Two years ago, nearly every AE86 at Toyotafest could have been a D1GP contestant. This past weekend, stock (or restorations with subtle mods) was the new black. We’ve long argued that the venerable twin-cam Corolla GT-S would be one of the first classics of the 80s (and probably one of the top Japanese collector cars), and it appears that now that it’s hit that magic 25-year mark, owners are appreciating it for what it is.
We were afraid that the exploding popularity of drifting and Initial D was going to make it impossible for a photo like the one above, where stock examples park next to modified ones, to be taken of the AE86 in 20 years. But we were wrong!
We actually met the owner of this red zenki a few weeks ago after spotting his car in the wild. And get this: he is the original owner. How many one-owner AE86s are left in the country? In the world? Aside from the wheels, everything else is all original, even the stereo.
This particular liftback from NorCal didn’t have a single speck of dust or grime anywhere. Even the NOS Trueno bumpers had their factory shine and texture. It was built to the hilt with rare performance parts and would probably win the Japanese version of the Ridler Award if there was such a thing.
The above is JNC’s little contribution to the AE86 love-fest. My bone-stock 1986 Corolla GT-S graced our booth between Tokico and Mooneyes. It’s got 163,000 miles and not to brag, but it’s so original that a sticker saying “Made in Japan. To Be Removed by Car Owner Only” has stayed with it for 24 years. Someone offered me a ridiculous amount of money for it at the show, but I ain’t never sellin’! I’ll probably write more about the car in an upcoming post.
Okay, enough about those damn AE86s! How about some of the Corolla liftbacks that came before it? Some would say the TE51, which came two generations earlier, is an ungainly little hatchback, but we say it has a charm emblematic of its times.
Another body style, known as TE51 Sport Coupe. The only difference from the liftback is a slightly more sloped rear section. We first saw this car at one of the South Bay/Torrance Old School meets, and were impressed by how straight it was.
There were a myriad of body styles available for the TE71 as well, but this one, which we’ve seen at a number of shows, remains among our favorites. All it took to make it dead sexy was the right stance and skinny overseas bumpers.
PJ Bonifacio is a legend among paint and body men in SoCal. His Corolla mafia always rolls deep, and this time they were all sporting stylish “TANG” stickers and T-shirts. PJ says it’s a naughty word in Tagalog, one we can’t repeat on a family blog.
This MX62 Cressida was a creative American take on the Japanese sleds that are, in fact, a Japanese take on a American customizing style. Shakotan stance, deep painted barrels and baby moon hubcaps on the outside…
When was the last time you saw a Toyota Pickup with camper bed that wasn’t lurching along the slow lane at 50 miles per hour, looking beat to hell like someone had been living in it, because they had? This amazingly clean truck has decidedly not been a beach bum’s abode for the last 25 years.
This TE37 Corolla was more engine than car. Completely mad. Mad Max, in fact, with a supercharged Lexus V8 poking through the hood, ready to mow down Lord Humungus and his band of gang of desert bandits.
In the late 90s, Yokohama had an virtual Wheel Museum on their Japanese website and the Advan SA3R, which had been discontinued already, was one of the highlights. Depending on the car, they end up looking either oh so right or dreadfully wrong. In this case it’s the former.
Even more impressive, this Corolla is more than museum-worthy, but remains in private hands. The current owner says he immediately sold his Impreza WRX when the previous owner, one of the mythical Old Ladies, put this beauty up for sale. The jack points had never been touched and the original tires were still covered in those new tire hairs, yet his wife still asked, “Why did you buy this junk car?”