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1986 Toyota Corolla (AE86) - Prime Time

The future of AE86 tuning begins at the house of E.PRIME

Jonathan Wong
Oct 17, 2017
Photographer: JC Pepino

There's an old saying that goes (and we're paraphrasing): Do what you love for a living and you'll never work a day in your life. Safe to say, we know that sentiment very well (have you seen our Instagram yet/lately?) For Eiji Daito, it's been a lifelong goal to pursue a career surrounded by cars, but that dream wouldn't come to fruition until '15 when he opened E. Prime, a shop dedicated to repair work and minor modifications, and later selling used cars. But in this short time of operation, Daito has begun to make a name for himself as an up-and-coming specialist to a car that's generations old and nowhere near past its prime: Toyota's AE86.

"We are AE86 specialists," Daito says. "I've owned several my entire life. From track racing to stance, our shop has figured out how to set the chassis' suspension up correctly, but we do pride ourselves on our custom fabrication. Our concept is: Make things that do not exist." Because of this work mantra, their customer cars benefit from one-off works of art, including rollcages, exhaust systems, and bodywork. But Daito's current obsession is one he's had in possession for the past 15 years, and surprise to none, it's an AE86.

1986 toyota corolla custom total create E PRIME dash Photo 5/28   |   1986 Toyota Corolla Custom Total Create E PRIME Dash

"When I found the car, it had almost no interior," Daito reminisces. "None of the panels or carpeting, but the body was in perfect shape. It was a low-mileage vehicle and the perfect base platform for a race project." In its infancy stages, it was built to be a high-performance street car, but as he continued to add more performance, it eventually became a track car. "I wanted to build a cool car, to get people's attention," he adds.

As you can already tell, the E.PRIME AE86 is a work of art and is certainly a shining example of how to build an AE86 right. The low stance is a perfect accompaniment to the NA Works front bumper and custom fender work, and the Work Equip 40 wheels add a cool modern-retro look with ultra-wide offsets. The engine bay is also stunning; lots of chassis work can be seen, and the turbocharged 4AG setup is tuned close to the neighborhood of 300 hp. "I had to make a lot of one-off parts and chassis modifications to handle the extra horsepower," Daito says, which also includes a custom transmission bellhousing to fit a Skyline 71C transmission, a 7.5" rear axle, and a weight reduction wherever it could be made, using fiberglass replacements for the hood and doors, in addition to the bumper and fenders.

1986 toyota corolla 4AG engine Photo 9/28   |   1986 Toyota Corolla 4AG Engine

Daito spends most of his free time taking this AE86 to track and show days whenever he can. He recently clocked in a 1:42 lap time at the Okoyama International Circuit, which we've been told is very impressive, considering it's roughly the same time as the fastest Super Taikyu Honda S2000! The AE86 competes heavily in the AE86 Festival, which sees the fastest AE86s in the country in attendance, and in the open class, Daito's able to go heads up with the best without limitations, which means engine swaps and turbos are good to go. He's even thought of swapping in a 7AG for more power, of course. "Even though the AE86 is 30 years old now, it's still challenging to create a car with an efficient layout that performs well, lasts long, and is easily maintained," Daito says. With his expertise and this AE86 as his prime specimen, we have no doubts it will stand the test of time for many years to come.

1986 toyota corolla work equip 40 wheel Photo 19/28   |   1986 Toyota Corolla Work Equip 40 Wheel
By Jonathan Wong
473 Articles
1986 Toyota Corolla (AE86) - Prime Time
Tuning Menu
Owner: Eiji Daito
Hometown: Hiroshima, Japan
Occupation: Owner, Total Create E. PRIME
Power: 295 hp at 5,900 rpm; 253 lb-ft of torque at 5,690 rpm
Engine: 1.6L 4AG; AE92 4AGZ oil pump, pistons, crankshaft, and coil system; AE101 20v rods; ported cylinder head; Toda camshafts and valvesprings; 1.5mm head gasket; NGK #10 spark plugs; Bosch fuel pump (x2); ATL fuel tank; Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 550cc injectors; SARD fuel pressure regulator; TD05-20G turbo; HKS wastegate; HPI air filter; custom Total Create E. PRIME 80mm exhaust piping and 45mm exhaust manifold; modified Mazda FD3S intercooler; Setrab oil cooler; Koyo radiator
Drivetrain: Nissan Skyline 71C transmission with custom bellhousing; OS Giken Super Single clutch and flywheel; 3.9:1 final gear ratio; Cusco two-way limited-slip differential
Engine Management: Freedom ECU
Footwork & Chassis: Ennepetal front suspension; TRD rear shocks; TEIN springs; TRD stabilizer bars; custom Total Create E. PRIME strut bar and 14-point rollcage; spot-welded chassis
Brakes: Mazda FD3S front calipers; Endless brake rotors and pads
Wheels & Tires: 15x9.5" Work Equip 40 wheels; 225/50R15 ADVAN A050 tires
Exterior: NA Works front bumper; custom Total Create E. PRIME front fenders and rear over-fenders; Mercury side skirts; Subaru Violet Blue paint
Interior: OMP steering wheel; Bride Zeta III bucket seat; Sabelt harnesses; Defi meters; Ultra tachometer

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