The Toyota AE86 compact RWD two-door from the 1980s was already popular among enthusiasts when the nostalgia wave hit last decade (think: fueled by the imminent electrification, many enthusiasts strive to remain in touch with the analog machines of the past). And it’s safe to say the Japanese toy is a cult car these days, but, even so, few aficionados know about its Sprinter Trueno Convertible form. And one of these rare birds was recently spotted over in its home country.
Between 1983 and 1987, Toyota used the fifth-generation Corolla (E80) to introduce the Hachi-Roku (this means eighty-six in Japanese), namely the fixed-headlights Corolla Levin and the pop-up headlight-gifted Sprinter Trueno. And while both were offered in hatchback and coupe form, only the Sprinter Trueno got an open-top iteration.
The details about the model are scarce, but the cabriolet didn’t roll off the production line this way. Instead, the vehicle was converted in one of the shops that handled prototypes, which could explain why it comes with Toyota Carina alloy wheels.
One of the rarest Toyotas in the world
Only twenty units were transformed and they were only offered via the Tama City Toyota dealership—given that the price was way above that of a fixed-roof model, not too many people rushed to grab these.
The AE86 is known for its agility, with the lightweight nature of the car allowing its 1.6L naturally aspirated engines to deliver respectable driving dynamics. And it’s no secret that chopping the roof compromises structural rigidity and adds weight, which comes to contradict the very nature of this car.
Of course, none of the said drawbacks matter these days, when the rarity of the highly collectible Sprinter Trueno Convertible and the sheer fact that it allows its occupants to enjoy the open sky prevail.
Given factors like Japan’s heavy winters and perhaps the rear-wheel-drive, not all of these cars are still around today. In fact, the example in these images, which can be easily identified thanks to the visible number plates, is the one that shows up in most online images, not that there are that many of those around.
Initial D alternate universe vibes, anybody?
Instagram user kenchan5560, who is a self-proclaimed supercar lover, posted these fresh images of the Toyota Sprinter Trueno Convertible two days ago.
As mentioned in the title, the vehicle can be seen next to a hatchback Sprinter Trueno dressed similarly (hey, this is the configuration of the famous Initial D anime/manga tofu delivery car, minus the color scheme), while a white Corolla Levin hatch is also present.
We’ve also brought along some images of the same open-air Toyota with the cloth top up (you’ll find them in the SPEC Magazine Facebook post at the bottom of the story). In this form, the Sprinter Trueno Convertible can only be loved by die-hard aficionados, and we’d be happy to take it for a spin!
If we are to return to more modern affairs, we’ll remind you that while Toyota did give us a spiritual successor to the AE86 in the form of the GT 86 of the past decade and its current GR86 replacement. And while the carmaker did introduce a GT 86 Convertible concept back in 2013, this body style never made it into production.