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1985 Toyota Corolla GTS - Not Just a Game

When Talent Behind the Computer Screen Translates to One of the Coolest Corollas We've Ever Seen

Trevor Ryan
Dec 23, 2019
Videographer: Colin McEvoy

Landin Williams got his driver's license more than a decade ago, during The Fast and Furious franchise's explosive early years. He later got hooked on Initial D and spent his evenings goofing off, playing racing games with his friends. Years later, he picked up his first AE86 and went drifting. It all sounds like a familiar story of how many of us got into cars, right? Except Landin's story is anything but ordinary.

1985 Toyota Corolla GTS Run Free Style Front Bumper 01 Photo 28/28   |   1985 Toyota Corolla GTS - Not Just a Game

Things really got started when the aspiring videographer produced a film back in 2007 in which he recreated a classic Initial D battle sequence—the one where Takumi Fujiwara faces off against Keisuke Takahashi on the backroads of Gunma—using footage from the video game Forza. The folks at Microsoft admired the video and sent Landin an email, which ended up in his junk mail. Weeks later, and just one click away from clearing his spam folder, Landin just so happened to open the email. Initially, he couldn't believe what he was reading, but fast-forward through the red tape and Landin landed a gig as an editor and cinematic director at Turn 10 Studios where he'd be putting together launch trailers, tutorials, and other videos for Forza. Wow!

Landin began working behind the scenes to push the franchise toward drifting with enthusiast-inspired track layouts, cars, modifications, and, of course, the video content to go along with it. Maybe you remember the Fujimi Kaido reveal trailer, which was "a tribute to the mountain passes of Japan." It was the first time drifting was featured front and center in Forza, and this video was directed and edited by Landin back in 2009. Or, more recently, you might have seen the Ken Block vs. Britain Forza 4 Horizon trailer from last year—he edited that as well. Looking through a wider lens, Landin was also a major catalyst for expanding the concept of drifting to the video game. Zooming out further, it's hard to measure the impact video games at large have had on shaping automotive enthusiasts, but there's no doubt the influence is massive. Without Landin, the drifting side of Forza might not look the way it does today.

1985 Toyota Corolla GTS 4AGE Blacktop Photo 28/28   |   1985 Toyota Corolla GTS - Not Just a Game

As time passed, Landin went on to work with 343 Industries on the Halo series and is now the head of post-production at a marketing firm. Not losing sight of his true passion, he continued to film at drift events and cut a number of videos in collaboration with teams and various brands. Hundreds of thousands of video views poured in, but the whole time two things were missing from the equation: being able to drift in real life as well as owning his own drift car.

The AE86 was a natural first choice, and Landin was able to scoop up this '85 Toyota Corolla GT-S as a base. Building a car in a video game is quite different than actually setting one up in real life, so he enlisted the help of friends in the drift community, like Ian Dillon from Factory86, who handled the aesthetics, and Matt Panic, driver for the ShaDynasty drift team, who was instrumental on the mechanical side of things. Local company Xcessive Manufacturing provided its drivetrain and chassis components. The AE86 retains a sense of simplicity, powered by its original 4AGE and styled low and wide, like something you'd see at a grassroots drift event in Japan.

1985 Toyota Corolla GTS OMP Racing Seats Photo 28/28   |   1985 Toyota Corolla GTS - Not Just a Game

"It took nearly 15 years to get a car and get out and learn to drive," Landin says. Once he got going, he caught on quickly and he credits all the hours logged on video games for his fast progression. "The mechanics and the timing are similar, so I just needed to translate my muscle memory from the controller into making my body do it." When asked about the competitive side of drifting, Landin explains, "I don't care about winning, just about looking cool." He goes on to say that driving tandem with his friends is really where the joy in this is for him, and that he's always seen drifting as "something you do together, not against each other."

Now, drifting has all but consumed Landin as he tries to balance his work life and personal life with his newfound addiction of burning up tires at local tracks with his friends. It's always a bit difficult to find the time and money this automotive hobby requires, but Landin has an answer for that, too: "Drifting takes over your life...but it's good, and if you love it, why not let it?"

By Trevor Ryan
2 Articles
1985 Toyota Corolla GTS - Not Just a Game
Tuning Menu
Owner: Landin Williams
Hometown: Ontario, Canada
Occupation: Head of Post Production at Color
Instagram: @squeeze.86
Engine: 4AGE 20v Blacktop engine; titanium valves and springs; 30-shot dry nitrous kit; Xcessive Manufacturing nitrous lines, 1mm oversized ported and polished head, solid engine mounts; AE86 Fight Club Hamachi header; MRP coil-pack conversion; TRD head gasket; HPI thermostatic oil cooler; Tomei fuel pressure regulator; A'PEXi hybrid megaphone exhaust
Drivetrain: W58 transmission; Xcessive Manufacturing transmission mounts, crossmember, four-link suspension with Heim joints, one-piece aluminum driveshaft; Exedy Hyper Single clutch; Toyota Pickup 7.5 rear end with 4.56 gears; AW11 manual steering rack
Engine Management: Link Monsoon ECU; Panic Wire harness
Footwork & Chassis: Stance XR1 coilovers; Xcessive Manufacturing extended lower control arms; T3 tension rods, sway bar mounts; Carbing strut tower bar; Swangbiz Panhard brace
Wheels & Tires: 16x8 -28 front 16x9 -31 rear Work Meister CR01 wheels; 195/50R16 Toyo Proxes R888 tires; 38mm rear spacers
Exterior: Run Free replica body kit; Crystal Body Yokohama over-fender kit; louvered rear windows; Winds Auto Aero mirrors; AZRX7 LED taillights; Swangbiz front and rear bash bars; strobe lights; Factory 83 livery design
Interior: Xcessive Manufacturing Hydro E-brake; Vertex Forever 330mm steering wheel; Ferrari horn button; OMP Racing seats; Schroth harnesses; ARC 8000 switch panel; Kicker 10-inch subwoofer

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