A 1987 Toyota Corolla GT AE86 has achieved a record price of £46,250 on the Car & Classic online auction platform. This beats the previous US record price of $40,000 (£29,004) set in March 2021.
Known affectionately by its internal chassis code of AE86, it’s the most iconic member of the Toyota Corolla family. You can thank Keiichi Tsuchiya, aka Drift King, for the AE86 drifting sideways towards legendary status. Its appearance in the classic Manga movie Initial D also played a part.
It’s a simple recipe. A 1.6-litre, 16-valve, twin-cam engine producing 123bhp. Rear-wheel drive. A featherlight 970kg.
The perfect ingredients for budding delivery drivers and drifting kings.
It’s not clear if either of these things were top of the agenda when the original owner walked into Hallens Toyota in Cambridge in 1987. The lady paid £12,500 for the Corolla GT AE86, the equivalent of around £35,000 in today’s money.
Amazingly, the car was deemed uneconomical to repair when vandals ‘keyed’ the Corolla in 2006. The car was bought back from the insurers and repaired to an ‘as new’ standard. There’s a good chance it could have been written-off.
Fifteen years later, the AE86 sets a new auction record. The owner decided to sell after a recent injury made the non-power steering less than ideal as a daily.
Corolla GT AE86: ‘frantic bidding’
“We talk a lot about survivor cars, but this is the true definition of one,” said Chris Pollitt, head of editorial at Car & Classic. “So many of these ended up as drift or track cars or just rotting away. Only the true adoration of this ‘86’ prevented the insurance company from obliterating it after incurring paint damage.
“The frantic bidding in the dying minutes confirmed the demand for a car that is now rightly cast as a legend in its homeland.”
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