Running Free: A J-Style Street Drift AE86… Made In Ireland
The quest for perfection

In car culture circles, perfection means many things to many people. For some, it’s achieving a faultless lap when it matters the most. For others it’s an unblemished score card at a Concours D’Elegance event, or perhaps even something as simple as a set a wheels that fit exactly the way it was envisaged they would.

For Patrick Murray, perfection is something he sought and found in a 1987 Toyota Trueno GT Apex built for attacking Irish back roads.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-15N

In Irish drift circles, I doubt the name Team Disco needs little introduction. For a few years the small, but dedicated group of friends have churned out some of the toughest touge-spec machines anywhere in the world, let alone a small island on the north-western coast of mainland Europe.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-10N

The AE86 I’m about to show you – one of the very last kouki-model cars before Toyota permanently ditched its rear-wheel drive Corolla platform – epitomises everything Team Disco stands for. It respects its JDM roots, it was specifically built for the street, and the owner did the work.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-12N

I’m not just talking about bolting on parts though, but rather the entire process – from custom fabrication to the paint work and everything in between. That would be impressive enough if Patrick did this sort of thing for a living, but spinning spanners and aiming spray guns at AE86s is very much a hobby for him.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-49N

If you’re clued up on iconic Japanese AE86s, you might be looking at these pictures and telling yourself that you’ve seen this car before. You probably haven’t, but it’s totally understandable given the influences behind the build. Think Kanagawa hachiroku style – red paint, Run Free and Goodline aero, a naturally aspirated 4A-GE and super-wide Watanabe wheels… In Patrick’s eyes, this is the recipe for street-tuned AE86 perfection.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-1N

Looking at his creation, let alone understanding every last little detail – and there’s many – that it took to piece it together, it’s hard to argue the fact. This is a very cool car.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-18N

As I just mentioned, the visual aspect of the Trueno has been achieved through the use of a few select parts, all of which – like the car itself, a Yahoo Auctions find – were sourced out of Japan. That includes the  Goodline Ground Effect front bumper and vented bonnet; Run Free side skirts, rear bumper and FRP hatch with integrated TRD N2 wing; and East Bear Type 1 aero mirrors.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-16N

It’s not all off-the-shelf stuff though, the extended arches for instance were handcrafted from steel and carefully integrated into the factory front and rear guards.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-13N

Wheels were always going to play a very important part in this build, but in sticking to the aforementioned Kanagawa script, only RS Watanabes were ever going to do. The R-type rims pack some pretty serious specs too: 15×9.5-inch with a -19 offset up front, and 15×10.5-inch with a -32 offset at the rear. They’re wrapped in a mix of Toyo and Nexen tyres measuring 195/50R15 and 205/50R15 respectively.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-22N

Like the way it looked, Patrick had clear intentions about how the Trueno should to drive and perform too. That’s something that goes a long way in explaining some impressive hardware lurking under the lid…

Keeping it real
Team Disco AE86 PMcG-17N

Of course, Patrick wanted more power than the 125-odd horsepower that factory-spec engine could muster up, but at the same time he didn’t want to stray too far from the hachiroku’s original script.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-19N

With that thinking in mind, I’m not at all surprised – and very happy – to still see a 16-valve 4A-GE taking pride in place between the AE86’s front strut towers. It’s not entirely the same base engine that the car was originally specced with though, but that was always going to be the case considering Patrick’s plans for the naturally aspirated four-cylinder powerplant. A seven-rib 4A-GE block sourced from a kouki AE92 provides the basis of the build, adding strength and other performance-oriented features like oil squirters for the retro-fitted high compression Wossner 82mm forged pistons.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-21N

The ‘Big Port’ cylinder head is AE86 factory-fare though, or it was at least before being modified to allow it to take much deeper breaths, both on inhale and exhale. The ports were gas-flowed then polished and the cams swapped for HKS equivalents fitted with adjustable slide pulleys, before the head was bolted down on a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) 0.8mm metal head gasket via an ARP stud kit. 

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-23N

The 16-valve 4A-GE never left the factory with quad throttle bodies, but the latter 20-valve versions did, so the upgrade is a given when you’re chasing NA power. ‘Silvertop’ AE101 43mm quads with very cool Tec-Arts stacks are in use here, with a Toy Techno Tuning (T3) adapter plate allowing a bolt-on connection to the original intake manifold. Of course, with the head’s improving flow and four big mouthes gulping air, the requirement for fuel is higher is much higher too. RC 440cc injectors supplied by a high-flow in-tank Walbro fuel pump satisfy that thirst; top-shelf pump gas a non-negotiable requirement for the 12.5:1 compression. 

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-40N

Aside from the stacked throttle bodies, I’m pretty sure the Power Craft Tornado stainless steel header would have caught your eye in the full shot of the engine a few photos back. It’s one part of a completely freed-up exhaust that utilises a Rein Hard 60.5mm Type C stainless steel under-diff system that finishes with dual tail pipes.

Combined with intake roar from the un-filtered trumpets, the sound it makes at full noise is music to the ears. I suggest you push play and hear it for yourself though…

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-54N

Ensuring that the engine stays cool – even when it’s being punished for long periods of time over fast-flowing Irish touge roads – was particularly important to Patrick, and why there’s a Koyo aluminium race radiator peaking through the aforementioned Goodline heat-extracting FRP hood, along with a Techno Pro Spirits performance water pump and a Trust/GREX oil cooler kit. Overheating is not an issue.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-20N

For engine management, a standalone Omex 600 system delivers the orders; subsequent tuning revealing peak output of 184hp. It might not be a huge number in the bigger scheme of things, but as anyone who’s modified one of these engines will attest, it’s a healthy figure for a street-tuned 16-valve 4A-GE, and – in this instance – more than enough grunt to hang the car sideways at speed, and stick it there.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-5N

Of course, for that to be able to happen reliably, Patrick needed to make some upgrades to the driveline too. The Trueno still runs its original T50 five-speed gearbox, but there’s an Exedy paddle clutch and Techno Pro Spirits 3.8kg flywheel in the mix now too. Being a kouki model, the Toyota’s rear axle was factory-specced with larger axles than the early AE86, and together with a TRD 2-way limited slip differential, it has no problem getting the power to the ground. The perfect ratio for a fast road set up – a 4.77:1 crown wheel and pinion with a solid pinion spacer replaces the original 4.30 final drive.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-42N

If there’s one area of the car more modified than any other though, it’s the suspension. Here, Patrick has left no stone unturned in the quest for the ultimate AE86 street drift setting. More than three decades after its debut the hachiroku is still praised for its handling and balance but as evidenced by the sheer number of upgrades that have been made beneath this car, there’s still plenty of scope for improvement. From SP Tec lower control arms and custom coilovers featuring TRD Black dampers, Revolver roll centre adjusters and Cusco 8.0kg springs on the front end, to Group 4 adjustable rose-jointed bars in the four-link and AVO coilovers in the rear – the Toyota is very well specced in the suspension department. If you want the full picture, check out the spec panel at the end of the next chapter…

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-6N

The brakes have have been improved too, with larger 288mm rotors and Mazda RX-7 callipers now fitted at the front with Endless pads, stainless steel lines and a Cusco master cylinder stopper. Factory discs suffice at the rear with a simple Project Mu compound upgrade.

Sitting pretty

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-14N

Given the way the car has come together, the vision above could easily be a scene out of Dino’s camera in Japan – not Paddy’s in the Irish countryside on a brisk autumn day. But authenticity through genuine JDM parts and AE86 building methodology was always the point of the build. It’s a theme that follows through to the inside as well.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-29N

Obvious from the moment your swing open a door, the customised interior space that Patrick has created is nothing short of a lesson in Japanese touge/street drift function and style.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-30N

Bride seats were a prerequisite of course – a fixed-back FRP Zeta for Patrick, and a reclinable Ergo for any would-be passengers. Bride floor mats featuring the the brand’s iconic graduation logo material, complete the picture. Well, almost.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-31N

The cockpit was never going to be complete without a Nardi wheel, nor a Cusco spin turn knob wound into the handbrake lever – but they’re both present and accounted for too. There’s a TRD Duracon shift knob as well, along with a handy 10,000rpm tachometer and a steering hub spacer to push the wheel further outwards for the optimum driving position.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-35N

Apart from the six-point Funky Carrot roll cage, Jubiride four-point upper brace and Cusco strut bar in the rear, it’s a straightforward, clean and functional space. I don’t know about you, but to me this is an AE86 street interior done right.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-55N

When you consider that coilovers and an LSD were the only modifications the Trueno had when Patrick imported it from Japan around seven years ago, it’s easy to see just how far it’s come in that time. It’s also been the catalyst for further AE86 builds, and along with this one there are now three more of them living in his shed – a lightly modified black/graphite Levin GT-V that serves as Patrick’s daily driver, his 2013 season SR20DET-powered competition Trueno and a new-for-2014 pro-spec Trueno that will be making its track debut soon.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-43N

That particular machine has been built using lessons learnt in Japan studying a genuine TRD N2 race car, but like the AE86 it’s replacing, it’ll stick with a turbo four cylinder Nissan engine – a necessity in the company of many high-powered pro cars, rather than a want – as Patrick is quick to point out. If there was a way he could run a 4A-GE but remain competitive, he’d be all over it.

Team Disco AE86 PMcG-3N

Like the subject of this story, it’s also likely that the new competition machine will see plenty of street action too, because Patrick definitely hasn’t forgotten his roots, or let the passion for Toyota’s humble, lightweight rear-wheel drive hero car from the 1980s wane in any way. There’s many ways I could finish up this story, but I think I’m going to leave it up to Patrick. “Some people dream of owning a Ferrari F40, but for me this is my dream car. I’m a pretty simple person. I just like Corollas. AE86s are not just about styling for me – they are about driving. Ueo, Kaicho, Imamura, Terasaki and Yamashita have shaped what I have become and the type of driver I aspire to be. I love my AE86s. For me there is no other car that comes close.”

Brad Lord




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Wow, Run Free is a name that I haven't heard mentioned in a long time. Somewhat nostalgic. Such an awesome car.


Such a great build. Every aspect tweaked and improved and THAT engine, looks so damn good while still looking like it's spun into the red on the regular
Now the praise is outta the way, guys: you need to get a proofreader. This is the best car culture site I know of, the technical content is amazing, the pictorial content is beautiful, but occasionally all that professionalism is lost in one badly proof-read sentence.
Sorry to whinge, but hey; you'd be helping yourselves out


Great build! I'm not into Toyotas, but this one is one of a kind!
Great photos too!
So long Paddy! All the best!




Wow, that intro was just impressive! Beatiful and true ;)

turbo BEAMS ae86

prety nice, cant go wrong with 4age...legendery noise!


So damn awesome..LOVE TEAM DISCO!!


I'd take this as a daily drive and drive it to class everyday. Then after class, touge!


Its Techno toy tuning, not toy techno. And gradated bride seat, not graduated. Just saying. Awesome pics and post.


This is one of those cars to truely be proud of. Purpose built for the owner by the owner, no compromises. Outstanding


I'm going to miss your photographs Mr McGrath.


A lovely example of "Twin Cam" done right. 

As has been said, we're going to miss you here on Speedhunters Paddy, you have represented the country well.


This is how I wish Mr. Brad Lord is building his 86....


One last request Mr.McGrath. May we please have some of these shots sold as prints in the SH store?


this looks like a real screamer. i cant wait to hear it. i hope this isn't your last post! it looks like you're just getting warmed up!!!


SeBaBunea  Thank you :)


AllenAznan  When people mention driving it to class, I feel very old all of a sudden. Good plan though :)


tenpennyjimmy  Thank you :)


Verdigrie  Thank you, really nice to get feedback like that. I'm proud of this little green island even with all its faults!


TheRobotCow  That won't be my decision, I'm afraid.


d_rav  Brad is here to stay, but this is my last contribution to Speedhunters for the immediate future. There's a video of it in action in the second chapter BTW :)


Fuck your hachiroku, I've a horse outside!


I am too and you've certainly done it justice with your work. 
Faults aside, as David O'Doherty put it (speaking about life but I think it applies to Ireland in some ways) "It can be kinda crap, but there are some brilliant bits too!".

It'll be sad to not see your work here on Speedhunters Paddy but hopefully your on the way to bigger and better things; I can always catch you on bmw-driver anyway (verdigris on there)

All the best,


wheatgod Stickers, subjective to taste. I think it fits well with his idea of building an 86 Touge machine. Goofy suspension? Please explain.


varilight wheatgod  He can't elaborate because he doesn't know what he's talking about. This is one of the most sorted street cars I've ever seen with regards to suspension. With Ireland having some of the worst roads I've ever encountered, that is quite a feat. Driving behind Patrick, the car is so compliant across even the worst terrain, it never looks nervous or skittish. That was at speed too ;)


wheatgod PaddyMcGrath varilight  For its intended purpose, yes. The car has been fine tuned for fast road use and it is used. It wasn't built to be parked up and look pretty.


wheatgod PaddyMcGrath varilight  I'm sorry but you'll have to forgive me if I rather take the word of a guy who has spent his entire adult life building and fine tuning AE86s on the roads he drives them on. 

I would say that the stretched tyres and wheel combination is certainly part of a look - along with the stickers, each of which has their own story incidentally - that Patrick is trying to achieve and there's nothing wrong with that IMO. 

It's hardly the first car to run aggressive levels of negative camber (it's not exactly oni-camber is it?) on the front. You should know that it's common on track / performance cars so as to sharpen turn-in and increase the tyre's contact patch mid-corner. You won't find many straight roads around these parts so this is why he has chose to set the car up this way.  

It's not a daily driver either (he has another '86 for that) so he doesn't need to worry too much about wearing the inside of the tires pre-maturely on his commute. 

To call it 'goofy' and 'non-functional' only highlights that you don't know the conditions in which the car is driven and the manner which it is driven in. It's worth remembering that a lot of a setup is a driver's personal preference too. I'm sure you would set it up differently if you built it, as would I. But we didn't build it, did we?


PaddyMcGrath wheatgodvarilight   Doesnt bother me whose word you take. Are telling me this guy told you he set this car up with performance in mind? I find that hard to believe. Looks like he set it up for style. Im sure he made the suspension so the car is at least drivable. But performance? I doubt it.

And yes, the suspension looks goofy to me.


Stock transmission? You need an t50 to w58 adapter.


wheatgod varilightThe style sir, the style. 
Is it just me or the camber looks more excessive on the first frontal picture then all the others. Also how can you discount an entire suspension setup because of what you assume to be too much negative camber?


wheatgod varilight  As much as this might shock you to know, your opinion does not equal fact :)


wheatgod PaddyMcGrath varilight  Dear,

Isn't it weird how the internet was invented to give you knowledge, not to look at pictures and starting conversations to make you feel like you have knowledge.

Truly, mister PaddyMcGrath probably has more experience with cars than you have... and as much as you read stuff online, you will feel like you know nothing at all about cars once you actualy get in touch with them and start a build yourself.

So this is what i suggest: 
Go on a course, get a restauration or build-project yourself,
Read some books about cars (Yes even the onces without pictures) and wait about ten years... In those ten years you will have had all the joy and struglles as a real project has, and in those ten years you will have found shitloads of stuff you need to adjust or replace to personalise or improve the cars functionality or performance... It realy starts with one thing, which brings along another.

So, I hope this gave you some more information at what PaddyMcGrath  said before: Opinion does not equal fact.

Experience will bring alon facts wich should eventualy form a well based opinion, so go get some.