1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex
Any of the things the Sprinter Trueno is famous for could have made it an immortal JDM hero alone. Added up, it’s clear that the humble Corolla-based coupe that slays giants on the track and in the mountain passes is as legendary as they come. Widely known by the chassis code AE86 (from which the Japanese nickname Haichi-Roku, or “86,” comes from), it initially competed in various forms of production car racing, but then a video starring the Sprinter and a certain racer named Keiichi Tsuchiya changed everything. That video was “Pluspy,” and Tsuchiya is better known by the name Dorikin (“Drift King”)—and that video is generally considered the birth of drifting as we know it today. The Sprinter’s immediate popularity was only magnified when it was featured as the star vehicle in the wildly successful Initial D manga and anime series. The Sprinter Trueno deserves all this recognition and fame because it’s such a great package—extremely lightweight (just over a ton), the rear-wheel drive coupe has a strong and highly-tunable 4A-GE engine. The 1.6-liter motor makes 128 horsepower stock, using a twin-cam, 16-valve design—one of the first mass-produced motors in the work to use this advanced design. Add in a supremely balanced chassis, easy to modify for racing, drifting, or for show, and it’s no wonder that decades after it went out of production the Trueno is still a major presence in the drifting and touge scenes.