A time-warp Toyota Corolla AE86 GT with one lady owner and less than 100,000 miles on the clock after 34 years of ownership has sold for a record price.
The 1987 classic – which has become a halo car for the Japanese brand – sold this week for a staggering £46,250, which is believed to be the highest price paid for this model at auction.
Sold to the highest bidder by Car & Classic, it beat the previous record set in the US of $40,000 (around £29,000) in March last year, and means it went for almost four times what its only keeper originally paid for it.
Time-warp Toyota: This entirely original 1987 Corolla AE86 sold in the UK this week for a record fee for this model at auction
The ‘AE86’ is one of only a few cars that is referred to more commonly by its factory codename rather than its Corolla model marque.
What differentiated the AE86 is its rear-wheel-drive setup, which made this practical and reliable family car hugely popular among petrolheads who wanted to drop the kids off at school and enjoy some drifting on the way home.
It was popularised by the early Playstation Grand Turismo games and appearances in the Fast and Furious movie franchise
It was such a hit that values have been rising for years, with enthusiasts and nostalgic former owners desperate to get their hands on the remaining Japanese cult cars.
The now former owner of this GT example, with 92,000 miles on the clock, bought it in 1987, saying she had purchased it to ‘cheer herself up after separating from her partner’. That’s a pretty good break-up buy gift to yourself, in our eyes.
Ordered new from Hallens Toyota, in Cambridge, the car has been kept in staggeringly good – and fully original – condition.
The 34-year classic – which has become a halo car for the Japanese brand – was sold by Car & Classic this week for £46,250 – which is around £17,250 more than the previous record set in March 2020
The car has had one lady owner from new. She said she had bought the AE86 GT new in 1987 as a gift to ‘cheer herself up after separating from her partner’
The car was ordered in Wine Red with few optional extra fitted. Despite that, it came with a sunroof and radio-cassette player – features you couldn’t get as standard in 1987
It was ordered without any factory-fit extras for a price of £12,500 some 34 years ago – that’s the equivalent of £37,534 today based on inflation, which is around the same price you’d pay for a brand new BMW 5 Series in 2021.
Despite being ordered in its most basic form, the car was generously specced.
It was delivered with features including a sunroof, radio-cassette player and alloy wheels.
The Toyota Corolla AE86 GT was produced between 1984 and 1987 and is powered by a 1.6-litre, high-revving, petrol engine producing a maximum of 124bhp
As you can see here, the original registration plates remain on the car, featuring the name and phone number for Hallens of Cambridge – the dealership it was bought from
The keeper had kept all the paperwork from new, including the delivery ticket. A period Nokia phone holder was fitted and the mobile device remains – in case the winning bidder wants to transport themselves back to making calls like they’re in the nineties
Official Toyota mudflaps and its original dealer-badged E-reg plates are still in place today, as well as a period Nokia phone cradle used as a holster for the owner’s mobile in the nineties.
Carefully serviced every year (at a Toyota dealer for the first nine times of its life), it has been cherished by its first and only owner who has covered a total of 92,000 miles in the car – that works out at 2,706 miles a year on average.
The car was sold to the highest bidder with magazine clippings and the original brochure given to the first owner when ordering the motor new from the Cambridge dealership
Also sold with the car was the entire vehicle handbook, including the owner’s manual and service record book
A fully documented service book shows the car was meticulously maintained during the full 34-year ownership period
The keeper had kept all the paperwork and even the brochure she was given to choose the Wine Red colour when ordering the motor new from the Cambridge dealership.
The only blemish on its record is when it was keyed by mindless vandals in 2006.
The cost to fix the damage to the paintwork was deemed by the insurer to be ‘uneconomical to repair’ when it compared the restoration bill to the car’s value then.
However, unwilling to even contemplate her beloved motor being sent to the crusher, the owner bought it back from the insurer and paid for a respray to ‘as new’ condition.
That was an inspired decision by the lady owner, as it not only means she was able to retain the vehicle for another 15 years but also saw the value increase by 270 per cent from new.
The rear-wheel drive AE86 is iconic. It was popularised by the early Playstation Grand Turismo games and appearances in the Fast and Furious movie franchise
Not many entirely original road cars remain today, with rust being a big issue. A lot were also converted to race cars
The AE86 also became a prolific rally car, with the combination of front engine and rear-wheel drive an ideal formula for sideways action
Toyota AE86 specs
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder A-GE, twin overhead cam with EFI
Kerb weight: 970kg
Power output: 124bhp
0-60mph: 8.3 seconds
Top speed: 122mph
The seller reluctantly decided to part with the car after 34 years having recently suffered an injury that made the heavy non-power steering too much of a struggle on a daily basis.
Commenting on the car’s sale, Chris Pollitt from Car & Classic said the AE86 was a ‘true definition’ of a ‘survivor car’.
‘So many of these ended up as drift or track cars or just rotting away,’ he explained.
‘Only the true adoration of this ‘86’ prevented the insurance company from obliterating it after incurring paint damage.’
Pollitt explained that the final moments of the seven-day sale saw frantic bids being placed, pushing the winning price above the previous record.
The Toyota Corolla AE86 GT was produced between 1984 and 1987 and is powered by a 1.6-litre, high-revving, petrol engine with 124bhp.
As highlighted by Chris Pollitt, the front-engine and rear-wheel-drive format made the AE86 a popular racer, rally car and drift weapon – which is why very few completely original road cars remain today.
The AE86 is also known to suffer from rust issues, which has likely added to the demise in numbers of this Japanese retro classic car.
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