Two AE86s Pushing The Engineering Envelope
Tsutomu Miyoshi’s Mid-Engine Levin

When it came to selecting cars to spotlight at Wekfest Japan last week, I was spoilt for choice. Instinctively though, I sought out two very much function-oriented builds as my first.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against cars solely built to look good with nice wheels and perfect fitment, but I feel they like they need that little bit extra to be worthy of a closer look. It’s overall balance, where every aspect of a car stands out for excellence in both execution and function, that always grabs my attention.


Or, as in the case of Tsutomu Miyoshi’s AE86 Toyota Corolla Levin, utter over-complication.


I remember a time when swapping a 20-valve ‘Blacktop’ 4A-G was all the rage in the AE86 world, but nowadays this AE111 engine conversion could be seen as a little passè – at least if it’s just a straight swap in the bay. If you want to stand out and differentiate your car from all the other swapped Hachis out there, you need to approach things a little differently.

Miyoshi-san thought so too, hence why his AE111 4A-G is mounted where the car’s back seat once resided.


If you think about it, by taking the transversally-mounted 20-valve 4A-G and gearbox combo out of its FF home and dropping it in the back of an AE86, you are kind of simplifying your life.

OK, that might be a stretch, but doing so has allowed Miyoshi-san to forgo the modifications needed to straight swap this engine into a Hachiroku, and at the same time – and much more importantly – create a unique mid-engine Levin.

It also brought the ’80s hatchback into the new millennium by doing away with the live axle and giving it an independent rear suspension.


Outside, the Levin wears TRD-inspired overfenders, which makes it look like it’s ready to hit the AE86 N2 competition at Tsukuba against Tsuchiya in his TRD racer and Tec-Art’s in their wild purple dry-sumped monster.

How the new engine and transmission positioning will impact handling isn’t yet known, but with the radiator still in the front and a fuel cell taking the original place of the motor, I’d imagine this is an aspect Miyoshi-san has spent some time getting right.


Seeing as the transmission tunnel has been made redundant, the Levin’s original floor was cut out and replaced with a flat sheet of metal, and the driving position relocated to just off center, which I’m assuming was done to counterbalance the weight of the engine/gearbox assembly.

As you have probably gathered, this is still very much a work in progress and as such nothing is really connected or plumbed up yet. I also wonder what Miyoshi-san plans to do for a firewall between the cockpit and the engine, as surely that will be on the cards.


Needless to say, when this car is completed I will need to take a closer. But no passenger rides!

Inazuma Worx’s 1UZ-swapped Levin

In contrast, the Inazuma Worx TRD N2 racer-themed AE86 Corolla Levin project looks rather mundane – but of course it really isn’t.


This is the cleanest Hachiroku I’ve ever seen, but you can’t expect anything less from Ikeda-san, who over the last few years has cemented himself as a true master AE86 builder. We first met Ikeda-san back in 2015 when we awarded him the Speedhunters Choice Award at the Offset Kings event at Fuji Speedway.


Since then, Ikeda-san’s style has continued to evolve and be perfected, and the requests to build cars have been coming in thick and fast, to the point that he’s had to stop working on his own projects. This 1UZ-FE-swapped example is mind-blowingly clean; the 4.0L Toyota V8 looks like it’s floating in the shaved, tucked and tubbed engine bay.


The exterior is finished off with a Pandem kit and the unmistakable colors of the TRD livery.


But this car is so much more than just a clean engine swap. Ikeda-san’s fanatical attention to detail and impressive fabrication is evident throughout, which is why the car snapped up the ‘Best Toyota’ and ‘Best Engineered’ awards at Wekfest Japan 2021.


Take a look at the symmetrical layout of the switch gear on either side of the AiM digital dash.


Powder-coated pressed sheet metal is used throughout the entire cabin to sculpt things like the dash and door cards.


And the fuel setup in the rear is laid out with twin swirl pots, sending juice up front to the eight-throttle-body-equipped 1UZ.


Finally, the quad-exit exhaust hints that this is no ordinary Levin.

I really want to find out more about this build, not to mention hear it in action. Yep, I’m going to have to get myself down to Wakayama one of these days and spend some time with Ikeda-san.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: dino_dalle_carbonare



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This is madness... I LOVE IT! nothing beats Japanese attention to detail


I am making a fair pay from home $3400-$4700/week, which is shocking, under a year back I was jobless in a horrendous economy. I offer thanks toward God reliably I was regarded with these bearings and now it's my commitment to give preemptive grace and offer it with Everyone........­N­­e­­w­­A­­p­p­­7­­.­­c­o­m


My god, the mid engined one is mind-blowing.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Will be cool to see it completed! One to watch for sure!



Dino Dalle Carbonare

Dropping big hints to Toyota? lol


This is absolutely amazing beautifull cars


I want to see a drag race between the v8 one and the hachi you guys just posted with the gr yaris swap.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Would be a close race!

Cristobal Appelgren

Mind blowing !


What wheels on gold? sick cars


Couldn't help noticing the "light contorol" switch....


Imagine a Japanese guy saying it and it makes perfect sense


I want to see and hear that V8-86 in action, that's too amazing!


The V8 car is the proper way to do an 86.

The body kit, the exhaust, even the fuel system.


Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah I've never seen an AE86 done so well. It's like level up on anything that has come before it


The attention to detail might be great,but if i see the dash it looks custom made,why didn’t they changed the angle of the switch panels le/ri from the steering wheel?
Perhaps a little more towards the driver,it would be difficult to use when you are wrapped in that race seatbelt
Or is the picture giving a other perspective then real life
Besides that i love that Pandem bodykit


When I saw the thumbnail I thought the 86 had a spare engine in the back lol:)

Dino Dalle Carbonare



The mid engine car is great however.... Shoulda thrown another front drive setup in the front and had AWD ;) A little shift linkage engineering and you would have something truly unique and quick. Just a thought

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That's exactly what I thought too, just like those crazy Golfs that were built in the UK years back


My Lord. Never thought I'd like a TRD widebodied, big wheels, mid-engined 86 SO-damn-much.
I just fell in love.