Is This $40,000 AE86-Chassis Toyota Corolla GT-S a Sign of Things To Come?

Colin
By Colin Wood
May 10, 2021 | Toyota, Corolla, Bring a Trailer, AE86

The AE86-chassis Toyota Corolla GT-S gets a lot right: relatively lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and an engine that loves to rev. Perhaps not surprisingly, that formula has led these cars to be popular in various forms of motorsports like drifting and circuit racing.

Fast forward to today, and demand–as well as prices–look to be on the rise. How much so? A 1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S, the USDM version of the AE86, just sold for $40,000 over on Bring a Trailer.

The car does look to be stock, though the listing notes blemishes, faded paint, rust around the sunroof, and evidence of paintwork on the doors, fenders and hood. As well, this Corolla has 112,000 miles on the odometer.

Based on a few other recent sales of AE86s on Bring a Trailer, the $40,000 winning bid looks to be unusual–at least for now: Aside from the 86 in question, the highest prices seen are $30,250 for an S2000-powered example, followed by $24,500 for a relatively stock ’86 GT-S.

Is this $40,000 Corolla an omen of prices to come, or is this just a case of someone simply overpaying for something they really wanted?

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Toyota, Corolla, Bring a Trailer and AE86 news.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
5/7/21 3:15 p.m.

What's a nice non-Z06 etc C5 go for these days, 1/2 of the money this sold for?  1/3rd?  

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/7/21 3:17 p.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

What's a nice non-Z06 etc C5 go for these days, 1/2 of the money this sold for?  1/3rd?  

actually nice? 1/2 of this... but the C5 doesn't have nearly the cult following these do..

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/7/21 3:19 p.m.

Wow. I just don't get it. They're cool and all, but barely $10k cool. And certainly not $40k cool. It's not even pristine. I'm starting to believe the money laundering theory.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/7/21 3:24 p.m.

Pretty sure you could get a Toyobaru and enough CF parts to bring it down to an AE86's weight at that price. Even without the popup lights, that seems like a way better deal.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
5/7/21 3:25 p.m.

In reply to spacecadet (Forum Supporter) :

I understand the emotional response / cult following thing and how it can affect the price but this just seems silly.  I'm not a big C5 fan but there's not much a hatchback C5 can do that this can do better aside from carry small things / people in a back seat.  And I think I'd feel like I did okay for the money standing next to my new-to-me $20k C5 vs. this car for $40k.  Or even the same money.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/7/21 3:31 p.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

I say with with a wry smile and a hint of sarcasm......

The problem with your thinking... is inserting anything resembling logic... into a collector car auction....

preach (fs)
preach (fs) HalfDork
5/7/21 3:41 p.m.

Hagarty puts out a top ten list every year of future collectables. Out of my 8.25 cars I have 5.25 of the cars from the last two years.

Let the market do what it wants. I will try to remain cutting edge haha.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/7/21 3:48 p.m.

For $40k, I figured it would be a better example. 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/7/21 3:50 p.m.

It would be one thing if it was a number one or even number two example with low miles, but for what is advertised, I'd rather put that money into a modern 86–new or used.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
5/7/21 4:02 p.m.

I'm convinced the last 14 months has driven everyone, literally, not figuratively, everyone insane.

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/7/21 4:35 p.m.

If I was going to spend $40,000 on some kind of sports car, the answer would be which used Corvette or Porsche do I like the most. Or maybe a Lotus?

malibuguy
malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
5/7/21 4:39 p.m.

As much as I love these cars, that is not a 40k car to me...more like 12k

 

Flynlow (FS)
Flynlow (FS) Dork
5/7/21 4:46 p.m.

My guess is that this, like most high $$$ BAT auctions, is one boutique dealer selling to another for big money on paper.  I've stopped paying attention, honestly. 

"Oh, did you see a (blank) just sold on BAT for all the money?" 

Nope, and I'm assuming it's all smoke and mirrors until proven otherwise.  Maybe #4 condition AE86's really are worth $40K these days......but I doubt it. 

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/7/21 5:02 p.m.

Buyers can hit the crackpipe too.

Tom1200
Tom1200 SuperDork
5/7/21 5:26 p.m.

Pretty sure this one goes in the paid to much column of CM.

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
5/7/21 6:34 p.m.

Considering my adventures in MR2 shopping, this does not surprise me.

92dxman
92dxman SuperDork
5/7/21 7:10 p.m.

Wow...just wow is all I have to say!

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
5/7/21 8:06 p.m.

Am I the only one who never remembers seeing these in the '80s? Granted I was a kid then but I remember seeing just about everything else. My first introduction to them was Gran Turismo. I can't help but feel that the game brought the car more fanfare than its real-life existence. Everyone had F-Body, C4, Grand National, 911 and exotics on their minds in the '80s. Or older stuff like 510s and 356s.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/7/21 9:14 p.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

What's a nice non-Z06 etc C5 go for these days, 1/2 of the money this sold for?  1/3rd?  

The difference is a reasonably nice C5 is a lot easier to find than a well presented AE86.

jb229
jb229 New Reader
5/7/21 10:34 p.m.

I just assumed someone with more money than sense wanted to buy the hero car from Initial D.  Despite it not being in perfect shape and being the wrong color.  Has anyone won a major drifting prize lately?

Anything over 10K for this is nuts, but what was the markup for Bullitt-style fastback Mustangs or Vanishing Point Challengers 25 years after those movies came out?  A hero car is a hero car for some people I guess.

Surely it must be cheaper to import one.

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/8/21 5:51 a.m.

I cut one up to build a Locost.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/8/21 8:03 a.m.

I shot one with a potato cannon and donated the shell to a local fire department to practice jaws of life rescue on (SR5, but still kick myself just a bit on that one.)

300zxfreak
300zxfreak Reader
5/8/21 8:50 a.m.

Are we sure that the decimal wasn't in the wrong place, and that it should have read $4,000 ????

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
5/8/21 9:14 a.m.

Was it loaded with cocaine in the door panels?  

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/8/21 9:27 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

Wow. I just don't get it. They're cool and all, but barely $10k cool. And certainly not $40k cool. It's not even pristine. I'm starting to believe the money laundering theory.

If I had $40k to burn and there was a completely stock, unmolested AE86 available, I'd have bought it.  This is like one of one in 2021.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
5/8/21 9:59 a.m.
JamesMcD said:

If it still had the original paint job, without rust spots, and had been detailed, I guess it would have hit $100k, right?

Maybe whoever paid $40K thinks they'll detail the engine compartment and perform paint correction then sell it for $80K.

350z247
350z247 Reader
5/8/21 10:34 a.m.

The Japanese "classic" car market is absolutely bonkers right now. I don't like basically any of the 80s or 90s JDM cars, but I can admit that most of them are far superior to their American contemporaries. However, I will never understand the appeal of the AE86, especially with how garbage all their engine options are. A cult cartoon hardly justifies this sale price. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/8/21 10:41 a.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

The AE86 was a Japanese MkII Escort.  (There's even a compelling argument that the 4AGE is a copy/simplification of the Cosworth BDA)

If you think the AE86 market is bonkers, see what people are spending on Escorts.  There are some in the 200-250k Euro range.

 

Some people go for the big bucks engine/drivetrain options available after 50 years of development,  but some spend even more money for genuine BDA/BDG engines, ZF transmissions, Atlas axles, etc., to be period correct.

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/8/21 11:14 a.m.
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

I cut one up to build a Locost.

As did I.

As the AE86 climbs in value, I wonder if it wouldn't have been smarter to invest in it, instead of build the 7.

But.... to get the 86 I cut up, into the condition that it would need to be to be worth what my Locost is worth now, would cost as much as I spent to build the Locost, so it's a wash.

Until next year and the years after, as the AE86 begins to go stratospheric in value, and I eventually regret cutting one up.

Having driven both, the 7 is infinitely more fun.

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/8/21 11:22 a.m.

In reply to SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) :

But if everyone else didn't cut up their AE86 they wouldn't be so valuable.

Similarly, 1991 240SX sold for $19k last week. It's very clean but also has 108k miles.

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) Reader
5/8/21 11:23 a.m.

A good buddy of mine had a mint AE86 and he was kind enough to loan to me for a few days while my car was in service. While it looked super cool driving experience left much to be desired: 80's era flexy chassis, very modest power, old school live axle suspension etc. I agree with others that these are 10k cars...

Now about Escorts, this MK1 is a special one: https://retropower.co.uk/2019/02/05/gordon-murrays-mk1-escort/

Watch the YouTube series on it, they recently posted a driving video and it's simply sublime!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/8/21 11:38 a.m.

Also, BITD, Super Street's former AE86 project car lived with us for a bit. 

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/8/21 12:16 p.m.
j_tso said:

In reply to SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) :

But if everyone else didn't cut up their AE86 they wouldn't be so valuable.

So, in essence, we're helping the industry out, by culling the herd.

You can thank me later (grin).

docwyte
docwyte PowerDork
5/8/21 5:35 p.m.

That's WAY too much money for a car that's really not that nice.  There is some weirdness happening on BaT.  A dealer bought a 93 Corrado on BaT for a bunch of money, tried to sell it for $29k for 18 months, ended up selling it to another dealer for $10, who sold it to a private individual.  He ended up selling it on BaT a year later and the *original* dealer bought it back for $18,500.

thashane
thashane GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/8/21 7:51 p.m.

#drift-tax. I remember when these were $5k in the 2000s and I couldn't afford one then, so I bought a TE72. Now the TE72s are going for $5-10k. If anyone's interested in an 82' TE72 wagon with 5spd, and 300k+ miles, ran when rescued from the scrap yard, and has been rotting in my mom's front yard for the last 15 years, I'd entertain bids starting at $25k. Which is really my loss as it'll obviously continue to increase in value.

Invest in C5s and other Corvettes as the drift culture realizes they are RWD and already "LS' swapped".

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/8/21 8:38 p.m.

In reply to thashane :

Tsuchiya drove a C5 and said it was E36 M3, so that will probably never happen...

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
5/9/21 8:07 a.m.
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) said:
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

I cut one up to build a Locost.

As did I.

As the AE86 climbs in value, I wonder if it wouldn't have been smarter to invest in it, instead of build the 7.

But.... to get the 86 I cut up, into the condition that it would need to be to be worth what my Locost is worth now, would cost as much as I spent to build the Locost, so it's a wash.

Until next year and the years after, as the AE86 begins to go stratospheric in value, and I eventually regret cutting one up.

Having driven both, the 7 is infinitely more fun.

At some point old cars are just old cars. In the moment few people consider that they're going to be collectible.

If I had all the 55/57 Chevs that me and my Dad cut up, scrapped or built race cars from I'd be a wealthy man right now

thashane
thashane GRM+ Memberand New Reader
5/9/21 9:00 a.m.

In reply to Pete. (l33t FS) :

Well the HOONIGAN bois bought a C5, and Falken has a drift vette, so I think they'll climb too.

purplepeopleeater
purplepeopleeater Reader
5/9/21 10:08 a.m.

In reply to spacecadet (Forum Supporter) :

Any auction. I was at a farm auction recently where two guys bid up a half-used 55-gallon drum of oil to more than it would cost to have a new one delivered.

 

Rodan
Rodan Dork
5/9/21 10:12 a.m.

Most 'car booms' are about recapturing the dreams of youth.  In the early 2000s it was the Baby Boomers buying their dream cars from the 50-60s, and muscle car/classic prices soared.  Now we're seeing the same with imports from the late 70s to the 90s as the Xers with $$ to spend hit that mid-life, and try to regain their youth by spending money.

Add inflation, and here we are... 

oldeskewltoy
oldeskewltoy UberDork
5/9/21 3:22 p.m.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
5/9/21 8:36 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to thashane :

Tsuchiya drove a C5 and said it was E36 M3, so that will probably never happen...

If it had the stock tire stagger drifters are going to hate that. Just going square is going to make them a lot happier.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/11/21 9:52 a.m.

In reply to docwyte :

I agree about the AE86 price. If that was a perfect, mint copy, okay, I can see it. What's a perfect Type R bringing these days? But it wasn't even a very good example....

Here's another AE86 that brought in (an also impressive) $24,500 in 2019.

Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/11/21 10:02 a.m.
Mr. Peabody said:
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) said:
Woody (Forum Supportum) said:

I cut one up to build a Locost.

As did I.

As the AE86 climbs in value, I wonder if it wouldn't have been smarter to invest in it, instead of build the 7.

But.... to get the 86 I cut up, into the condition that it would need to be to be worth what my Locost is worth now, would cost as much as I spent to build the Locost, so it's a wash.

Until next year and the years after, as the AE86 begins to go stratospheric in value, and I eventually regret cutting one up.

Having driven both, the 7 is infinitely more fun.

At some point old cars are just old cars. In the moment few people consider that they're going to be collectible.

If I had all the 55/57 Chevs that me and my Dad cut up, scrapped or built race cars from I'd be a wealthy man right now

I remember going to local stock car races back in the late 60s to early 70s where there were entire fields of  '55 to '57 Chevys. Those poor things got beat to death. They were light for the time and had Chevy V8s. Perfect for racing. Who thought they would ever be valuable. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/11/21 10:35 a.m.
GCrites80s said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

In reply to thashane :

Tsuchiya drove a C5 and said it was E36 M3, so that will probably never happen...

If it had the stock tire stagger drifters are going to hate that. Just going square is going to make them a lot happier.

He also refused to turn stability control off smiley

 

My understanding of "US style" drift is that the cars are set up for heavy UNDERsteer, and they control drift angle not with weight transfer but horsepower and handbrake.

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
5/11/21 1:35 p.m.

Every classic mania/myth is usually propped up by a large force of grift.  I would bet good money that no real money changed hands in this "sale."

On another note, I worked on these things once in a while, way back when I worked on cars for money, right alongside the MKIII Supra (also known as Celica), while people were still driving them in the 1990s.  Nobody wanted them, ever.  They were completely undesirable, aside from being cheap.  What changed?

When the market membership decides that features like a manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are exotic, amazing, and unique, regardless of 100-plus years of automotive manufacturing reality, there is no adding to the logic pool.  

In reply to rustomatic :

I bought my first in the mid-90's, and came to love it enough I always owned at least one and as many as three at a time until I sold my last one last year, so I wouldn't say nobody wanted them in the 90's.

In the 90's the AE86 was beloved by both Puerto Rican and Irish car enthusiasts and many of them were built and cherished as rally cars, drag cars, and show cars/cruisers.

At the time, if you were an American on a tight budget looking for an affordable lightweight RWD car for amateur motor sports fun, the AE86 provided a very reasonable alternative to an Alfa Romeo, Datsun 510, Porsche 924, RX-7, English Ford Escort/Cortina, Miata, or Fiat twincam. It was cheaper and more readily available, with a similar driving experience and good aftermarket support. In college and shortly thereafter, I used mine for daily driving, autocross, track days, rally cross, TSD rally, and backroads hooning with only a change of tires.

What happened? Well, drifting and Japanese-influenced car culture became popular, and Initial D became popular, and the cars got older while being beaten-on, raced, drifted, and crashed. Lots of people these days love to try and shove all AE86 enthusiasts into a drift/tofu-delivery inspired box, which might be true for the majority, but there was a time when it was enjoyed by a small group of cheapskate car enthusiasts...ah...those were the days! 

Justjim75
Justjim75 SuperDork
5/11/21 8:10 p.m.

Value of that car only matters to the new owner 

j_tso
j_tso GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/11/21 8:24 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

My understanding of "US style" drift is that the cars are set up for heavy UNDERsteer, and they control drift angle not with weight transfer but horsepower and handbrake.

Back when drifting was still SR20 swaps in the majority I watched a US vs Japan Hot Version video where Tsuchiya and co. came to California. The American tuners said they set up their cars with toe out, that freaked the Japanese out. They were all "that's dangerous, don't do that!"

kevlarcorolla
kevlarcorolla Dork
5/12/21 5:50 a.m.

I plasma cut the mint body away after building a cage inside it and making all the moulds to replace in 100% composite.

 Didn't think twice about it :)

trucke
trucke SuperDork
5/12/21 6:52 a.m.

For $40k, it must have included a full tank of gas!

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/12/21 1:08 p.m.
trucke said:

For $40k, it must have included a full tank of gas!

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
5/12/21 6:04 p.m.

In reply to ae86andkp61 (Forum Supporter) :

That's an excellent explanation!  I've always loved the 510.  I'm a box guy.  You're an angle person.  That's cool, as was Initial D.

Mr. Peabody
Mr. Peabody UltimaDork
5/12/21 6:10 p.m.
trucke said:

For $40k, it must have included a full tank of gas!

And a sheet of plywood in the hatch

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
5/12/21 8:09 p.m.

I mean is this any crazier then a classic Mustang, Camaro or other muscle car selling for the same or more? 

350z247
350z247 Reader
5/12/21 9:16 p.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic :

In a word, yes. That's like asking why a 240Z sells for more than a Fox Body.

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
5/12/21 9:59 p.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

I don't see why. There are probably more classic Mustang or Camaros running around then AE86s. 

My point is that people buy what they want performance be damned when it comes to classic cars. I mean personally I would rather have an AE86 then a classic muscle car at the same money. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) MegaDork
5/12/21 10:11 p.m.
93EXCivic said:

I mean is this any crazier then a classic Mustang, Camaro or other muscle car selling for the same or more? 

I wonder how many people who say it's a slow flimsy POS have ever driven a '64-66 Mustang.   Most had inline sixes, but even the 289 Hi-Po was not all that enticing compared to most newer cars.  (Yeah, 271hp, but that was 60s marketing horsepower, kind of like vacuum cleaner horsepower) And the chassis were pretty crap, both handling wise and structurally.

 

And interior room!  Gotta sit in the then-traditional Ford seating arrangement of knees up and steering wheel in your lap.  If you are tall, you learn exactly once to get your left leg down when you shut the door, lest you spear the side of your knee with the turn signal stalk.

xjapan30
xjapan30 New Reader
5/25/21 12:03 a.m.

xjapan30
xjapan30 New Reader
5/25/21 12:05 a.m.

Oh I have one of these clean clean one in the garage that i forgot about.  Original paint and mint interior with 140K

Our Preferred Partners
lUTNpbsTbILvn5eatDMjne579f6ZDEf4uoQvA1yXxMMa0d1IfMeZ1L5D2wekt4pv