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1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S - Running The Numbers

For A Car Seemingly Named for Infinitely Variable Possibilities, This Hachi-Roku Delivers On All Levels

B.K. Nakadashi
Apr 10, 2013 SHARE
Sstp 1303 01+1986 toyota corolla GTS+JDM levin front conversion Photo 1/10   |   1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S with a Levin front end conversion.

Talk about a name to live up to. Not even really a name-just two numbers, eight and six. It's as if Toyota's legendary AE86, both the short-hand code name for the old-school's beloved rear-drive mid-'80s Toyota Corolla GT-S, and the resulting car's capabilities and ultimate popularity, was developed to live up to the potential of its name.

Take a look at the numbers. In Asian numerology, the number 8 is lucky, signifying wealth; lay an 8 on its side, and it becomes the symbol for infinity (not Infinity, the stereo maker, or Infiniti, the pimped-out Nissan line): think power, potential, possibilities. The number 6 also represents wealth, something you'll need if you want to build a Hachi this stout and capable-but it has an additional meaning: fluidity. Not a physical liquid, but rather it suggests adaptability and change. After all, 6 is the only number that can be another number (a 9) when flipped on its head. Six is malleable, adaptable, easily becoming something other than what it is. Its character can be molded, shaped or altered into whatever you want or require it to be. Together, 8 and 6, the possibilities become infinitely variable, as practical as your daily demands insist, as wild as any flight of fancy that can be inferred by the mind's eye.

Sstp 1303 05+1986 toyota corolla GTS+toms steering wheel Photo 2/10   |   Interior of a 1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S

Unwittingly or not, Lance Harano of Waipahu, Hawaii, has built a Hachi that has managed to split the difference: it maintains driver status with an eye on cleanliness, contains power beyond what a mere racy component list could suggest, and a bespoke style that isn't so fragile that it couldn't be repaired if need be. Practical, pretty and fast? Tell us more!

The voice of experience guided Lance on his latest in a garage full of Toyota projects; this wasn't his first Hachi. "My first was an '87 GT-S hatch, which I had in the early '90s. It wasn't really a build...it just had bolt-ons like TRD suspension and header, HKS street exhaust and SSR Bang Vec rims. Not a whole lot, but those parts are now considered old-school; it would be nice to have 'em on hand for hoarding purposes." Suffice it to say, Lance's first taste of an AE86 left him to contemplate how he'd want to alter the recipe next time he got the chance.

After an opportunity to purchase this very car was pulled out from under him in the late 1990s, it came up for sale again in 2001: "It was a bone-stock '86 GT-S with 60,000 miles and minimal rust. I did the basic bolt-on mods: suspension, rims, exhaust. Then in 2003, an unfortunate accident mashed in the nose and the driver's-side rear corner."

Sstp 1303 10+1986 toyota corolla GTS+koyo radiator Photo 3/10   |   1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S

A quickie repair job straightened the steel and made it presentable once again, but the more Lance drove his Hachi around the island, the more he understood that opportunity was knocking, that this was his chance to make what he really wanted out of his dinged-up Hachi. Within six months, it was back off the road, completely blown apart and down to a bare shell. Once a spot of rust repair on the cowl was knocked out (best to kill it before it spreads, giving the salty Hawaiian air a chance to breed), Lance chose each component with deliberation. His approach is clean, taking the approach that, while what you see is fairly wild and highly individual, the flash belies some serious grunt that you wouldn't think would come from a car so clean. It makes the result all the more spectacular; you wouldn't expect a car this pretty to get out of its own way, and yet as much as the eye candy promises, the rest of the car (over) delivers.

Using a 4A-GE under the hood was a given; the result, with bumped-up 11:1 compression, individual throttle-bodies, big Ferrea valves in the head and port-matched intake, head and exhaust that Lance tended to himself (his day job is as a full-time mechanic) means maximum results from a few well-chosen components. Big compression is one thing, but airflow is a crucial ingredient, even the smallest ridges and bumps can interrupt airflow inside an engine. Smoothing out the air's passage through the engine, from intake to head, from exhaust port to header, make for small but solid gains that can be felt once you ladle in more power. What's more, the 12-pound flywheel means that Lance can rip through the power band even quicker.

A succession of chassis-stiffening devices, like strut bars and coilovers have been employed, but a cage not only seemed a little over the top, but took up precious room inside. And so, instead, Lance stitch-welded the unit-body chassis for additional strength. You don't see that much on street cars, but it's one of those invisible modifications that you can really feel.

Sstp 1303 06+1986 toyota corolla GTS+AE86 instrument cluster Photo 4/10   |   An AE86 digital instrument cluster on a Toyota Corolla GT-S

The paint is a standard Lexus Glacier Frost color over a relatively subtle body kit. The choice of paint indicates a canny level of cunning on Lance's part; using a newer color may feel custom, and certainly a metallic will feel richer than the palette of solids that were on the chip chart a quarter-century back, but not only is the color still in the Toyota family, it's something that can be easily repaired should something untoward happen out on the mean streets of Hawaii (jealous goon keys it, random pineapples come bouncing at him in a lane, who knows?).

It's also a strong indication that Lance is driving the car, which we like. How better to satisfy the unlimited potential presented by Toyota's tabula rasa then to build it how you like and then drive the wheels off it? We can't think of one.

Tuning Menu

1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S

Owner Lance Harano

Hometown Waipahu, HI

Occupation Machinist

Engine 1990 Toyota 4A-GE engine; Wiseco 11:1 pistons with shot-peened and polished OE rods; Ferrea valves; TRD valve springs; HKS 272° intake/exhaust camshafts; Cometic head gaskets; Silk Road header; Runfree exhaust; Non-Stop Tuning pulleys; AE101 20V 43mm ITB throttle-bodies with T3 funnels; intake match-ported to head; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; SARD fuel pressure regulator; NGK plugs with TRD wires; JDM MAP; hidden ignition and wiring; Koyo radiator with dual electric Mishimoto fans; Samco radiator hoses; Parts Master 170-degree thermostat

Sstp 1303 09+1986 toyota corolla gts+engine bay Photo 8/10   |   Modified engine bay of a 1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S.

Footwork & Chassis Stitch-welded unit-body chassis; T3 four-link rear and NRCA roll-center adjuster; GReddy front and rear coil-overs; Tanabe sway bars (25mm front, 20mm rear); Battle Version Panhard bar; JIC Magic front strut bar; Jubiride rear strut bar; Powerflex bushings

Drivetrain Toyota T50 TRD all-synchromesh five-speed manual with Overdrive; one-piece steel driveshaft; Superior clutch; HKS 12-pound flywheel; T3 shifter; Cusco F2 differential

Brakes OE calipers with PBR XBG semi-metallic pads; stainless brake lines

Wheels & Tires 15x9"-27 (front)/15x10" -28 (rear) SSR XR-4 wheels; 175/50R15 Nexen CP621 tires (front); 195/50R15 Falken Z1EX ZE912 tires (rear); Muteki lug nuts

Sstp 1303 02+1986 toyota corolla GTS+SSR XR 4 wheels Photo 9/10   |   1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S sitting on some SSR wheels.

Exterior JDM Levin nose; Runfree Levin Type II body kit including front and rear bumper, side skirts, spoiler and vented FRP front fenders; J-Blood vented FRP/Seibon Carbon hood and hatch lid; Hella H4 headlight bulbs; rolled rear fender lips; Lexus Glacier Frost paint by Hiroshi Performance

Interior Bride Low Max carbon-kevlar seats; Tom's 330mm steering wheel with Boss steering hub; JDM dildo shift knob; Toyota Celica/IS300 pedals, and AE86 digital instrument cluster; Kenwood DDX719 stereo and DVD player with JBL speakers; Innovate Wide band; VDO vacuum gauge; AutoMeter water temp and oil pressure gauges

Thanks You God, Mom, Jason K., Mark C., Mike L, Daniel S. at Hiroshi Performance (bodywork and paint), Auto Customs, Servco. The enthusiasts I've met online for having and sourcing various parts. To all the guys and girls who supported me and to all the cool people I've met at car shows.

Sstp 1303 04+1986 toyota corolla GTS+runfree type II rear bumper Photo 10/10   |   1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S with a carbon fiber hatch.
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By B.K. Nakadashi
23 Articles

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