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Toyota Corolla AE86

Toyota Corolla AE86 Published: 21st Apr 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Toyota Corolla AE86
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Looking for a classic with a difference – then why not consider a gem from Japan suggests Chris Rees?

Japanese cars, for so long neglected by the classic car movement, now have a huge following. That charge has been led by the hard-to-ignore Mazda MX-5, which single-handedly reinvented the two-seater roadster. But so pervasive is the MX-5’s influence that Mr Editor has instructed me not to talk about it. Which is good because there are so many fantastic Japanese classics out there.

From 1970’s retro rides to 21st century performance icons, Japan’s rich car culture has produced an impressive spread of machinery to choose from. The fact that so many of these are ‘under the radar’ in the car market means there are some bargains out there. But our prediction is that values will soon rise for many Japs. Why? Because they’re undervalued and because owners love the fact that they’re more reliable than other classics. So here’s our choice of cars that you can buy at bargain prices, enjoy and, very probably, see increase in value over time. There, I didn’t mention the MX-5 at all. Er, doh!


PRODUCTION: 1983-1987
VALUES: £5000-£15,000

For the uninitiated, the notion of a 1980’s Toyota Corolla being worth £15k must seem bizarre, but the AE86 is something special. Sold in parallel with the deathly-dull 1983-1987 front-wheel drive Corolla, the AE86 was utterly different, offering rear-wheel drive via a live axle. Enthusiasts quickly discovered just how exciting its handling could be, to the point of being exceedingly oversteer-happy. But that was all part of the fun, as a generation brought up on the Tokyo Drift film franchise attested. Power came from a cracker of a 1.6-litre twin-cam engine, developing 125bhp in UK spec, or slightly more in Jap-spec Sprinter Trueno Apex and Levin GT guises. As the car weighed less than a ton, performance was lively, but the raw figures – 120mph tops and 0-60 in 8.6 seconds – don’t really tell the story. The twin-cam engine is an aural delight and a masterpiece of free-revving, old-school engineering. The current AE86 is already a sought-after classic. Find an unmolested example for around £13,500 and its value will only rise in the years to come.

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