Aside from the debut of the Toyota GR Yaris at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, the Japanese carmaker also had another model on display called the 86 Black Limited Concept. Where the rally-inspired hot hatch is the spiritual descendant of the Celica GT-Four, the unique 86 looks to another famous model known as the AE86 Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex Black Limited.
To understand their affiliation, we need to understand what the AE86 Black Limited is all about. Back in the 1980s, the AE86 was an affordable, mass-produced sports car built on the E70 Corolla architecture with a front-engine/rear-drive layout, which many of you will identify as the panda-coloured tofu delivery vehicle in Initial D.
Production of the model started in 1983, and would come to an end in 1987. To mark the end of production, Toyota decided to built a batch of limited-edition units that it called the AE86 Black Limited. Only 400 examples were made, with all of them in Sprinter Trueno guise that featured pop-up headlamps unlike the Levin version. Additionally, all AE86 Black Limited cars were in GT-Apex specification, benefiting from luxuries such as power windows and air-conditioning as standard.
There were no mechanical changes to the AE86 Black Limited compared to a regular Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex, with the 4A-GE 1.6 litre Twin Cam 16-valve four-cylinder engine sending 120 PS and 149 Nm of torque to the rear wheels via five-speed manual.
What made the AE86 Black Limited unique is a variety of aesthetic enhancements starting with the Black Metallic Clearcoat exterior paint finish (colour code 204). This is unique to the model, as all 400 units have the colour code identifier on the VIN plate, so that’s how you spot a replica from the real deal. The body also received plenty of gold-coloured decals, including the words “Trueno” and “Black Limited” on the sides, while “Apex Twin Cam 16” and “Toyota Sprinter Trueno” were found at the rear.
Even the “Trueno” badge on the front grille was painted gold, as are the 14-inch “snowflake” wheels, the latter’s design also used for other Toyota models at the time like the Chaser and Cresta. Other unique exterior touches include a red reflector trim located above the taillights that has “Black Limited” printed on it.
Inside, the seats have the word “Apex” embroidered on them with gold stitching, while other areas of the car like the instrument cluster panel, centre stack, gear knob and various controls featured orange print or backlighting.
Shifting our attention to the modern day 86, which has been around since 2012, it’s likely that Toyota could look to create another batch of limited-edition cars to mark the end of the sports car’s production. Given that the company has announced plans to develop a next-generation 86 together with Subaru (again), the 86 concept might be a preview of a swansong model coming our way.
The 86 Black Limited Concept looks to be based on the existing GT Limited Black Package variant sold in Japan, but with a few special touches. First up, there’s a black metallic paintjob that isn’t listed in the available body colours on the company’s website, and the 17-inch aluminium multi-spoke wheels are finished in gold rather than black – these cover a set of Brembo brakes.
The interior is also largely the same, with just “86 Black Limited” stitched on the left side of the Alcantara-wrapped dashboard trim. In Japan, the 86 is powered by a FA20 2.0 litre four-cylinder boxer engine with 207 PS (with a six-speed manual) or 200 PS (with a six-speed automatic) and 205 Nm of torque.