AE86 Nights x NYC Lights

When it comes to JDM icons that captivate hearts, few match the allure of the Toyota AE86. Its lightweight design, rear-wheel-drive configuration and agile handling have elevated the original Hachiroku to cult status in the modified car world.

Imagine this: It’s a crisp spring night in the heart of New York City. From Harlem to Times Square, three AE86s steal the spotlight, showcasing their ’80s lines and carefully selected upgrades. They turn heads at every corner. Car lovers flock from all directions, eager to capture a glimpse and snap a quick photo of the trio’s effortless coolness.


As the night unfolds, it offers a perfect opportunity to peer into the passion that fuels the three proud Hachiroku owners. We’ll delve into the details of their car modifications, hear about their love for their AE86s, and even get an insight into their plans for future builds and mods.

Peter – Fire Pepper Red Pearl AE86


What initially attracted you to the AE86 chassis? “I started with old-school Toyotas in 1995 at 12 years old. My older cousin, Junior, bought a 1980 Toyota Corolla as his first car. We started to learn how to work on cars by working on his car and teaching ourselves. Around 1997, Junior’s friend came over in a car I had never seen before. It was a red two-door hatchback, had flip-up lights, was slammed to the ground and tinted out. It was like a lightning bolt had hit me. It turned out to be a 1985 Toyota Corolla GTS hatchback. From the moment I saw that car I knew that I never wanted to own anything else.”

How long have you owned your AE86? “I’ve owned this car for 24 years. Since then, I’ve bought, sold, and scrapped over a dozen AE86s, but this one – my first one – has always stayed with me. It’s the only car that I will never get rid of. The same year that I bought the car we started our club Team Toyminator, and the rest is history.”

What are your plans for your car? “Eventually a full respray. The current paint job was done in 2005.”

Do you have any intentions of building another AE86 in the future? “I am currently building an AE86 coupe for my wife. The plans are an OEM+ type build so we can cruise together.”


Engine: Toyota 4A-GE 20-valve ‘Blacktop’ from a JDM AE111, SQ Engineering front mount distributor kit, Garage Annex 8mm ignition wires, Tec-Art’s 100mm velocity stacks, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) aluminum pulleys, SS Works water line kit, Select Speed custom high-rise header, Magnaflow hi-flow cat, Fujitsubo cat-back exhaust system, Koyo radiator, 2x Mishimoto electric fans, Impulse Japan radiator brackets & catch can, Circuit Sports overflow tank, Ukiya86 radiator cooling plate, Max Orido Shorai battery tie-down

Driveline: Factory Toyota T50 5-speed gearbox, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) short shifter, TRD lightweight flywheel, Exedy Stage 1 clutch, Tomei 1.5-way limited slip differential

Suspension & Brakes: GReddy Type S coilovers, Prothane bushings, Techno Toy Tuning (T3)/Flo’s Performance quick-ratio manual steering rack, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) outer tie rods, Battle Garage adjustable strut rods, Cusco panhard bar, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) Wilwood front big brake kit with cross-drilled rotors, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) braided stainless steel brake lines

Wheels & Tires: 15×8-inch -10 offset SSR Colin Star Shark custom-built wheels, Project Kics R40 lug nuts, Yokohama Advan Fleva 195/50R15 tires

Exterior: OEM Toyota JDM kouki Trueno bumpers, fender lights, front lip, side skirts, rain guards, & ‘Redline’ taillights, OEM Toyota auto cover fog lights, J-Blood rear garnishes, Cashiew side mirrors, Chastain Shadow rear metal louvers, full color change to Acura Fire Pepper Red Pearl, shaved rear side markers, rear keyhole, rear wiper, & antenna hole, molded front lip

Interior: Recaro LXC mesh seats, TOM’S/Personal steering wheel, horn button, shift knob, & pedals, ’80s JDM Carrozzeria rear deck with light-up speakers, Shorai Power battery


Denny – Alpine White AE86


What initially attracted you to the AE86 chassis? “ had a love for Toyotas from a young age, but it was more for pickup trucks as my dad owned several back home in the DR. After we permanently moved to the US, on my way to school every morning I’d spot the same blue Toyota Corolla hatch. I didn’t know anything about the car at that age, but I always found myself stopping to stare at it. As the years passed, I got my license, and my dad owned a 1989 Toyota Corolla wagon. It wasn’t exactly the blue Toyota hatch that I always stopped to stare at on my way to school, but it was a Corolla and I loved it. One day in the early 2000s, I stopped at my local newsstand and there was on the front page a Toyota Corolla AE86 hatch. I instantly grabbed the magazine and that’s when I learned what the car was, and I fell in love with it.”

How long have you owned your AE86? “I have owned the car for seven years now.”

What are your plans for your car? “Install a GR86 6-speed transmission and pass it on to my son Ethan and continue to keep the car in the family. Maybe one day he can pass it on to his kids as well.”

Do you have any intentions of building another AE86 in the future? “No plans on another AE86 but I am building a 1990 Toyota Supra Mk3 at the moment. The goal is to build it reliable with a bit of power to enjoy on the weekends.”


Engine: Toyota 4A-GE 20-valve ‘Blacktop’ from a JDM AE111 (built), Techno Toy Tuning (T3) velocity stacks, Select Speed headers, HKS exhaust system, Haltech ECU,Panic-Made wiring harness, electric fans

Driveline: Factory Toyota T50 5-speed gearbox, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) short shifter, GT-S rear end, TRD limited-slip differential

Suspension & Brakes: Fortune Auto coilovers, Cusco front & rear sway bars, Cusco pillow-ball support, Cusco chassis brace, Carbing front strut bar, Wilwood Baby Daddy front brake kit

Wheels & Tires: 14-inch RAYS Volk Racing TE37 wheels, RAYS lug nuts, Falken Azenis tires

Exterior: OEM Toyota JDM kouki Trueno bumpers, front lip, side skirts, mud flaps, & kouki ‘Redline’ tail lights, Raybrig headlights

Interior: Recaro Tomcat seats, Bride seat rails, Cusco 4-point harnesses, Nardi steering wheel, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) seat belt harness bar, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) rear hatch brace, re-trimmed rear seat, JDM digital dash cluster, AEM air/fuel ratio gauge, VDO volts gauge


Danny – Sunrise Red AE86


What initially attracted you to the AE86 chassis? “When I was young, around 13 years old, there was a guy in my neighborhood named Ray who owned a black AE86 GTS with a 4AG-ZE supercharged motor. He would come down the street sliding and doing burnouts. That was the first time I saw a modified AE86. When I was older, I started going to Huntspoint in The Bronx. One night, a silver AE86 coupe with a Mitsubishi Conquest engine pulled up to race. The car had very dark tinted windows so we never saw who the person was. He raced a bunch of cars and won every single time, and that’s when I fell in love with the AE86 chassis. After that, my dream has always been to build an AE86 with a rotary engine. I ended up getting my first AE86 at the age of 17 and throughout the years I’ve owned four AE86 coupes and the hatch I currently own.”

How long have you owned your AE86? “I have owned the car for 3 years now.”

What are your plans for your car? “Enjoying it and prepping it for the Drift Battle USA event with DK, Keiichi Tsuchiya. I would like to get more power out of it, but I still haven’t planned that out yet.”

Do you have any intentions of building another 86 in the future? “It’s not in my plans at the moment, as I want to finish my 1984 Mazda RX-7, to bring it to the level my AE86 is. But who knows, if another one comes across, I might do it!”


Engine: Toyota 4A-GE 7-rib block, HKS 272-degreee camshafts, 4A-GE 20V ITBs, HKS cat-back exhaust system Haltech ECU, Koyo radiator, Samco radiator hoses, Ukiya86 cooling plate, Keichii Tsuchiya green powder-coated accents, zinc-plated hardware

Driveline: Factory Toyota T50 5-speed gearbox, TRD limited-slip differential

Suspension & Brakes: Megan Racing coilovers, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) control arms & roll center adjusters, Cusco sway bar front/rear, Cusco 4-link control arms, Techno Toy Tuning (T3) Wilwood calipers & cross-drilled rotors

Wheels & Tires: 15×8.5-inch Weds Racings MA86 wheels, Toyo 195/50R15 tires

Exterior: OEM Toyota JDM zenki Trueno bumpers, front lip, & side skirts, JDM carbon fiber rain guards, OEM Toyota kouki Trueno ‘Redline’ tail lights

Interior: Recaro LXC mesh seats, re-trimmed rear seat & panels, TRD gauges, TRD shift knob, TAKATA Racing 4-point harnesses, harness bar


As we’ve explored the stories of these passionate AE86 owners, it’s clear they all began their journey with the Toyota model at a young age. Whether it was love at first sight or the sound of the Hachiroku‘s 4A-GE engine, each owner knew the AE86 was their dream car from the start. These stories not only highlight a strong commitment to their cars, but also point to the AE86’s iconic status within the automotive enthusiast community.

David Morales
Instagram: deadshutternyc

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Very cool read, the white 86 being built to be passed onto his son is heartwarming, and the fact that he's got a MK3 supra on the way is just waaay cooler. Three awesome stories


All amazing cars. My fav is the white one - Kouki bumpers with Tsuchiya-style paint scheme will always look amazing. The painted skirts really bring it together

The side profile of the AE86 hatchback is so perfect, how the spoiler line follows the hood line. I know the styling was considered formulaic or derivative, but I really think they struck gold on the overall proportions


Hachiroku in NYC is such a vibe especially at night


Does NY have any good backroads for these guys to drive on? I know they have Watkins Glen and a couple other tracks but it’s gotta be a b**** to get out of the city.


It is. We have the rx7 day cruise around the city and that’s painful


Haha yeah I can imagine. New York is beautiful though once you're outside of the rat race. Love the countryside.

Daniel Huneault

great looking cars on a great backdrop!