Did you ever wonder, how many AE86 (and AE85) have been, where they have been and when they have been produced? Especially if you own your very own AE86 or AE85? Well, then look no further. Juicebox for you have had covered it extently in one of their videos. So check that out, if you wish. I will also use my cars chassis frame number to decipher some information about its production process.1
The numbers in the video above come from two origins and differ from each other. However, the numbers from a Toyota service software will be used as basis of this “investigation”. In a later video, the Juicebox crew made a small amendment coming to the same conclusion. I will, just as Neil did in the video, try to specify the production time down to the day of the week. However, not much is known from my side how the production sites handled the production of the individual orders. The data table only lists the last cars leaving the facilities of each month. I don’t know how many cars were built in a day and if the vehicles were built 24/7 or not. Therefore I will neglect any holidays and treat the information as if the factories had run continuously throughout the month 24/7 (just like in the video). With these assumptions, we can decipher my cars codes and check it out.
Let’s first look at the model code printed on the plate inside the engine bay. My car’s model code is E-AE86-FCMVF. Your’s may look different. All these letters have meanings which are explained in various rescources. I will use a Japanese magazine I bought back then, as the information on there is most relevant to my JDM car. In addition to that you can also find the color and trim codes of the car. My car has the color code 2T7 and the trim code GX21. The chassis frame number is also printed on that plate as well as further left on the frame where the plate is fixed on. The chassis frame number either starts with an AE86-0… or AE86-5…. And this number can be used to determine various things about the car. Let’s dive in.
The Model Code
This code gives a great deal of information about the car. If the information in this code differs from the car itself, than either the car has been modified or the plate has been replaced. That code is also the source of the stupid AE86 and AE88 discussions over at the states. After reading this article, those folks may find the (only correct) answer or conclusion to that discussion. As a short summary, the GTS models in the US have an AE88 in the model number or VIN. This lead to the ongoing discussion, that those cars are no AE86 but indeed an AE88. Those GTS’ however have an AE86 in their frame numbers and model codes. The SR models in the States have an AE86 in both VIN and model numbers. The confusion is big. But the answer lies in the Model code or the short chassis frame numbers.
Let’s look at the model number of my car instead (please note, that this plate and the model code can differ for different countries and markets).2
The model code can be as long as 12 alpha-numerical characters. Each position has its own meaning:
- Position 1: emission laws
- This will most certainly be an E which conforms with the 1978 Japan emission laws.
- Position 2: engine family notation
- The A stands for the A engine which the cars were offered in. Some of the engines used in the Corolla/Sprinter were 3A-U (AE85), 4A-C (SR-5 AE86), 4A-GE (w/o catalytic converter for e.g. Germany), 4A-GEU (w/ catalytic converter; all Japanese models have had a CAT while some markets like Germany had them optional) and 4A-GEC (GT-S models with C standing for California as that sales region had the strictest emission laws). This is also the reason, why the US had an AE88 designation in the VIN, as the AE88 stands for cars with a 4A-GEC engine in the North American market.3 4
- Position 3: model series
- E stands for Corolla/Sprinter/Levin.
- Position 4: generation of the series
- The AE85 and AE86 are the 8th generation of the Corolla/Sprinter/Levin series.
- Position 5: variation within the generation and series
- The AE85 is the fifth variation while the AE86 is the sixth variation.
- Position 6: steering wheel position
- Some cars may have a position six defined. This would either be L (left hand drive) and R (right hand drive).
- Position 7: Levin/Sprinter
- This letter specifies if it is either an F (Sprinter Trueno) or E (Corolla Levin).
- Position 8: number of doors
- For the AE85 and AE86 only two letter were possible: C (3 door coupé or hatchback) and S (2 door coupé).
- Position 9: transmission type
- M (5 speed manual) and P (4 speed automatic).
- Position 10: grade
- This part is interesting as it shows the grade of the vehicle. The possible values are: E (SE), N (XL), Q (GT or GTV), V (GT-Apex) and X (SR)
- Position 11: engine variants
- There are three possible values for this number, being: S (carburettor or Diesel), E (EFI) and F (EFI DOHC)
- Position 12: women-friendly extras
- The last position only exists for a specific range of cars, where (L) stands for “lady” and
most likelyonly been offered for the Sprinter Trueno Lisse and Corolla Levin Lime models. Basically these models had a 3A-U engine, automatic transmission and other interior and exterior changes aimed for the female audience. One of the models were the only ones with chrome window trim.2
Thus, the model code of my car’s plate fits according to this information, as mine is a AE86 3 door Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex with a 4A-GEU engine, a 5 speed manual and a DOHC EFI system.
I don’t have a lot of knowledge about the model code either and may need to investigate more and make a separate post about this code in the future.
Color and Trim Codes
The color code for my AE86 is 2T7 which is a white over black panda color scheme using 041 paint code for the white parts. I don’t know much about the trim code definitions though. My car has the code GX21 where the third position shows the interior color. The fourth position indicates whether a car is a pre-facelift (Zenki) or facelift (Kouki) model. The positions one and two are unknown to me. If you know more about this, feel free to send me a message on the socials.5 6
Update: A friend of mine has sent me information about his cars. He owns a Kouki 2 door coupé with the Trim code GT21. Thus, GX would stand for GT-Apex and GT for GT/GTV grade cars. Would like to know the other grades Trim codes.
The interior color codes known to me are as follows:
|3||Deep Maroon (brown/tan)|
The Zenki models had a range of possible interior colors to choose from. The Kouki models however were delivered only in grey and thus number 2 for the third position. Bare in mind, the Zenki cars had actually more interior styles like Beige. So the table above is not conclusive and more data is needed. You can help me out by getting in touch with me through my socials or the comments section below.
The fourth number is 2 for Zenki and 1 for Kouki.
Chassis Frame Code
The chassis frame number for AE85 and AE86 begin with these four characters followed by a hyphen and a number. The beginning of that number also shows us in which plant the vehicle was assembled in. If the number begins with a zero, than the car was built in one of the halls of the Tahara plant complex in Aichi. The plate will show a code of A51 to A55 under “Plant”. Numbers beginning with a five were built in the Higashi Fuji plant in Shizuoka with the code M21 or M22.7
|Tahara Plant (A51-A55)||Higashi Fuji Plant (M21-M22)|
My car has the chassis frame number AE86-50745XX and was therefore built in the Higashi Fuji plant. For a more detailed look at the production numbers I would kindly refer you to my special page about the production plants and the total number of cars produced.
Plant M21 and M22 produced exclusively for the Japanese domestic market, while Plants A51-A55 produced for Japan and the rest of the world. Therefore, if you own an “AE88”, you would have to look for the chassis frame number. If it says AE86-0… then you have an AE86 as it was built as an AE86 in Tahara for regions where the 4A-GEC engine was intended.
Possible Day of Production
Now comes the fun part. The Toyota service software gives us information about the last chassis frame numbers leaving the factory for any given month and year. As my chassis frame number begins with a 5 we know which production numbers we have to check. The number 50745XX was produced in July 1986. That month had a total production of 1417 AE86. With the assumptions above, the factory rolled out around 45.7 cars a day and my car would have left the Higashi Fuji plant on Thursday, 1986/07/31.
If you are interested in finding out your Hachiroku’s birthday, please feel free to contact me with the chassis frame number and I can give you the day and such.
Juicebox for you, Toyota AE86 - How Many Did They Make? (And A Brief History) | Juicebox Unboxed #62. 2020-02-10. ↩︎