How To Hachiroku In A BEAMS Powered Trueno
Drive Time

There’s no doubt that the AE86 is special.

The Corolla was the underdog of the mid-1980s; not as powerful, not as quick, not as good-looking as everything else around it. Even in USDM GT-S trim, the model was a lackluster performer, making it affordable and accessible to the masses. With this to-spec AE86 only capable of 112 horsepower out of the 4A-GE DOHC 16-valve four cylinder, the GT-S was epitome of an ’80s econobox. And yet, the boring and understated Toyota has become one of the most desired cars of the era. Thanks to a performance tuner aftermarket that might be better considered as a cult following, finding a well-built and intact AE86 is a rare occurrence.

Although Toyota ruined the line up in 1984 by moving to a front-engine, front-wheel drive layout, the AE86 continued on for a few years as a real driver’s car. Weighing in at just over 2,200lb, the last proper Corolla made has loads of potential for almost any enthusiast’s application. In Eric Xue’s case he’s bumped the power with a 3S-GE BEAMS powerplant, mated it to a 6-speed gearbox, and has incorporated a mod list a mile long. The result is nothing short of amazing.

Have a listen to the raspy motor to get in the mood.


Before diving into the car it’s worth looking at Eric’s love affair with Japanese cars. He built the controversial V8-swapped FD3S I featured last year, and before this had a heavily modified Nissan S13. Eric’s also dabbled in the Euro thing with an E46 BMW M3, but his love for Japanese cars has steered him to the modest Corolla this time around.

After the over-the-top RX-7, Eric “wanted to humble himself and return to the roots by experiencing the Corolla.” He says he’s always been attracted to the concept: a lightweight and well-balanced rear-wheel drive chassis paired with a small high-revving and naturally aspirated inline four. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there’s any limit to how such a car can be modified.


While relatively understated from afar with, for the most part, a very clean and sharp OEM-plus look, Eric has done an incredible amount of work.


There are details that you can’t see at all, as well as ones that only come out if the timing is right. The underside upgrades are particularly impressive, but with our plans to put the car on a lift suddenly cancelled, you’ll be best off learning about these on Eric’s YouTube channel where he painstakingly documented the majority of the build progress.


Even without being able to take a close look at the Corolla’s underpinnings, I ended up editing exactly 86 photos of the car, all of which are here in this story. I promise this was unintentional.


The GT-S started life as an original owner, Southern California car, where it lived for 30 years before being transformed by Eric in the space of just 12 months.


The fact that the car has already been sold — at what I can imagine only to be an immense loss — is the only part of this build that doesn’t add up to me. It’s worth mentioning that Eric’s RX-7 had already been sold by the time I met up to get photos of the car, a philosophy that might not make much sense on the surface.


But Eric assures me that “he lives for the pain,” but explained that with this pain comes the satisfaction of knowing that something specific has been accomplished through “grueling work and restlessness.” He told me of the countless 14-hour days, which includes time at his 9-to-5 to fund everything, and it sounds unappealing at best.


However, being rewarded with a final product – as Eric has clearly been – makes the process worth it, even if he isn’t the one driving the AE86 around now.


He’s touched every part of the Corolla, and this endless process of building a car is simply Eric’s creative outlet. Perhaps it makes more sense than I first thought…

No Expense Spared

Still, it’s immediately obvious that an incredible amount of time and effort was invested into the car. While it was supposed to be a mild build, Eric realized that any “compromise would not yield the end product and package he really wanted.”


Perhaps the only area of the car that hasn’t been subtly taken to the top is the interior.


While a lot of minor work has been done here, the majority of factory touches remain.


OEM JDM kouki seats hold you in place while a Works Bell hub and quick-release help provide excellent feel through the Nardi Classic steering wheel. The pedals were taken from a Lexus IS300 while an Alpine head unit connected to Hybrid Audio speakers around the car (which are powered by an ARC XDi 450.4 amplifier tucked into the back) improve the everyday experience.


Perhaps most importantly, the AE86 really feels — and even smells — like a new car from 1986. It doesn’t feel modified; it just feels right, especially from behind the wheel.


Under the hood is where things began to get a bit over the top. The ‘Blacktop’ 3S-GE BEAMS engine wasn’t enough on its own.


An SQ Engineering intake manifold with ITBs running velocity stacks is the party piece here, but the painted valve cover steals plenty of your attention when you’re taking in the engine bay. Power is sent through a J160 6-speed gearbox through to a Kaaz 2-way LSD in the rear. With spent fuel travelling out a HyTech equal-length 4-2-1 header, the exhaust note is like no other.


If you’re a skimmer, skim back up to the top and have a listen through the Brave/RS-Harada 60mm cat-back exhaust. Just that listen alone should be clear that no expense has been spared when it comes to this 86.

Inside & Out

While much of the work that’s been done just can’t be seen, plenty of it can.


Classic 14-inch RS Watanabe wheels are ultimately attached to Fortune Auto 500 coilovers, which give the car its amazingly tight feel from behind the wheel. With Fortune Auto radial bearings and roll center adjusters, it’s not a halfway lowering job, either. Far from it; there’s also T3 lower control arms, tension rods, rear sway bar drop mounts, front knuckles, and rear 4-link and panhard bars in the mix.


The extra pep from the BEAMS powerplant is more than matched with a Wilwood brake upgrade and stainless braided lines. Further aiding in the handling department are braces all around the chassis.


With enhanced and period correct aesthetics to match the car’s incredible performance, Eric’s GT-S is perhaps the most complete AE86 I’ve ever seen.


Actually, I can say this with complete confidence. When you add in the pop-ups, it’s a bit of an overload.

Nostalgia Never Ends

The nostalgia effect of the 86 is undeniable. It’s the ultimate cutesy, affordable, boxy, Japanese people carrier of the 1980s.


This example in particular, if I dare say, being the ultimate evolution of the most desirable version of the car offered in North America.


It’s a timeless design that will never be properly replaced.


Adding exotic materials and aftermarket parts often crushes the simplistic appeal of these older cars, but by working with an end goal clearly in sight, Eric’s struck a balance that feels just right.


It’s the car of the masses that was brushed aside and replaced before we realized how much we loved it. Eric’s maintained the essence of the econobox while making it exponentially better.


He says he’s done building cars for now, but I don’t quite believe him; I know Eric will feel the itch again soon. But, perhaps even more importantly, will selling this car come back to haunt him? It’s the sort of thing you don’t build twice.

A truly special Corolla created by an artist for no one in particular; instead built just to satisfy an unquenchable thirst. Wherever the car is now, I hope the downhill is treating it well.

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto

86 Photos I Say


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Wow, its the most perfect AE86 in existence. There isn't a single flaw about it. Nothing can be improved ever because its been modded. Not a single criticism dare be made.


I'll bite though I probably shouldn't...

It's very weird to be that you both state your accomplished builders but flex and throw criticisms around anonymous user names.

The criticisms would go a longer way in landing if they had any sort of basis.

Re: education, most of the work here is entertainment vs out right how to set your car up for speed (though I reckon you might criticize those outlets too). However there have been technically dense posts as well.

Have either of you considered contributing either via IATS or just actual useful comments?

I mean otherwise we can all hang under this troll bridge but it seems like your knowledge could be better put to use assuming you're not just blowing smoke.


LOL. you gotta be shitting me. I would like to see this car in person and check out every nook and cranny of this car and I will give ya'll a professional opinion. lol. this is far from being the perfect AE86.


I am shutting you. Made that comment just to see how many dumb asses would like it without even thinking.

Of course its not perfect. On the limit the setup might be garbage. Everyone here just hawks at money / nice parts. Not a lot of people know shit on here lol.


lmfao! I knew you were being sarcastic


Yes sir. We're in the same boat dude. It's pretty funny to troll people on these forums as the average enthusiast has no idea wtf is going on here. Most of them probably haven't even picked up an Alain Staniforth book let alone something from Carroll Smith (both of which will educate you miles beyond either of these blogs).

The editors here didn't even know the AD08 was a directional tire / what constitutes a directional tire. It's pretty funny tbh. I just have a good time here.


this is the type of comment wyotech graduates with $5,000 to their name say.... you are seething with insecurity. get over yourself, dude. go outside, shave your neckbeard. it's no ones fault but your own that youre getting older, still failing to put money aside like you wanted to, and will likely never be able to pour your "vast" amount of automotive knowledge into anything worthwhile. so u cry online.

this might be the most pretentious comment I've seen in years. you are seriously impressing nobody hahahahaha


"Let alone something from Carroll Smith"?? If a Carroll Smith book is your idea of a definitive education, then you shouldn't be talking shit and branding the whole Speedhunters community as idiots. Not to disrespect him, he did his part, especially in his time, and a lot of people have built a solid understanding from him and his books, but yeah...

Sorry, briefly forgot you're an anonymous "formally trained engine builder" who's turned out 90% of the finest modified cars around the world, so never mind.

Anyway, personally, I'm not keen on the louvres on the bonnet, but fair play to the bloke.

Tom is a poor boy

I'd say the guy did more than "his part" ya cunt.



People shave his neck beard for him and style his hair these days. Check the credits in between cone dodging.


Watch the build series, you wont find a thing


I just checked the YT vid. only thing that I liked about it was the 3SGE beams swap with link ecu and the headers. the rest was alright. I guess I’m just old school and have seen and worked on better builds.


You could always send me an email with a lead to these better builds instead of coming off like a total penis on the internet.


Same - have worked on hundreds of builds from stock 50s p cars to 2500hp land speed cars.

Of course no one on here believes anyone works on cars so good luck convincing these donuts.


Do you know how you appear when you come and comment (without seeing the car) that it must have problems. That you blanket insult all the readers then find a way to point out you work on cars (nobody asked you).
If mum and dad didn't give you enough attention then acting like an ignorant brat online might give you some but won't fill that bitter hole inside you.
If you want to show good work then feel free to submit pics, start a blog, start a YT channel etc. Get off that high horse before you fall and injure yourself


I'm a formally trained engine builder and have worked for some of the top tuners in the world. there's a reason why all my comments are anonymous mate.

Don't care how I come off to your candy ass. We're already balls deep in a YouTube channel that gets 100,000 + per video, but you don't need to know that.


this guy is such a textbook internet loser. vast experience and fame and yet zero proof of any of it. eager to brag about background despite nobody asking/caring.... these are actually elementary school levels of deception and I'm astonished that you believe that they actually convince anyone. in my experience, anyone with actual knowledge/fame/wealth don't feel compelled to posit that to strangers online... you are sad, sad man and for your sake I hope you're just a angsty 17 year old who can still potentially grow up and won't be condemned to being a embittered simpleton for the rest of your days


So you get tons of views but won't share what channel? Have lots of experience but can't say where?
Have a little bit of an anger problem?
Cool, enjoy telling everyone you do stuff you can't tell anyone about and firing up on the internet lol.
Candy ass haha. Makes me think you're one of those creepy guys with a tinted van.


if SH was around 13-14 years ago, it would be dope to see this featured.


what an outdated piece of scrap. You know years back when best motoring did the American Touge series they purpose nixed an AW11 that was faster than a GT-R because they didn't think it would sell as many videos?

Tsuchiya and the like have no credibility in my book after that stunt.


Gangsta Doriftofu...


I love this build.

Regarding the first paragraph, I would disagree with the GT-S being an econobox. In the mid 1980s 100hp in a sub-2500 pound car wasn't anything to scoff at. This was also the era of 200hp 5.0L V8s.


I see your point, but that's what I generally think of the 86 as now. Fair or not ;)


Holy crap, that thing is perfect!


Only thing I dislike about it are the vents on the hood.


I noticed the rear red side reflectors. Am guessing they are USDM to go with the fat bumper laws etc of the time?


its oem and a light


Thanks for the reply. We don't get them on NZ / Jap import ones.


"AE86 only capable of 112 horsepower out of the 4A-GE DOHC 16-valve four cylinder, the GT-S was epitome of an ’80s econobox" - this is something you can say about new 86 and stop arguing about how slow it is.


I see your point, but that's what I generally think of the 86 as now. Fair or not ;)


Yeah but you can buy a 300hp Camry. I think it might be a US-led problem. Sure any car with good chassis can handle more power but defeats the "balance" and affordable purposes (plus aftermarket can take care of more power). Driving straight is a bit different to driving on twisty roads.

Colored in Light

Can't stress enough how awesome Eric's YouTube channel is. Watching the build there and then waiting to read the article and see more in depth photos was well worth it.


Sorry to be that guy, but if it's a USDM Corolla, it's not an AE86. It's an AE88.


whys the huge stamp in my firewall say ae86??


You're not sorry because you're being that guy. The guy that makes that that stupid comment we've all seen other people make every chance he gets because he's never actually owned the car to realize THEY ALL SAY AE86 ETCHED INTO THE FIREWALL SR5 OR GTS


You really have a thing for believing no one else has driven any other cars. Pretty moronic, Ace.


Fun fact, the SR-5 Corollas have AE86 in their VINs, despite being the USDM equivalent of an AE85.


Sorry to be that guy, but while the VIN says AE88, the chassis code says AE86, which is what people refer to when the call it an 86.


great shots dude! i live down the street from there, so tfti. lol.


Oops ;)


Wow! now this is an awesome 86! Absolutely beautiful!


Can't wait to see his next build! S2000?? Haha I could only hope.


he just sold it right after he finished building it


Yes, as I said


Just perfect!


That is the most perfect 86 I've seen on these pages yet. Just as good as the Team Disco 86 featured a few years ago.


I photoshopped the ugly hood


I like the vents lol kept scrolling at first til i found the detail shot.

Also is this where that Veyron dove into the water a few years back? lol


Loses a lot of character tbh. The hood is a pretty big part of the build and not having it takes a lot of what's special about it away from it imo.




Wow a BEAMS AE86
This is my dream 86 build


how to spend WAY too much money on a corolla


Love the OEM+ approach.


So what's with the Montana plates? Your not a resident so why do you get to enjoy the perks of our emissions free state but avoid all the BS that comes with living in the northwest?


i live in Great Falls and i would be quite happy if everyone who took advantage of the lack of emission laws (through modification or neglect) would take their cars or trucks elsewhere. it's one of the MANY reasons why i'm actively trying to leave Montana.


So you are another unhappy member stuck out at Malmstrom?


i'm a civilian working on base, but i literally just got un-stuck with a job offer elsewhere.


Well that worked out for ya, congrats.

Sorey the locals didn't impress you much, I was born and raised in GF and I agree there are plenty that abuse the perks of our state in regards to automotive emissions, ect.

Very few cleannwell put together cars around here, let alone Japanese makes. My FC seems to spark a lot of curiosity until they see the LS1 in it. That's a whole other battle.

I hope your new job location appeases your frustrations you experienced here.


it's not all the locals, but just enough of them combined with a lack of things to do for someone who isn't into the outdoors didn't help much. Montana in general is a beautiful state, and i'll miss it.

cars are one of the things that impressed me about Great Falls. there are so many cars that you don't see on the road in most other places and they're mostly in good condition. i guess for every person who doesn't give a shit about their car there is one person who really does. i don't remember seeing an FC around town. i've seen an FB and recently an FD from out of town...but that's it. i can't imagine there's too much rotary love around here for people to get bent out of shape about you swapping an LS1 in your FC. i could be wrong though, this website and a few others are about as involved in the car scene as i get these days.


Car didn't stay here so in this case it's not much of a runaround. Not sure where it ended up but it involved a big hauler so assuming not CA.


that hood doe.. however, nice AE86. but i've seen (and built) a better AE86 back in 2004-05. there were so many well built AE86 back in the days, especially in the Bay Area.

Dennis Van der Ben

He fukin sold it!!!!! Ahhhh that video got a bunch of dislikes cuz he sold it...


I'm not personally a fan of the hood, but would you just look at it? How clean and how fine the attention the detail is to those little vents. I can't imagine how tedious it was to fit mount and square those little guys up. Plus, it gives the car character. Can you really have too much of that? I love the car as a whole and I'm glad we got to see it shared here. Love the coloring and post of the photos!


Are you the same dumb ass who thought I didn't drive 70 or 80 Porsches?


Also, why would I care or what would that even mean to me?


Because I have no idea who you are or what you're referring to, that's gonna be a no from me dawg.


Can anybody tell me how the J160 on the back of the Beams managed to get out of the factory shift hole? I have been wanting to do this swap but don't want to cut the floor out and hit the handbrake.


Wish I had an answer. Take a look at the 'corner balanced' youtube channel I linked or ask the owner @grandmighty on instagram.


I’ve loved following Eric’s build started with the FD. His level of execution is fantastic.


Really nicely executed car, but not definitely not a how to. An ae86 without a 4age is a car thats lost it's soul.


nice but hood way too flashy for a slow 2.0na

Tom is a poor boy

This is a large reflection of the total lack of insight this site bears on a whole.

I think I've made my point gentlemen. Have a good one.