Toyota AE86 goes ZEV for the Tokyo Auto Salon


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The Toyota exhibits at this weekend's 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon and Tokyo Outdoor Show are broken into three categories: "Making ever-better motorsports-bred cars," "Carbon neutrality for protecting beloved cars," and "Diverse lifestyles to enjoy with beloved cars," plus a bonus sub-theme of "Toyota: Leaving no car lovers behind." We'll look at the last three here in the forms of the AE86 given two alternative powertrain transplants and the announcement of vintage Land Cruiser parts. The AE86 — a car that's been out of production since 1987 — seems more popular now than it was in 2015 when Road & Track labeled it "a cult icon, inextricably interwoven with the earliest days of drifting." To help the aging coupe yaw its way into a carbon neutral future, Toyota engineers built one version of the AE86 hatchback with a hydrogen combustion engine and another with a battery electric powertrain.

The automaker's been toying with hydrogen combustion engines for a while as a way to give enthusiasts the visceral sensations of driving ICE vehicles while also eliminating emissions. In the hydrogen take, two high-pressure H2 storage tanks borrowed from the Mirai sit in the trunk. They feed a tweaked version of the AE86's standard 1.6-liter twin-cam four-cylinder. Toyota said in effort to retain the character of the original, "other modifications, including fuel injectors, fuel pipes, and spark plugs, have been kept to the minimum."

The BEV goes all-in on the zero-emissions mandate with a Prius battery in the trunk, an electric motor from the Tundra hybrid, and a manual transmission likely similar to what Toyota's developing for Lexus' electric supercar. We're told the package creates "a vehicle that offers even greater driving pleasure than the original," but we can't imagine Initial D's Takumi Fujiwara would approve.

Both of the vintage hatchbacks get interior makeovers, with used racing buckets from Bride, the fabrics, cushioning, and four-point seat belts all manufactured from recycled materials.

On the truck side of history, Toyota Gazoo Racing (TGR) plans to launch more new parts for more old Land Cruisers. The TGR heritage parts program kicked off in July 2020 with spares for the 2000GT, adding the A70 and A80 Supra and the original FJ40 Land Cruiser a year later. There are 32 components coming this year for the FJ60, FJ70, and FJ80 Cruisers, starting with rear axle shafts for the 70 and 80 in April. Customers can submit requests at the TGR web site for parts they'd like to see TGR reproduce. With the bigger selling Land Cruisers now on the list, especially the massively and globally popular FJ80, we can envision a full in-box at TGR soon.

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