Automotive Toyota AE86 Levin drifting sideways

Published on May 17th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


Toyota AE86 Levin Celebrates 37 Years Of Success

Prices are rising as you read this.

There is a simple, fun to drive Japanese hatchback that is rising in value year after year and this year it is celebrating its 37 years in existence around the world. It was a rear-drive product from Toyota and was unveiled in 1983 as the 5thgeneration Corolla hatchback. 

Toyota AE86 Levin racing
Toyota AE86 Levin drift car
Toyota AE86 Levin drift car in action
Well known for its drifting ability

Power Unit

Fitted with a high-revving and involving 1.6-litre, double overhead cam (DOHC) engine producing 124hp and mated to its engaging rear-wheel drive chassis with a low-slung driving position for the driver, the Toyota AE86 was a real undiluted driver’s dream. So much so, it quickly became the choice of serious race and rally professionals wanting a playful, reliable and fast rear-wheel drive machine. From the showroom it delivered a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 8.3 seconds with its slim 970kg and reached 205km/h easily. 

Toyota AE86 Levin front
Toyota AE86 Levin rear

Old Story

We were given the chance to purchase a low mileage single lady owner unit with light blue exterior and dark blue interior back in 1997 for just RM20,000 and we declined with a lot of hesitation as there was no loan available and sadly no RM20k cash in the pocket.  


Factory History

The insider-chassis code of “AE86” depicts the 1600 cc RWD model from the range. In classic Toyota code, the “A” represents the engine that came in the car (4A series), “E” represents the Corolla, “8” represents the fifth generation (E80 series) and “6” represents the variation within this generation.

Toyota AE86 Levin brochure
Toyota AE86 Levin cabin brochure
Toyota AE86 GT Levin brochure
Toyota AE86 Levin brochure

Fixed Or Flip

The Levin has fixed-headlights and its sibling, the Trueno has retractable headlights, but both can be found in either a hatchback or as a coupe. The export model name Corolla covers both variations. The AE86 (along with the lower spec 1,452 cubic centimetres (1.452 L) AE85 and 1587 cc SR5 versions) was rear wheel drive (unlike the front wheel drive CE80, EE80 and AE82 models), and is among the last rear-drive cars of its type, at a time when most passenger cars were being switched to front-drive. 

In 1987, there was a limited edition model of the AE86 called “Black Limited” (pictured below) that served as a send-off model before the AE86 chassis was replaced later that year by the front wheel drive AE92 Corolla/Sprinter range.

Toyota AE86 Levin black edition
The infamous edition of the classic AE86, the Black Limited, is by far the most valuable and most sought after model

Today, some 37 years later, or if your lucky enough to find the last edition which will be 33 years old, the asking price of this Japanese hatch is between RM90,000 and RM120,000 (same price as a used 5 to 7-year old Toyota GT86 pictured below in red) which puts its side by side with most retro Japanese cars that are in high demand today. Cars like the Datsun 240Z and the Toyota Celica 1600ST.

Toyota Levin vs Toyota GT86
Toyota celebrated the AE86  Black Limited edition with the 86 Black Limited Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and it has finally reached its production stages.

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