This time last month we were preparing to celebrate 7’s Day 2020 (7/7) with a rotary-themed few weeks, but now it’s the humble Toyota AE86’s time to shine.
Like 7’s Day, the history of 86 Day (8/6) is deeply rooted in Japanese car culture, so there’s only one place our 2020 coverage could possibly start at, and that’s with Dino at Daikoku Parking Area in Yokohama. We’ll have that Hachiroku-based story and many more from all around the world over the course of August, but to get the ball rolling, we’ve scoured YouTube for five videos that go some way to explain why this compact ’80s rear-wheel drive Toyota enjoys such a cult following today.
It would be sacrilegious to not include a Keiichi Tsuchiya AE86 video in our selection of five, and as you’ll soon see, Dorikin makes more than one appearance in this post. It’s Tsuchiya-san’s personal Hachiroku, a kouki Sprinter Trueno built and maintained by Tec-Art’s in Saitama, that takes centerstage in this iconic Hot Version ‘Touge 200′ clip.
Another AE86 driver that needs no introduction is Katsuhiro Ueo. The Japanese driver was a force to be reckoned with in his Trueno back in the early ’00 glory days of the D1 Grand Prix, and surely won the hearts of many Stateside drifting fans for his aggressive style at D1 USA events. This video is super-low resolution and the audio quality is just plain horrible – I promise they’ll be better from here on out – but Ueo’s manji drift clip is the stuff of legend. Just listen to that Tomei-built 4A-GE naturally aspirated engine sing!
On the subject of sweet-sounding AE86s….
We’ll be heading back to Japan in a moment, but our next clip takes us to Austria and the 2017 St. Agatha Hill Climb. The subject of this clip is Norbert Strasser Jr.’s AE86 Corolla notchback – a 200hp naturally aspirated 4A-GE-powered machine that revs to 9,000rpm and shifts through a sequential gearbox. Did we mention that it weighs just 770kg (1,698lb)? This thing is epic.
The name ‘Running Free’ has been synonymous with Japanese drifting for a long time, and this Kanagawa-based team has style and talent in spades. RF team member, ex-D1GP driver, and all round JDM drift OG Hiroshi Takahashi has a great YouTube channel dedicated to his Running-Free-red Trueno hatch, and one of his latest in-car videos, filmed on Ebisu’s Touge Course, is three minutes of pure hard driving joy.
Our final video is a Hot Version release from 2017 titled the ‘AE86 Grown Drivers Championship’. Dubious name aside, this 36-minute episode features some of Japan’s most well-known AE86s – a selection of street, circuit and drift cars – being driven by some equally well-known Japanese motorsport identities – Tsuchiya, Orido and Taniguchi to name just a few. There’s a machine check and various challenges, but the highlight has to be the final all-comer race around Tsukuba Circuit. This one has English subtitles too.
Cutting a long list of AE86 videos down to just five was a tough ask, but this is now where you come in. Do you have a favourite Hachiroku clip? If you do, make sure to share it in the comments section below. Even if you don’t buy into 86 hype, there’s a lot to love about Toyota’s final rear-wheel drive Corolla.