Get Your Drifting Dreams Started With This $2600 AE86 Corolla SR5

While AE86 Corollas aren’t impossible to find in America these days, discovering a clean, unmodified example is something special.
Get Your Drifting Dreams Started With This $2600 AE86 Corolla SR5

The AE86 Corolla has become the poster child for drifters of both extensive and minimal experience. As such, most listed for sale fall into two categories. Category A is full of cars used and abused by those learning the art of driving sideways. They may or may not run, may or may not have all body panels, and almost certainly show signs of repeated impacts with immovable objects. The only real saving grace is you can usually buy them cheap. Category B, as you might expect, is just the opposite. These cars are decidedly not cheap because they’re already built to drift, and look damn good doing it.

Get Your Drifting Dreams Started With This $2600 AE86 Corolla SR5

What we have here, however, is something from category C, and that’s a big, rare deal. Category C is where we find clean, decent looking, inexpensive Corollas that actually work. To that end, we have this 1987 Toyota Corolla SR5, in all its rear-wheel drive glory, looking remarkably clean and collision-free. Granted it’s not the desirable GT-S, but it is a five-speed manual. More importantly, it’s currently selling in Southern California on Craigslist for the tantalizing low price of $2600.

Get Your Drifting Dreams Started With This $2600 AE86 Corolla SR5

The listing is pretty thin on detail, with the description not much larger than a Twitter post. The seller says the car “runs like a champ” with good paint, a clean interior, and new wheels with fresh tyres. That bit of info is interesting on a car that’s best known for turning with the front wheels in full opposite lock, but the pictures do suggest a fairly clean car until you get to the engine shot. Remember this doesn’t have the sought after 4AGE engine, instead having the weaker 4A-C unit; prime for an engine swap, then.

So that explains why it’s so cheap, coupled with the fact that a few of the exterior shots just don’t look right to me. Dark colors can easily hide flaws in photos, and what’s the deal with the fuel door?

Get Your Drifting Dreams Started With This $2600 AE86 Corolla SR5

The seller says the title is clear and it’s passed smog testing, which is a huge deal in California so the engine must be decent at the very least, should you wish to keep it. Still, it would be nice to know some maintenance history, or at least the mileage. Then again, I’m not the typical AE86 shopper so perhaps those things don’t matter as much, especially if you’re only going to chuck a different engine under the hood.

Get Your Drifting Dreams Started With This $2600 AE86 Corolla SR5

I’ve never had much interest in these cars, but then again the only ones I’ve seen for sale fell into categories A and B. This one is talking to me though; it could be a great buy for someone looking to sample the drifting scene, or to just have a neat piece of Toyota history. Offer $2300, buy a one-way ticket to SoCal, and drive home a tidy little winter project.


Alpha RT

But isnt that a AE85? That must have the SOHC engine

12/12/2015 - 12:30 |
18 | 0

I’m no expert when it comes to Corollas but you are right in the AE85 part but funny enough the build plate on SR5s have AE86 in the model code.

12/12/2015 - 13:23 |
14 | 0

Nope, AE85 came with 3AC engine, this one with 4AC.

12/13/2015 - 00:49 |
2 | 0

VIN purposes only
DX: AE85
SR-5: AE86
GT-S: AE88

All are stamped AE86 on the firewall.

Also, AE85 in japan has a 3AU 1.5 liter. 4AC is 1.6.

12/13/2015 - 01:12 |
6 | 0

Takumi approved

12/12/2015 - 12:47 |
70 | 0

Cough,cough “AE88”, cough cough

12/12/2015 - 13:00 |
0 | 2
Carlos 2

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

AE88 is just for the GTS model and its on the VIN so it really doesn’t matter. SR5 models on the other hand came with AE86 on the MODEL code and in the VIN.

12/12/2015 - 13:19 |
4 | 0

I don’t think that’s an AE86

12/12/2015 - 13:06 |
8 | 2
The AE86 of Mt. Akina (86 Squad)

In reply to by Soarer-Dom

In America, the sohc is an ae86. The 4age model is an ae88.

12/13/2015 - 06:23 |
2 | 0

It is a 86 its just base spec one. Australia got a similar model with the 4ac and no lsd option

12/13/2015 - 08:37 |
0 | 0

Y u do dis… I want it so bad but no license nor money 😭.

12/12/2015 - 13:41 |
2 | 2

Think about it like this: at least you don’t live near it and can’t afford it. I wish i could pick it up as I’m not too far from it but I have to finish my project first before I buy anything… :(

12/12/2015 - 15:59 |
0 | 0

The sr5 is fwd. Yes there are fwd ae86

12/12/2015 - 14:11 |
0 | 16
Carlos 2

In reply to by Scar11

You’re thinking of the other E80 Corolla, the one featured in this article is RWD.

12/12/2015 - 14:20 |
4 | 0

In reply to by Scar11

The SR5 is RWD as well, it’s only that it’s got a SOHC engine and open diff. But it’s still RWD.

12/12/2015 - 14:46 |
0 | 0

In reply to by Scar11

The sedan was FWD. So no there aren’t fwd ae86.

12/12/2015 - 15:25 |
0 | 0

Ok, the sr5 refer to the engine, but im pretty sure there are 4-age ae86. I saw plenty while searching with one (rwd) on the american craiglist.

12/12/2015 - 16:31 |
2 | 2

In reply to by Scar11

No, it’s not an AE86 if it’s FWD. Why do you people always say it’s right away an AE86 when it’s really an 80s corolla?

09/24/2019 - 16:34 |
0 | 0

An SR5 AE86 is like a non GT-R Skyline. It looks similar, but at the end, it’s not the real AE86 everyone loves. You can still make some cool things with it though I guess?

12/12/2015 - 14:48 |
8 | 0

Well actually a Skyline GTS-T is what I’d prefer over a GTR. This would be like a regular golf vs a GTI

12/12/2015 - 18:44 |
4 | 0
Mr Troc


12/12/2015 - 14:49 |
46 | 0
Delightful Citizen (Classic Truck Squad)

I would bet that it was painted by a “professional” and has a ton of paint flaws when you see it in person. Still, $2600 is pretty cheap if you desire one of these!

12/12/2015 - 15:23 |
2 | 0

Yay I will be in Bakersfield next week so maybe I can check it out!!!

12/12/2015 - 15:24 |
0 | 0


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