The AE86 generation of the Toyota Corolla Levin and Toyota Sprinter Trueno is a small, lightweight coupe or hatchback introduced by Toyota in 1983 as part of the fifth generation Toyota Corolla lineup. For the purpose of brevity, the insider-chassis code of “AE86” depicts the 1600 cc RWD model from the range. In classic Toyota code, the “A” represents the engine that came in the car (4A series), “E” represents the Corolla, “8” represents the fifth generation (E80 series) and “6” represents the variation within this generation.
The Levin has fixed-headlights, and the Trueno has retractable headlights, but both can be hatchback or coupe. The export model name Corolla covers both variations. The AE86 (along with the lower spec 1,452 cubic centimetres (1.452 L) AE85 and 1587 cc SR5 versions) was rear wheel drive (unlike the front wheel drive CE80, EE80 and AE82 models), and is among the last rear-drive cars of its type, at a time when most passenger cars were being switched to front-drive. In 1987, there was a limited edition model of the AE86 called “Black Limited” that served as a send-off model before the AE86 chassis was replaced later that year by the front wheel drive AE92 Corolla/Sprinter range.
The AE86 was also known as the “Hachi-Roku (ハチロク)”, Japanese for “eight-six”. Similarly the AE85 was commonly called “Hachi-Go (ハチゴー)”, meaning “eight-five”. The word “trueno” is Spanish for thunder, and “levin” is Middle English for “lightning”. In Japan, the Sprinter Trueno was exclusive to Toyota Japan dealerships called Toyota Vista Store,while the Corolla Levin was exclusive to Toyota Corolla Store.
The AE86 later inspired the Toyota 86 (also badged as the GT86, FT86, Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ).