The Toyota AE86 was an odd duck. In an era when manufacturers were shifting production over to the newer, more efficient front-wheel drive, Toyota chose to split the Corolla line-up into two distinct series, the front-wheel drive E80 and the rear wheel drive AE85 and AE86. Where the E80 was an all-new product, the AE86 Trueno derived a lot of its underpinnings from the old Corolla. Even for the 80's, the live-axle rear end was decidedly ancient.
Yet it was a cult phenomenon. See, while the 70's was awash in cheap, rear-wheel drive sporty sedans like the Ford Escort and the Datsun 510, the 1983 Trueno was a rear wheel drive sports coupe or hatchback swimming in a sea of front-wheel drive penalty boxes.
As such, it became a runaway hit, both with hardcore enthusiasts and with racing teams, who liked the combination of lightweight unibody, rear-wheel drive and punchy dual-overhead cam motor.
While the new GT 86 may not have such humble origins, it is likewise a parts bin special, featuring a Subaru engine, a Lexus IS-F gearbox and a chassis derived from the old Impreza.
So what's the little secret? Well, our insider claims that the Toyota GT 86 is scheduled to arrive here in June; and when it does, it's going to be priced at a ridiculously affordable P1.5 million. But you'd better get in line now. Initial supplies is said to be limited to 20 units only. Too bad. Given the buzz around this car, Toyota could likely sell ten times that number.
The result is supposedly magical, but with such a limited run, not many local drivers are going to have a chance to experience that magic. The rest of us will simply have to wait for the Subaru version to arrive, sometime next year. But don't expect it to be anywhere near as cheap.