Hachiroku Returns: Toyota FT-86 Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show


Toyota has just announced the FT-86 Concept for the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show this October. It’s been two years in the making, and there were several times when the whole thing was thought to be rumor, but Akio Toyoda has finally brought Project 086A to fruition, or at least a concept.


The name stands for “Future Toyota Hachiroku,” evoking the much beloved AE86 Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno. Toyota purists may not like the 2.0L Subaru flat four under the hood, but a low center of gravity was apparently a priority. Fans of the original hachiroku will surely approve of its light weight, FR layout, and 6-speed manual transmission though. Toyota says the body has been strengthened to the “utmost limit,” whatever that means.

Toyota has released precious little other information as of yet, but we do have dimensions. It’s a tiny bit shorter than the AE86, but wider and shorter and with a longer wheelbase. Let’s compare:

FT-86: 4160 x 1760 xΒ  1260mm (L x W x H); 2570mm wheelbase
AE86: 4180 x 1625 x 1335mm; 2400mm wheelbase


The oddest thing about the FT-86 might be the interior. The obligatory space capsule dashboard includes some decidedly low-tech zippers. There was no coherent explanation for this, but the wild controls are unlikely to make it into production anyway.


While we applaud the revival of a proper RWD, manual gearbox sports coupe we wish Toyota had invoked the AE86 in more than just a theme and name. Some styling cues would be nice, particularly the hachi’s unique window shapes. Still, this is as close to confirmation of a return to Toyotas of yore so we’ll keep our complaints to a minimum. What do JNC readers think?

[Images: Toyota]

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41 Responses to Hachiroku Returns: Toyota FT-86 Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show

  1. Neil says:

    I’ll never understand why car manufacturers waste so much money making cars that the production model will look nothing like. I like the look of it and everything but the final product will be miles away.
    Nice to see Toyota atleast thinking about the FR rwd market again. I’ll get excited tho when i see what its actually going to look like.

  2. Lincoln Stax says:

    What do I think? It’s an enthusiast’s dream come true. Small, light, powered by Subaru’s excellent 2.0 liter flat-four, FR layout, 6-speed manual… It might not have any styling cues from the classic AE86, but in every other way, this is a worthy successor to the hachiroku.

  3. banpei says:

    It may sound a bit weird from a person who thinks and breathes AE86, but I’m quite glad Toyota didn’t walk the retro-look-road like most car manufacturers did in the past few years. Why? Very simple: the car will always be compared to the original and will never stand a chance against its predecessor. πŸ˜‰
    All purists and die hards will say the original was better. πŸ˜›

    And besides that: I like the looks of this concept! πŸ™‚

  4. j_c says:

    Thumbs up from me.

    FR and low boxer-4 would make this a great handling car, plus an f-ing MANUAL gear box.

  5. Nigel says:

    I have the cones, who has an empty parking lot !?!

  6. jetto says:

    it looks like an aston martin. Not a styling cue from the old AE86. maybe the YKK zippers are from the 1980’s.

  7. Sr-FairladyZ says:

    Any RWD JDM is good news! Is it because I’m Nissan folk that my eye catches major Zed resemblances? Like the hood and nose for instance. Also, if they want to bring back the leather stitched dash, more power to them! That’s true 80’s if you ask me.

  8. Mr.L.J. Nordvik says:

    I love it! My guesstimate is that the exterior is pretty close to production specs,whilst the interior will be slightly more conventional.

  9. bert says:

    I thought they killed this thing! It’s great to see that they are keeping it alive, otherwise Hyundai would be ruling the world with the Genesis.

    As for the styling, I don’t think the world is ready for such a crazy interior. A cheap LF-A look alike would be cool though. I think the dash zippers are for interchangable dash covers maybe? It would have been nice to see a Toyota four banger under the hood though.

  10. F3ARED says:

    “Also, if they want to bring back the leather stitched dash, more power to them! That’s true 80’s if you ask me.”

    Funny you mention that – my ex girlfriends Camry had a plastic dash, but low and behold it had a stitch-like detail moulded into it lmfao.

    Must say im pretty disapointed tho – not with the concept, or the look, i think its awesome – more the fact its got subi running gear. Theres nothing wrong with Subaru engines, and i judging by my penchant for heavily modifying every car i own im definately not a purist, but its just wrong on so many levels – particularly considering how much fun the 4AGE 16v’s were.

    As if they couldnt machine a bellhousing and mate it to the current Corolla 2L?

  11. Alan says:

    Any flat four is a far more interesting and smooth proposition than a freakin run of the mill Toyota inline four, and that’s from a 4AGE diehard – Toyota hasn’t built a decent four in twenty years.

    Didn’t think they made pretty cars anymore. Didn’t think they made light, RWD, interesting, affordable cars anymore either.

    I WILL be buying one of these.

  12. kingtoy says:

    Well so it’s finally made it to the light of day. As another complete die hard Toyota fanatic I have mixed emotions about this car. I am happy that they are thinking of their past and also of auto enthusists in bringing to market a small lightweight RWD coupe. I would thing that since they are trying to envoke the name of the old “86” that would at least try to throw a couople of styling clues in there. Hell, even Nissan put quarter windows similar to the old 240Z on the new 350Z. I could get use to the new modern styling, but there is one thing I will never except, that flat 4. I have nothing against that motor, if has proven itself many times on the street and in competition. There is just one thing basically wrong with using it. If you are going to try and get Toyota faithfuls to buy this, you better stick a Toyota engine in it. I’m sorry I won’t accept it as a true Toyota with out a Toyota engine powering it.

  13. E-AT_me says:

    so if something breaks, where do i get it serviced?

  14. j.a.c.k says:

    don’t forget that affordable was also part of the allure of the original AE86. i hope they keep it “entry level” pricing.

  15. Sr-FairladyZ says:

    In regards to styling, I mean really.. how many cues can you take from a 25yr old boxy car like the 86? You need a keen eye to spot the beauty in the AE86. It doesn’t sport lines like the Z or a Challenger that can be adapted to the curves and lines of today’s market. Now don’t go barking at me that I think the AE86 is ugly, I love it (used to own one myself).. it’s just that the masses don’t love the AE86, nor understand it. I think the styling is fine.

  16. miles.bidd says:

    i like it.. just dont love it. I LOVE TOYOTA… its just the whole reason i am into oldschool cars is that i have never gotten used to the more modern body styles. but in all honesty, this successor got me thinking twice. another allure to the original ae86 platform was that they made a seemingly everyday mundane looking box, into a balanced performer. this reinvention is a little too sporty. in a way, kinda going away from the ae86. i mean thats why i love the ae86, its a little box drifting circles around those other powerhouses. now if the FT-86 were to go into D1, its gonna look like a Aston-martin getting sideways. the flat four has to go though. like what everyone else said, its a good engine. dont get me wrong, toyota purist/fan or not, its just. i dont know how to explain it. like all other modified hybrids, there are always gripes. i would get one though

  17. Lincoln Stax says:

    It’s just been confirmed that the FT-86 will be in the upcoming Gran Turismo 5 video game. Here’s a video of it in action, including a brief view of it drifting with an AE-86 at Fuji.

  18. banpei says:

    @Lincoln Stax: great find!
    Funny that the AE86 can keep up with the FT-86! Now, is the FT-86 that bad or is the driver just a bad drifter? πŸ˜€

    I already gave the FT-86 a bit more in depth look and had some funny conclusions:
    Basically the concept follows some of the interior design cues of the AE86 and the big question is: why does it have four pedals? It already has got a handbrake lever on the tunnel, so it can’t be a foot operated parking brake… Unless they really want us to master a double heel-to-toe technique! πŸ˜€

  19. Sr-FairladyZ says:

    banpei, 4 Peddles? I see 3 and a foot rest. Most cars have’em, I use mine everyday.

  20. Scooter3 says:

    Looks more like a 390Z concept then a Toyota

  21. Alan says:

    With all due respect, all this “I won’t buy one ’cause it’s not a Toyota motor” stuff is a little odd. The 4AGE was a Cosworth BDA, copied by Yamaha. Same with that horrid Corolla motor.

    • Ben says:

      I’m not so sure it was based on the Cosworth BDA: http://www.club4ag.com/faq_and_tech_pages/4A-GE%20History%20And%20Family%20Tree.htm

      Contrary to a false assumption that the 4A-G is a copy of the Cosworth BDA, (coincidental β€˜A’ series designation on both engines). There are little, if any, interchangeable parts between the two engines, outside of maybe some nuts and bolts. The Cosworth 4-valve design started life using the Ford Cortina engine block, with its distributor located on the side of the block and progressed to belt driven Escort engines. The basic block was, like the current formula Atlantic engine, based on a production block. Most of the Ford blocks that Cosworth used could be taken up to 2 liters. The 4A-G is limited to around 1.6 liters maximum, because of the deck height and bore spacing. The included valve angles for the BDA is 40Β°, along with what has become a Ken Duckworth design feature, and that is the use of a separate camshaft tray. To the contrary, the 4A-G has a one-piece head with the camshaft saddles cast right in. The included valve for the 4A-G is 50Β°, more similar to the earlier Alfas or other Italian designs of the 70’s.

  22. vdo_game_junkie says:

    Why didn’t they just call it a Celica? If definitely has some sort of resemblence to the 7th gen Celica. They could easily pull that off than any Corolla. Not to mention the first 3 gens of Celica were RWD. I guess the Hachiroku is the “in” thing and a more marketable choice.

  23. Alan says:

    It’s not a direct copy, but it’s a similar layout (DOHC 16V) with similar bore and stroke – close enough. What it comes down to is Yamaha has helped with Toyotas high-performance motors since the 2000GT, hell the 2000GT was essentially a badge-engineered Yamaha… why all the griping?

  24. Kostamojen says:

    This is the first new car in a looooong time i’d actually be willing to go into dept for πŸ˜›

    Although it will probably be the Scion tC replacement, which means it will be not that expensive πŸ™‚

    I’m a Subaru guy so i’m hoping for a Subaru variant, but either way i’d service it at a Subaru dealer πŸ˜›

  25. Alan says:

    I’m both a Subaru and Toyota fanboy, but something tells me Subaru’s US “AWD on every car we make” marketing strategy will prevent them from selling their variant over here.

  26. Sal V says:

    Thumbs up! Work alittle more on the front part and am sold!

  27. zetozeto99 (j.ramirez) says:

    meh… looks like it’s trying to hard to be a Z.

  28. banpei says:

    @Sr-FairladyZ If you look at this picture it doesn’t really look like a foot rest:
    You can clearly see space between the pedal and the floor and there is also a rubber surrounding behind it. Looks like a strange footrest to me…

  29. bert says:

    @banpei, The interior was a bit outragous, maybe they were trying something new on the foorest/pedal.

  30. Rob says:

    Love it. hopefully they will make a subaru turbo available!!!!

  31. kneon says:

    i like it, i’d have it, but, i bet just like the Hyundai Genesis, i’ll never see it in Australia πŸ™

  32. Lincoln Stax says:

    β€œ’Sports cars have to be red, but we wanted a new red,’ chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said. ‘So we came up with shoujyouhi red, the traditional red color of a Japanese monkey’s’ backside.”


  33. zak says:

    here’s a question if they do bring it out into production is it consider a corolla ?

  34. Lincoln Stax says:

    No, because it’s a dedicated platform. It shares more with the Imprezza than the Corolla.

  35. krΓ© says:

    “# vdo_game_junkie Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Why didn’t they just call it a Celica? If definitely has some sort of resemblence to the 7th gen Celica. They could easily pull that off than any Corolla. Not to mention the first 3 gens of Celica were RWD. I guess the Hachiroku is the β€œin” thing and a more marketable choice.”

    The first FIVE generations of Toyota Sprinter were RWD. So what’s your point exactly?

  36. Zukiru says:

    finally a subaru powered coupe on the market… I’m in I’ll take which ever variant we get in blue or black with some gold bbs wheels!

    it’s gorgeous.

  37. kingtoy says:

    Yeah, just take the Toyota badge off and call it a Subaru like it needs to be.

  38. Alan says:

    “Yeah, just take the Toyota badge off and call it a Subaru like it needs to be.”

    No need, no one will ever believe something so exciting could be a modern Toyota.

  39. ClubAE86 says:

    I love this, good job Toyota….. now please don’t pull a FT-HS or LF-A “All show no go” Policy. Cause we’ve miss the FR toyota we all loved for over 30yrs from the super halo 2000GT to my beloved AE86 please make this happens….don’t know about all you toyota fans out there….but I think this thing looks great… has the right mindset might not look exactly as this concept here…but somewhere in between is nice…cause give me room to improve the looks as well as performance wise with some volk racing wheels and turbo charged STI EJ25 swap in the works?? LOL

  40. FT86 fan says:

    rumors spread that there is totally new engine in development. something from the EZ30R H6 series, just cut down to two cylinders. This well be a nostalgic and iconic japanese car after 20 years for sure πŸ™‚

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