When you think of Toyota vehicles in the 1980s, the most popular models always come to mind: the AE86 Corolla, Celica Supra, MR-2 and Starlet. The Corona GT coupe usually doesn’t, but maybe that’s just because it was one of Toyota’s most underrated cars at the time.
John’s Kaido Racing-Inspired and drift built, this 1983 Toyota Corona GT Coupe Hardtop has to be one of the best survivors out there.
Even in Japan, few cars spark conversation like this. Many people stopped specifically to ask questions about corona, usually starting with: ‘what is it? ‘. John answered best when he said “Imagine the AE86, slightly stretched, with an independent rear end”.
With 4A-GE powering the rear wheels, John’s GT does feel like a fully functional car Eighty-six. It shares the same drivetrain with a T50 5-speed gearbox and short 4.556 final drives.
From 1957 to 2001, the Corona was a vital part of Toyota’s vehicle lineup, spawning countless variants, models and generations. The ’83 model was one of the early ‘T14’ cars, offered in Japan as a sedan, wagon and coupe, with diesel and petrol engine options. John’s Corona GT can be considered one of the more advanced versions.
After parking the car in the center of Yokohama, passers-by approached us several times. Some people said they saw the AT141 Corona on YouTube, While others are just curious. One older gentleman even pauses to reminisce about his straight-edged ’80s silhouette.
Despite regularly participating in grassroots drift events – including Sportsland Yamanashi’s SLY Summit – John has spared no expense in keeping his car in perfect condition.
After a few years of ownership, he took the Corona to a well-regarded local body shop where it had the rust removed and several select aftermarket body parts installed, namely a Restored JP fiberglass hood with hidden pins and a Mirrors on TOM’s aero kit. In the end, the car was painted red-gray, replacing the original blue.
The SSR MKIII wheels – measuring 14×10 inches at all four corners (Type B front and Type A rear) and fitted with stretched 185/55 tires – complete the look.
As with many purpose-built drift cars, there is much more than meets the eye. John modified the entire underside of the Corona, including raising the front cross member, gearbox and rear differential carrier by 25mm. The frame rails were also cut and raised an inch. These tiny adjustments ensure plenty of clearance even on the most challenging roads.
One of my favorite aspects of the build is the length of John on the inside. Like many of us, John found himself with a lot of free time throughout 2020, which sent him down a slippery slope to fully refinish many of the Corona’s interior surfaces in burgundy Chinchilla fabric.
Additionally, a digital instrument cluster from the Canadian-delivered Celica Supra has been fitted to the Celica XX dashboard and center console combo. TRD bucket seats, Omori gauges, Pioneer cassette recorders, and TS-X60 parcel shelf box speakers are the perfect touches of the times.
To me, John’s Corona GT is the perfect example of flawless execution Kaido Racing-style drift car. This period of Toyota saw some of the most exciting driver’s cars, and it’s always great to see examples like this still popular today.
1983 Toyota Corona GT Hardtop Coupe
engine: Factory installed 4A-GE 1.6L DOHC 16 valve, A’PEXi intake, Martelius R1 exhaust manifold, Jast.On custom stainless steel exhaust, ANSA muffler, Koyorad AE86 radiator, Koyorad oil cooling device
Motion transfer system: Factory T50 5-Speed Transmission, TechnoToyTuning AE86 Short Shifter, TRD Limited Slip Differential w/ 4.556 Final Drives
pause: Izanami front shock w/curved plate, Izanami SP01 dual-rate rear spring, Izanami short rear bumper, 30mm extended lower arm and Make Hirota custom steering knuckle, urethane bushings, Whiteline adjustable rear sway bar, Cusco Ball Tie Rods, Cusco Front Tower Jast.On, Rudeboy Custom Raised Diff Mounts, Front Transom and Transmission Components Raised 25mm, Frame Rails Cut and Raised 25mm
Wheels/Tires: SSR MKIII Wheels, 14×10” B-Type Front, 14×10” A-Type Rear, 185/55R14 Yokohama S.Drive Front/Rear Tires
External: Body and custom paint by Okada Jidōsha Bankin, RestoredJP fiberglass hood with custom hidden hood pins, TOM’S door mirrors, Acura MDX Red Rock/Porsche Cayenne Quartzite Gray paint
Internal: Celica XX dashboard, center console and passenger seat, Canadian spec Celica Supra digital instrument panel, Burgundy chinchilla fabric interior, vintage TRD bucket seats, Omori Meter single DIN gauge, Pioneer KPX-777 with retrofit Bluetooth Cassette recorder head unit, Pioneer TS-X60 cabinet speaker, Pioneer RD-160 power level indicator
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