AE86s have enjoyed their time in the limelight, proving themselves in motorsport and securing themselves as a cultural icon.
Whether you view them as some old shitbox from the ’80s, or as some machine worth endless praise, they’ve spawned quite the fanbase all the same.
If you’ve ever talked to someone who’s into old Toyotas, AE86s especially, you’ll know they can ramble off a laundry list of rare options and parts that they wish they could come by. Collectible parts and things of that nature aren’t anything new, but there aren’t many followings that do it quite like the AE86 people.
If you couldn’t tell, I’m an absolute sucker for the AE86. The versatility and sheer age of the chassis lends itself to a number of different directions that one can build towards.
Myke Adam’s Corolla is a collector’s car, but not in the usual sense of the word.
All throughout it are those rare parts, those pieces of unobtanium. It’s littered with small touches that only come with an extensive, passionate knowledge for the chassis and the sheer patience to acquire it all. There’s not a single piece to his car that hasn’t been altered in some shape; his dedication to it is clearly on show for the world to see.
Many engines can fit in its accommodating bay, but if you’re going down the modifying route nothing is more at home than a 20-valve ‘Blacktop’ 4A-GE with ITBs, and adorned with TRD, HKS and so many other illusive parts.
Whatever is on that ultimate build list for the ideal AE86, this one has it. If it’s not on it, Myke either has it sitting in storage or can find one in a heartbeat.
What I like about Myke’s AE86 is that it’s so many things at once. It’s not a purist build, but it’s not some bastard either. It’s not a show car, but it easily could be one. It’s not the beaten and thrashed drift machine that so many are used to seeing, but it’s no stranger to that lifestyle.
This Corolla doesn’t live an easy life; Mike drives it often, drifts it on more than just special occasions, but given its age some things that should be easy to do become hard. In getting to shoot it we had to reschedule three times.
The first time we planned to meet the wheel bearing blew up. The second time Myke was stuck fixing the AE86 and his family cars. The third and final time the driver’s side front wheel came off, blowing up Myke’s genuine URAS kit.
When you’ve been building a car like this for as long as Myke has, that sort of thing – while it may absolutely blow – doesn’t phase you. Having to fix things more frequently and source parts that are hard to come by is completely worth it when you’re getting behind that wheel again, driving the piss out of what you love.
Even though this Corolla would be an ideal car for many, by the end of it, it wasn’t for Myke.
Myke’s an AE86 guy through and through, but the fixed-headlight Levin variant (in two-door coupe form) has always been his favorite. Not long after this shoot, Myke begun parting his AE86 out as he has acquired the real-deal Levin of his dreams, straight from the JDM motherland.
What’s awesome about Myke’s dedication to this car is that even though it doesn’t exist in this form any more, it’s being enjoyed by other like-minded individuals that you wouldn’t find without this kind of dedication.
As Myke says, “it’s still in the family,” but now he’s going even further with his new AE86. I can’t wait to see what he does with his Levin when it arrives, but I’ll always be glad I got the chance to see the passion he put into this one.
When you’re dedicated to something it shows and I hope that’s something you all can see.
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