A look back at the Toyota Corolla AE86 (1983 – 1987) 0


It’s rare that a car becomes more well-known by the code used to identify it at the assembly plant rather than the name used at showrooms, but that’s exactly the legacy that has befallen the Corolla AE86.

Joining the illustrious ranks of the Rover SD1 and Alfa Romeo Type 105 comes the AE86, known as the Corolla Levin GT in Japan where it has become one of the country’s most revered classic cars. The numerical moniker most probably came about due to the confusing situation in the UK, where the cars could be purchased in either front or rear wheel drive.

Both versions were great fun, but it’s the rear-wheeled edition that has claimed a place in the hearts of a generation of Playstation fans, drift fanatics and club rally drivers – in Ireland particularly.

This appeal has naturally pushed up the price the AE86 can be bagged for today. Originally, it was powered by a twin-cam 16-valuve 122bhp 1.6-litre with plenty of revs. This combined superbly with the RS2000-style tail-centred handling that came as standard.

Rust is a constant scourge for the surviving models, but most are kept wrapped in cotton wool by their fanatical owners.

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