Toyota Corolla Levin AE86: Spotted

If you think about it, not a great deal has changed since the AE86 was last discussed in PH editorial. Well, apart from them becoming more valuable, but we'll deal with that. It's still the hero car from Initial D, it's still one of the early drifting icons and it's still the car the GT86 wants to be. The latter car's emulation of its illustrious predecessor is laudable, but it's hard to imagine the 21st century '86 ever acquiring quite the same following. Finally, the rear-wheel drive Corolla is still much in demand from those who drive predominantly sideways, be they on a stage or a drift arena.

In fact, perhaps that's what's changed: AE86s are scarcer than they've ever been. If they haven't been sacrificed for a motorsport project of some kind, they've succumbed to the ravages of too many English winters and rusted away. Let's be honest, the appeal is pretty niche: the Corolla doesn't have the broad, classless cachet of a Golf GTI, or the endearing charm over here of the classic British roadsters. You've got to be a bit of a dork, put simply. Fortunately, this is PistonHeads...

And wouldn't you know, there's an AE86 for sale on PH. Furthermore, as tends to happen as classics become rarer, it's perhaps one of the best still remaining. It's not fettled, it's not tampered with, and it does look to have been very well cared for. The only non-standard items are a Fujitsubo exhaust and header; otherwise only genuine Toyota parts have been used in its upkeep, and they include a recent cambelt, brake overhaul and distributor.

Even more encouragingly than that is the studious rustproofing that has taken place for this Corolla, with the whole thing waxoyled and the cavities injected. The owner claims it's rust-free, and certainly the AE86 looks very clean from here. Of course you have to be realistic with a Japanese import that's more than 30 years old, although the signs are good.

Now we're getting to the crux of why this AE86 appeals so much. Because while it is a very presentable version, it isn't a garage queen; with more than 130,000 miles recorded, you shouldn't have any fear about continuing to drive and enjoy it. Keep on top of the maintenance and it will continue to be coveted in future, too.

What a joy it surely would be to drive, too, weighing less than a tonne and revving to more than 7,000rpm. Our PH Hero story said "its charisma and sense of fun mean any journey, sideways or not, is an absolute hoot", and if that doesn't like a good car to you then you're probably on the wrong website.

The one problem we can see with this AE86 is that the price is listed as POA, which means you're going to have to ask if you're interested. Given the modified Hachi Roku we featured three years ago was £11,000, you would have to safely assume a decent chunk more than that. For about 98 per cent of the population that's going to sound silly, but for the remaining two per cent the condition of this Corolla, plus its hallowed status, means they'll likely pay what's being asked - you would if you could, wouldn't you?


Engine: 1,587cc, 4-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 123@6,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 107@5,200rpm
CO2: Ah
Recorded mileage: 217,000km (134,838 miles)
Year registered: 1987
Price new: Pass
Yours for: POA...

See the original advert here.


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Comments (61) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Al U 17 Apr 2018

    POA?! - I'm thinking like £3-4k max...

  • Rod200SX 17 Apr 2018

    Al U said:
    POA?! - I'm thinking like £3-4k max...
    I'd be guessing around 7-10k. Prices have gone a bit mad.

  • eybic 17 Apr 2018

    Al U said:
    POA?! - I'm thinking like £3-4k max...
    At least double the lower end of that estimate I reckon.

  • Al U 17 Apr 2018

    After reading the article again I think I am firmly in the 98%.

  • Turbobanana 17 Apr 2018

    Ad claims 112bhp.

    No doubt someone will be along soon bemoaning the output, velour interior and long, 1980's overhangs smile

    I was working as a car valet in 1984, while still at school, and remember these when new. We had a couple through and ran them if they had tax / MoT on: they didn't seem remarkable at the time, but neither did Golfs or Escorts...

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