"No car is as hyped up as the AE86," Mr. Regular says in the latest Regular Car Reviews test of a rather legendary vehicle. But can that vehicle really live up to its legend? Will it make your wildest touge drift dreams come true, or is it just a Corolla that happens to be rear-wheel drive?
The car in this two-part test is a legit AE86 Sprinter Trueno from Japan. It's right-hand drive and is mostly aesthetically correct as a replica of Takumi Fujiwara's car from Initial D. You really can't talk about the AE86 without talking about Initial D, as the beloved (and also hated) anime series is the primary reason most people outside of the Japanese drifting community know this oddball hatchback even exists.
Despite a healthy-for-its-time 128 horsepower in JDM form and a trick intake system, the AE86 was a Corolla, the last rear-wheel drive Corolla. It's not fast. It's an even more humble car than, say, a Mazda Miata.
And yet Mr. Regular kind of falls in love with it here. It's actually pretty fun to drive. It has four-wheel disc brakes, a big deal for its era. It's lean and stripped out, something you seldom see in economy cars anymore, let alone rear-wheel drive ones. And it will rev all day long.
It's at the intersection of car culture and geek culture, he says, but it's more than just an accessory for buying Pocky and Gundam kits.