree". Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  2. ^ a b "AE86 Model Name Comparison - Club4AG". Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  3. ^ "1983 Toyota Sprinter Trueno Coupé 1500 SR AE85 specifications, information, data, photos 262559". Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  4. ^ a b "60009032 Sprinter Trueno 5th". Retrieved 2017-02-21. 
  5. ^ "ハチゴー(AE85)とハチロク(AE86) | トヨタ86 買取". トヨタ86 買取 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2017-02-27. 
  6. ^ "1985 Toyota Corolla AE85 - Import Tuner Magazine". SuperStreetOnline. 2004-02-01. Retrieved 2017-02-27.