Thunder and Lightning, Part 2: The AE86 Toyota Corolla Levin/Sprinter…

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Toyota corolla/trueno

Thunder and Lightning, Part 2: The Toyota Corolla Levin/Sprinter

In the eighties, the Toyota Corolla and its Toyota Sprinter sibling to FWD, but not without one last for the sporty rear-drive coupes. In the part of our story, we look at the and history of the final RWD Corolla — the AE86 Corolla Levin and Trueno — and consider the later and fate of the Levin and Trueno

RECAP: COROLLA LEVIN AND TRUENO

As we explained in the first of our Corolla/Sprinter history. the first Toyota Corolla was launched in followed in 1968 by the Sprinter which in Japan subsequently a distinct (albeit still model line sold the separate Toyota Auto network rather than Corolla Stores.


Midway the second generation (E20), in 1970, Toyota added versions of the Corolla and Sprinter dubbed Corolla Levin and Trueno and powered by the Yamaha-developed 2T-G engine.The Levin and were not widely exported, but successful enough (both in and on the racetrack) to continue through the generation (the 1974–1979 Corolla and Sprinter) and into the fourth generation (E70), in Japan in March 1979.

The (TE27) Corolla Levin and Trueno coupes were in March 1972. Their suspension, bigger brakes, and wheels and tires (which the bolt-on fender flares here) were available on the Corolla SR-5, but the JDM cars’ 2T-G engine was not. © 2013 TTTNIS; released to the domain by the photographer under a CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication. 2014 by the author)

The 1979–1983 TE71 Corolla and DOHC models (now in most Corolla/Sprinter body not just coupes) represented of a departure from the decidedly specifications of other Corollas. The TE71 models were RWD cars with live and recirculating ball steering, but a faster steering ratio, a suspension with front and anti-roll bars, four-wheel brakes, a five-speed gearbox a shorter axle ratio, and the cc (97 cu. in.) DOHC 2T-GEU with electronic fuel — still a novelty in that

The DOHC Corollas and Sprinters in only modest numbers in were not officially exported to the and appeared in only a few European (generally using carburetors than fuel injection). the twin-cam cars were successful in sedan racing and forms of motorsport, spicing up a but bland subcompact known for sensible, reliable transportation sporty flair.

THE FRONT-WHEEL-DRIVE

Work on the fifth-generation (E80) and Sprinter began in the spring of soon after the launch of the cars.

At that time, the of the Corolla was the center of a heated debate. The issue was not whether the and Sprinter should continue — by time, their combined were around a million a year worldwide — but whether should remain RWD or switch to drive. By then, front-engine, (FF) layouts predominated for B-segment cars, but there was as yet no consensus in the C-segment. The Nissan (a.k.a. Datsun 210), the chief rival in the Japanese had for the moment retained rear-wheel but the Honda Civic was FF, as were of the French, German, and Italian cars with which the now competed in Europe.

The 1978–1982 AL10 Tercel, in some markets as the Corolla was Toyota’s first FWD production car and the A-system engine that became a mainstay of the larger and Sprinter lines. Like the the JDM Tercel had a “twin” sold a separate dealer network: the sold through Toyopet The subsequent AL20 Tercel an additional sibling, the Corolla II, naturally, was sold through Stores. (Photo © 2012 days photos and fun; under a Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license )

Toyota the FWD question cautiously. The company’s FF production cars, the AL10 and its Corsa twin, had bowed about six months earlier, but not replacing the similarly priced RWD While front-wheel drive clear packaging advantages as as the prospect of better ride (thanks to the elimination of the heavy axle), the Corolla design was understandably wary about such a dramatic switch the company’s bestselling car.

easy to criticize such but there’s no denying that that sell as well as the did in the late seventies put their in a tricky position: If subsequent evolve too little, customers may you for newer, more modern but changing too much may leave the goose with a nasty Compounding the dilemma was the fact the Corolla and Sprinter enjoyed a startling level of customer Not only did a lot of people buy Corollas, of those customers — in Japan, three out of four — came for seconds, which made it crucial to avoid alienating customers.

Even if buyers proved to idea of a FWD Corolla, making switch with such a product promised to be very The retooling costs alone estimated at more than billion, roughly $600 at 1979 exchange rates and a deal more than had originally paid to build the plant where most and Sprinters were assembled. was a daunting amount of money for a company as large as Toyota and did not the actual development costs of the new

Although the RWD coupes look the FWD five-door actually has the lowest coefficient of any E80 Corolla or Sprinter: a 0.34, compared to 0.40 for the FWD sedans or 0.35 for the three-door (Photo © 2010 James Bleeker; used under a Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported )

By the end of the year, Toyota’s leadership had that an FF Corolla would become a commercial necessity, but still didn’t address the cost problem. The eventual was to make the transition in stages. and hatchbacks were given priority, since they to family buyers who put a premium on space and comfort. The coupes, for packaging efficiency wasn’t a selling point, would RWD for another model cycle, as the comparatively low-volume station and vans. We don’t imagine was really any cheaper in the long especially accounting for inflation, but it did the need to swallow the whole in one gulp. Toyota would a similar approach with the Carina/Corona/Celica platform, retaining drive for certain models for years after the rest to front-wheel drive.

THE FIFTH-GENERATION COROLLA AND SPRINTER

Toyota corolla/trueno

The fifth-generation Corolla and Sprinter debuted in Japan in May 1983 and on sale in major export later that year as models. (The E70 sedans in some export markets for at another year.)

North E80 Corolla sedans were inches (4,225 mm) long, 3.5 (90 mm) longer than JDM Corollas of generation. This 1987 car presumably has the carbureted 1,587 cc (97 cu. 4A-CL engine, which have a direct equivalent in in the Japanese market, all FF Corollas and 1600s all had fuel injection by time. (Photo © 2011 used under a Creative Attribution 2.0 Generic license )

all the new cars were still Corollas and Sprinters, those now encompassed several distinct

Four-door sedans and five-door rode the new FF E80 platform, which transverse engines, rack-and-pinion and fully independent suspension MacPherson struts front and All FF Corollas and Sprinters except the now used variations of the OHC A-system previously introduced on the Tercel, in 1300 (1,295 cc/79 cu. 1500 (1,452 cc/89 cu. and 1600 (1,587 cc/97 cu. forms. FF cars carried the codes AE80 (for AE81 (for 1500s), (for 1600s), or CE80 diesels).

Coupes, offered in notchback and three-door Liftback styles, retained rear-wheel and rode an updated version of the live axle chassis, but the FF cars’ rack-and-pinion steering and engines. The RWD coupes carried the codes AE85 (for and AE86 (for 1600s).

station wagons and vans got a update later in 1983, but the E70 body and chassis with RWD and drive rear suspension. In markets, the wagon and van also the older pushrod K- and T-system which were not offered on the E80

The 4WD Sprinter Carib station actually rode the platform of the AL20 Tercel/Corsa/Corolla II.

In late Toyota added an additional FF with three- and five-door body styles. Those dubbed Corolla FX in Japan and America, were based on the FF platform and shared the same codes, but had sportier styling.

in Japan in October 1984, the Corolla FX hatchback was originally mostly for the European market the FX name wasn’t used for trademark reasons), but the three-door’s introduction proved a commercial in Japan, briefly costing some market share. is a 1987 or 1988 U.S.-spec FX16 GT-S, powered by a mounted version of the 4A-GE making 108 hp SAE (81 kW). (Photo © IFCAR; released to the public by the photographer, modified 2014 by the

The E80 Sprinter also became the of the 1986–1989 Chevrolet Nova, by GM and Toyota’s jointly owned plant in Fremont, California. The had different exterior panels the JDM Sprinter, a unique grille, and the U.S.-spec bumpers. Most used the same carbureted cc (97 cu. in.) 4A-CL engine as FWD Corolla sedans. (Photo © dave_7; used under a Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic )

Toyota corolla/trueno
Toyota corolla/trueno
Toyota corolla/trueno
Toyota corolla/trueno

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