Everyone knows the Toyota AE86 the corner-carving drift-toy of Initial D fanboys everywhere, but it advertised a top speed of 201 kph (125 mph). That sounds reasonable, but owner banpei wanted to know if it could it still go that fast after 34 years of use, and took his the Autobahn to see.
While many sections of the autobahn that are closer to civilization do have speed limits nowadays, the stretch closest to banpei’s home in the Netherlands is unrestricted, and does not.
banpei’s JDM AE86 Toyota Sprinter Trueno is bone stock, with the only real changes being years of wear and maintenance. He took care to inspect it after it was recently imported, as he noted in an email to Jalopnik:
This cars history showed it had been serviced shortly before it went up for auction. After the car arrived in the Netherlands the car was checked before it went to the license and registration. Over there their test/check took almost an hour and covered every aspect of the car. The car was safe and sound and no advisories were made.
But you still can’t write off the effects of time and use. As I found out when I drove a car this week with the same drivetrain as my daily driver except seven years newer, even well-maintained examples of cars lose some go-power over time. The newer car was noticeably quicker to respond.
In the end, banpei was not able to reach the car’s advertised 201 kph top speed, mostly because his freshly imported car needed a lot more work than he expected. He was only able to get up to 170 kph (106 mph). He said that his top speed run revealed several things that he needs to fix on his car as well:
The car starts weaving when I reached speeds in excess of 160 km/h (100 mph) and vibrated heavily. I blame myself for not doing a full wheel balancing and alignment job prior to this run. That would certainly have helped. Also I need to have a look at all the engine and gearbox mounts and see if anything can be gained there.
banpei came to the conclusion that a mere road inspection isn’t going to turn up all the issues with an older car that could go wrong at higher speeds. If you’re going on a top speed run, be it on the autobahn or at a local racing event, make sure you do a much more thorough inspection of your car beforehand.
The upside, though? At high speeds, the engine is louder than that mega-irritating speed chime.