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radical zero: Toyota AE86

Visual Lessons

After Hyundai, not exactly famous for design masterpieces in the past, launched a whole series of restomod concepts with alternative powertrains, Toyota now seems to want to follow a similar path. But while the Koreans have reinterpreted the design of, say, the Pony, the Japanese are leaving the shape of their iconic AE86 (we’ve already told the beautiful story, here) in the original. And in return they do some advertising for their hydrogen drive as well as for the pure electrics.

Particularly exciting: the H2 Concept. The name gives it away: Hydrogen. However, unlike in the current Toyota Mirai, a fuel cell is not used that converts the hydrogen into electricity and thus powers an electric motor. In the H2 Concept, Toyota uses hydrogen directly as fuel – no major adjustments are necessary for this, the Japanese claim, different injection nozzles, special fuel lines, new spark plugs. The “problem”, however, can be seen in the boot: it is completely filled by two high-pressure tanks from the Mirai.

Visually, the purely electric version of the AE86 is hardly changed. The (small) battery comes from a Prius, the electric motor from a Tundra, other electric components from Lexus. Interesting: The manual 5-speed gearbox of the original AE86 is still used.

Sure, just finger exercises. And many a youngtimer enthusiast will now be foaming at the mouth, the rear-wheel-drive Toyota sold in Europe as the Corolla GTI have become rare – and expensive. But the Japanese see the two alternatively powered icons as an object lesson in what is technically possible (with relatively little effort).

We have more interesting youngtimers in our archive.

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