Just like what they always say, a brand new car begins to depreciate as soon as you drive it off the car dealership’s lot. It will keep on losing 15% to 20% of its overall value with every year that passes.
However, this golden rule in the automotive world doesn’t seem to apply to certain cars. Case in point: the Toyota AE86.
It seems like no amount of aging can have an unfavorable impact on the worth of AE86 as it still carries a steep price tag — it can cost as high as a vintage Ferrari with a legendary reputation. And when you consider the fact that the car is almost four decades old (it was unveiled in Japan back in 1983), that’s definitely an incredible feat!
Wondering why the car never lost its value? Keep on reading. Below we will discuss the reason behind it, as well as some other related information that you might want to know about the Toyota AE86.
An Ordinary Car With an Extraordinary Fate
When the Toyota AE86 was first produced in Japan in 1983, there was nothing about it that made it stand out from the rest of the cars made by the well-loved Japanese automotive manufacturing company. For instance, it was fitted with a mediocre 115 HP engine — not a lot of speed addicts got excited about it when it made its presence known.
However, what’s so nice about the AE86 is that it’s part of the series of the Toyota Corolla Levin and Toyota Sprinter Trueno, which consisted of cars that were small and came in hatchback and coupe configurations.
Manufactured by Toyota until 1987, there was something about the AE86 that made it popular among car racers although it wasn’t the fastest option around back then: in terms of build, it was light and easily modifiable. But this is not the reason behind AE86’s unwavering appeal and value. Keep on reading to know what it is!
The Drift King Changed the Car’s Course
Because of the engine that the Toyota AE86 came with, it was not built to win any race. However, that wasn’t the thing that was in the mind of Keiichi Tsuchiya, a professional race car driver from Japan. Aside from winning, he was also popular for another thing: he liked drifting in non-drifting racing tournaments.
According to Tsuchiya, people always knew that he would win. It’s because of this why he started drifting his cars through corners more than any other driver did. It’s because of this why he’s known as the Drift King.
He’s also the one responsible for making drifting popular motorsport worldwide, and he single-handedly made the Toyota AE86 one of the most popular cars ever to grace the face of the planet. No one could stop the AE86 from rising in popularity from the time that it was spotted drifting in tournaments where Tsuchiya was competing.
Made Primarily to be Drifted Instead of Raced
Here’s how Keiichi Tsuchiya perfected his drifting skills using the AE86: he took the car in some of the most winding mountain roads of Japan. If he could skillfully drift the car on twisty roads, he thought, he surely wouldn’t have a problem drifting it on car race tracks and impressing the spectators and his competitors.
And that’s exactly what happened when he launched his car racing career back in 1977 — that time in Japan, nobody saw anyone drifted very well and drifted a lot more than Tsuchiya!
There is no denying that Tsuchiya was an excellent drifter. However, it’s also important to point out that the Toyota AE86 was a phenomenal drifting machine. The car had just about everything necessary to make it superb for drifting. It weighed less than a ton. Its gearbox was precise. It provided steering that had ample feedback.
It Spawned Compact Sports Cars in the United States
A word about how Keiichi Tsuchiya masterfully drifted in a Toyota AE86 got out of Japan’s car race tracks and reached various parts of the globe, and that includes North America. It’s because of this why, back in the mid-1980s in the US, small and lightweight cars, such as the AE86, got manufactured and boomed in popularity.
And by the way, it was Tsuchiya and his AE86 that spawned drift competitions not only in Japan, but also in the US! Since then, the car became legendary in the eyes of car racers and drifting enthusiasts alike.
Before the first drifting event (the D1 Grand Prix) that was organized by Tsuchiya took place, the popular Japanese car racer starred in his own video. It was called Pluspy, and it’s all about him showcasing his drifting skills using none other than the Toyota AE86 — it’s available on www youtube com where you can watch its entirety.
The Car was Also the Star of a Popular Manga
What’s the manga? You can skip Google for here’s the answer: it’s a comic book that comes in Japanese style, and it’s geared towards both children and adults. Because the Toyota AE86 was so popular back then in Japan, it appeared in a manga called Initial D. And since the said manga is a hit in Japan, it made the AE86 even more popular.
Initial D is all about Takumi Fujiwara, a young nighttime delivery driver slash street car racer slash drifter. And guess which car he drove? It’s none other than Toyota AE86, the very same car made popular by Keiichi Tsuchiya!
A time came when Initial D stopped being merely a manga — it became an animated series and a movie. There was even a live-action adaptation of it! Thanks to both Fujiwara and Tsuchiya, the AE86 became one of the most popular and most coveted cars in automotive history, causing its value to skyrocket uncontrollably.
Currently, there’s not a lot of the Toyota AE86 available that are still in excellent condition — searchJapan and the rest of the planet and you may fail. If you want, you may head to www youtibeAE86 in action video clips come aplenty!
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