The history of the famed AE86 dates back to 1983 when Toyota first debuted the car on the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM). Although sales of the AE86 weren’t stellar, the car created a cult movement around the international automotive arena following that led the car through production until mid 1987. There were two models of the AE86 in production titled the “Zenki” and the “Kouki”. I had personally drove a fully restored Hachi-Roku, the feeling of driving this beauty was somewhat indescribable, with every throttle response, she glides down the road like a stream of water flowing down a river. I’d rather spend my money on her than driving a Toyota Prius, nothing personal, just throwing out my thoughts.
The ballistic power produced in the Trueno and Levin is the one and only notorious 4A-GE engines. It is famous for its willingness to produce high revs, and in it’s refinement of its time. The twin-cam engine was still in their infancy condition when this car was introduced and it was instrumental in convincing people of its re-found technology. The engine went on to power the MR2 in NA and supercharged form, then in Japan it was refined with individual throttle body and variable valve timing to produce up to 165hp or more. The engine is a popular base for many kit cars due to its low weight and ease of tuning over any cars in its time.
And then recently, Toyota FT86 was launched in the year 2012; it was billed as ‘Officially the Real Deal’. But this tagline wasn’t without ballast, as evidenced by the praise that has been bestowed upon the car in the time since. People said of the car: “The FT86 has altered the sports car genre. It is the performance car made relevant again; it is the new supercar.” While Jeremy Clarkson gushed: “Everything about the FT86 is immediate – and brilliant. It will put a smile on the face of every motoring enthusiast in the world.” Do agree or disagree? You be the judge.
Sometimes you wonder what is this cars brilliance factors? Firstly, the 2.0-litre 197bhp boxer is engine supported by an Arma Hyperflow carbon fiber air intake system and with the heart dropped in as low as possible and as far back as possible, which optimized the FT86′s handling by keeping its center of gravity low with specially engineered suspensions that had been tuned to deliver instant response following the driver’s inputs, making it nimble and beautifully balanced, with brilliant grip levels from its limited-slip differential without intrusive electronic driving aids supported by a well crafted Arma M series 6 pot (355×32) braking system.
Unlike the AE86, the old fashion steering rack and pinion steering on FT86 is power-assisted, but it feels every bit as direct and almost as weighty, with instant response to driver input. The obvious difference between the infamous pair in terms of steering is the wheels: FT86 has a small diameter steering turning point, whereas the AE86 has a large turning point. And also not forgetting, this low glider is well supported by struts bars around made exclusively by Ultra Racing.
Floor the throttle down and the FT86 responds with a throaty but hushed roar. Its monstrous sound is plainly and greatly influenced by the classic AE86, but it’s silent down a motorway cruise. Ultimately, the FT86 combines all of the best bits of its ancestor.
Well that means we’ll probably have to wait at least a couple of years later before they redesigned FT86; hopefully the rumors of hybrid supported by a turbocharged system pushing power through all four tires of the featherweight sports car would come by.
Engine: Arma Hyperflow carbon air intake, BC coilover
Chassis: Ultra Racing Anti rolls bars
Brakes: Arma 6pot brake M series 355×32
Exterior: Custom exhaust with Arma exhaust valve
Wheels: Vossen 18’inch