As with most AE86s, this amber attraction had a humble beginning. Unless you bought a hachi roku from a car fan who already built it up, you usually pick up your Corolla in some state of disrepair. It's sort of a badge of honor. Consider it the swan of the car world. The uglier and more beat-up it started, the more impressive the transformation is to "wow."
Lawrence Ojas of Seattle, Wash., picked up this 1986 Toyota Corolla for $700 out the door at a VW dealership in 2003. The car looked so bad, it wasn't even parked on the lot. Ojas had to trek down a side street near the dealership to see his future purchase. He knew immediately the vehicle had potential.
Now, Ojas is a linear thinker; he builds cars methodically. He wanted his AE86 to be special, so he set goals and went from there. First, he wanted a car that could be drifted hard and compete with the pro drifters. The vehicle had to be show worthy, but not necessarily win at car shows. Third, the Corolla had to be streetable and have a full interior.
This toboggan started out as an SR5, hence the nice price tag. The first step was to tear down the car to the shell. Bumps and kinks were smoothed and the keyholes were shaved. Lawrence ditched the hood altogether, knowing he'd replace it with a TC Spoilers carbon-fiber piece. The chassis was reinforced to GTS-spec and stitch-welded at every seam. About 3,000 more weld points were added to the frame. To prevent the welds from rusting in the Seattle rains, the undercarriage was painted as well. Lawrence then selected the new Nissan 350Z Orange to paint the car, which was applied by JR Guse.
The biggest step was selecting the powerplant. Lawrence chose the AE101 20-valve engine from Japan. The 20-valve with factory individual throttle bodies is simply a figment of most hachi-roku owners' imagination, but Lawrence made it his reality.
Since the 20-valve comes from a front-wheel-drive car in Japan, installing it in a rear-wheel drive could be problematic. Garage Annex in Yokohama, Japan had a great swap kit, fortunately. The kit includes the velocity stacks, coolant relocation kit and distributor relocation kit. Managing the engine is a factory AE111 ECU with an A'PEXi S-AFC II for added tuning ability.
An AE101 20 valve swap is impressive enough, but Lawrence didn't stop there. Toda stepped up to the plate with 264-degree cams and valve springs, a head gasket and a lightened flywheel. Ignition is managed by MDI, while a Sard fuel pressure regulator feeds the beast.
Another interesting swap was adding a FD (RX-7) fuel pump. This car is special because of the attention to detail and the splurges on products that matter. Something you don't see on most Corollas is the JIC noise suppressor system that Lawrence opted for. Keeping the engine cool under pressure is a Koyo aluminum radiator tag-teamed with a FAL electric fan.
After throwing down that much cash, Lawrence just went all out, hence the triple-chrome-plated valve cover, spark plug cover, timing cover and chromed everything else-any part that could was done in chrome, including the undercarriage and rear axle.
With a car this old, most of the parts under the hood show their age. So Lawrence, who wanted the car to stand out, had Performance Coatings help out with the sandblasting and plating.