Christchurch local Brad Whitlow is no stranger to owning Toyota AE85/6s; however, his last one, which was used as a daily-driver, was written off back in 2014. Having a young family at the time, other things took priority, and the thought of buying another was sidelined.
That was, at least, until he rode shotgun in Thomas Gordon’s KE70 and took Callum Gooding’s AE85 Trueno for a squirt at one of the local drift days — they wouldn’t let him not get back into owning an old Corolla.
“I sold up what I could and found this 1986 AE86 Levin up in the Waikato and was silly enough to buy it unseen. It was full of rust and missing a lot of the good Kouki bits,” explained Brad. “So, since then, it’s been a Thursdaynight ritual of working on it with mates.” The 16-valve heart was replaced with a blacktop 4A-GE, which Brad tells us he’ll be giving a major tidying up at some stage. However, those rust repairs are taking priority for now. A manual steering-rack swap has already been completed, along with short shocks and springs, T3 rear-control arms, alloy trumpets fitted to the ITBs, a TRD shortshifter, and a Mike Shaw fibreglass Kouki front bumper and lip. Before it sees any road time, the engine bay will be semi de-loomed then corrected, smoothed, and painted in gloss grey. Good friend Robbie at JB Fabrication will whip up a new exhaust; the body will receive a fresh lick of red, with the bumpers blacked out; and better suspension will be fitted. “This crappy Corolla is my dream, and I look forward to finally taking it for drives with my wife and kids … thanks to all the friends that have lent a hand and/or distracted me; and those who have donated parts; and, of course, my wife for understanding!