Toyota AE86: Celebrating 8/6 Day The Only Way We Know

  • Four of the cleanest California-built AE86s out for a sunset cruise celebrate 8/6 Day 2021.
  • The AE86 is Toyota’s legendary Corolla model produced from 1984–1987 with a lightweight, rear-wheel-drive layout and iconic ’80s styling.
  • The GT-S model in the U.S. came equipped with the high-revving 112hp, 16-valve, inline-four-cylinder 4A-GE engine.

August 6th is a special day, not because it’s our birthday or a national holiday, but because in numerical form, the date is 8/6, which gives car guys a valid excuse to celebrate all things 86! Whether you’re a Toyota 86, GT86, Scion FR-S, or OG AE86 owner, 8/6 Day brings out the joy in every Toyota, with social media feeds flooded with tribute posts. Since this is the first year Pit+Paddock gets to observe 8/6 day, we decided to do something a little more unique and bring four AE86 owners together to tells us why they love the car so much. Each of the four project cars has a very cool story, but they also stay true to the roots retaining the 4A-GE inline-four and rocking legit JDM parts. To our surprise, they also had no problems enduring the 90-degree Southern California heat as well, as demonstrated by our sunny SoCal photoshoot. So enjoy our quick Q&A session with each AE86 owner here, and don’t forget to go out and have yourself a wonderful 8/6 Day!

Allen Lugue

1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S
Specs: JDM 4A-GE Red Top engine with Toda internals, Run Free aero kit, and cat-back exhaust, Tomei test pipe, Silk Road Japan coilovers, 15-inch Watanabe R-Type wheels, Toyo R888R tires

Why is the AE86 Corolla the best car ever?
I got introduced to the AE86 by PJ Bonifacio more than two decades ago. Ever since I got to drive one in his collection of AE86s, I instantly fell in love with it. To me, the reason why I think the AE86 is the best car (aside from it being such a very slow car which is already given), I fell in love with the magnificent body lines and great handling. It was well designed and put together. Lastly, I cannot even describe it in words the feeling I get whenever I get to drive my AE86. It’s such a mystical feeling!

Favorite part?
This is a very hard question because I love all the parts on the car, but if I had to choose a specific one, it would be the full Run Free Japan aero kit. It is very special to me because Koichi Yamashita, owner of Run Free Japan, fully sponsored my Hachiroku with his aero kit. I guess you can consider my AE86 to have rocked the very first complete aero kit in the U.S. back in the year 2004.

Interesting story?
This is an unknown fact, but I personally did not choose the color gold for the car. It was Henry, a former painter at DTM Autobody. It was a week before SEMA 2004, and for the life of me, I could not decide what color for my AE86. DTM Autobody was getting frustrated with me, especially Henry, the painter, because we were running out of time. That same day I just picked up my new Work Equip03s in gold. Henry saw them and said to me, “Hey, I will just match that gold center color on your new wheels to your car! No butts, just go home, and it will be done before SEMA roll-in day.” And I guess the rest is history…

Byron Miron

1987 Toyota Corolla SR5
Specs: GT-S conversion, rebuilt 4A-GE, Run Free aero, Toyota 1H5 cement paint, 15-inch Work Meister wheels, Toyo R888R tires, Bride seats, carbon fiber interior trim

Why is the AE86 Corolla the best car ever?
The AE86 will forever be an iconic Japanese vehicle. A true driver’s vehicle with amazing handling. I was born into a Toyota family, and that’s all we know. The AE86 is the best car because of the car community backing it up and the great friends you make over the years.

Favorite part?
How well the Run Free aero flows with the stock fenders and bodylines.

Interesting story?
Something that’s unique about my car is I had my taillights retrofitted to LEDs by Illumaesthetic. The turn signals are sequential as well. Something I had planned to do to go along with my style.

Steve Nakamura

1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S
Specs: rebuilt 4A-GE, Keihin carbs, HKS 272/264 cams, TRD header, GP Sports/UpGarage exhaust, Koyo radiator and oil cooler, JIC and TRD suspension, Battle Version 4 link, Kaaz 2-way LSD, Project Mu pads, SS Modex Dori Dori wheels, Bride Zeta I seat

Why is the AE86 Corolla the best car ever?
I don’t believe that it’s the best car ever made, but it is my favorite, mostly for nostalgic reasons. My first car was an AE86. The first car that I learned to drive in was a 1974 Corolla four-speed manual. I enjoy the analog driving experience from this rear-wheel-drive, lightweight platform. Something that is not present in modern-day cars.

Favorite part?
Probably be the Keihin FCR carburetors. I’ve dreamed of having them on my car since 2002 and finally acquired this set last year.

Interesting story?
When I bought this current car back in 1999, it was basically stripped and had no interior. The body was in pretty rough shape. The car started out red originally, I had it painted in the panda scheme soon after buying it, and now it’s red again. Hah!

Chris Marion / Dai Yoshihara

@chrismarion23 / @daiyoshihara
1986 Toyota Corolla
Specs: stock 4A-GE, KW Clubsport 2-way coilovers, Techno Toys Tuning control arms, Project Mu pads, 14-inch Volk Racing TE37 wheels, Sparco steering wheel

Why is the AE86 Corolla the best car ever?
It’s hard to go wrong with a lightweight, high revving rear-wheel-drive car. It’s a successful combination for any driving enthusiast. But when it’s in the form of an AE86, it’s just magical. For me, the chassis is balanced and communicates like nothing you can get off the dealer lot today. It’s almost go-kart-like when you are 100-percent wide open throttle most of the time to keep up with the traffic flow, but that’s the fun character of the AE86. If you meet anyone with an aAE86 or someone who has owned one, they all have great stories of the car, and you almost have an instant friendship. It’s somewhat strange how a little car can give you an instant connection with someone, and for me, that is what makes the AE86 the best car ever…

Favorite part?
The dampers. Klaus Frank, who was one of the original guys at KW who had done almost every ride development in the past, set this one up and was one of his last ones before he retired.

Interesting story about it?
This white one has had some pretty cool owners before us, so we can’t go and mess it up – Brandon Leung and Ron Ng!