The Toyota Sprinter Trueno / Toyota Corolla Levin is a compact sports car produced in Japan from 1983 – 1987. They are commonly referred to as the AE86, or by the Japanese pronunciation hatchi-roku (86). Many people consider this car to be a large influence in developing a market for sport compact cars in America and Canada. The car was powered by a state of the art twincam engine developed by Yamaha and Toyota. This vehicle has since become an icon of the JDM community, and is famous for drifting thanks to Keiichi Tsuchiya (Drift King). Tsuchiya and his AE86 invented the organized drift competitions in both Japan and America. Credit for the immense interest in the AE86 also goes to the drifting manga / anime Initial D by Shuichi Shigeno, a story of a boy who drifts his AE86 in the mountains of Japan.
The engine in the Trueno and Levin is the famous 4a-ge. It is famous because of its willingness to rev, and it’s refinement for the time. Twincam engines were still in their infancy when this car was produced and it was instrumental in convincing people of this new technology. The engine went on to power the MR2 in NA and supercharges forms, then in Japan it was refined with ITB and variable valve timing to produce up to 165hp. The engine is a popular base for many kit cars because of its low weight and ease of tuning.