Driftworks Toyota AE86 front 3/4 view

Driftworks LS3-powered Toyota AE86 is Hachi Loco

Driftworks Toyota AE86 front 3/4 view

If the 1932 Ford is the archetypal hot rod, then the Toyota AE86 platform coupes and hatchbacks are the archetypal drift cars. These small, light, rear-drive runabouts were pretty much born to negotiate corners sideways, even if Toyota never expressly said they were. And because the AE86 family is so coveted by the drifting set, values of these unmistakably-‘80s econo-sports cars have risen drastically in the dozen-or-so years.

However, just because these rides command a pretty penny doesn’t mean they’re being restored to concours-quality factory original condition. No, they’re often fixed up to expand their proclivity toward oversteer. And rare is the hopped-up Hachi-Roku that’s more tail-happy than this orange beast from Driftworks.

Driftworks Toyota AE86 rear 3/4 view

If the name Driftworks looks familiar, that’s because it’s the same British shop that journeyed to Japan to experience drifting culture in its homeland. And that journey was the subject of a feature-length documentary. But while Phil and his mates love them some JDM hardware, they aren’t afraid to mix-and-match across international borders…or oceans. Witness the powerplant they chose for the AE86 hatch they’ve dubbed the DW86: It’s not some boosted-to-Jupiter Toyota 4AGE four-banger, or any other Toyota mill, or even Japanese. No, it’s one of GM’s thumping 6.2L LS3 V8s, an Otto cycle collection of components that’s as American as Uncle Si eating a stick of deep-fried butter while wearing a Snuggie woven from George Washington’s back hair.

Power? Um, yeah…a claimed 585 horsepower and 610 lb.-ft of torque, to be exact, and it’s sent rearward to a Jerico 4-speed manual transmission with straight-cut gears (basically the same gearbox you’d find under a top-level NASCAR machine). The immense wheels and tires (which are just barely contained by the custom fender flares) and Driftworks’ own suspension bits will put the power down…to a point.

Driftworks Toyota AE86 action shot

Of course, when you’re talking about a chassis and drivetrain this serious, it’s only logical that the interior is serious as well. Every item not related to safety or functionality has been deep-sixed, leaving a mostly-orange echo chamber whose highlights are basically limited to a pair of custom-embroidered racing bucket seats and a T45 rollcage from Nickson Motorsport. But that’s okay, because the DW86 tips the scales at less-than 3,100 lbs.

Is this car over-the-top? Well, if you look at it as a means of transportation, then abso-flippin’-loutely. But getting from A to B isn’t this monster’s prime objective; it’s taking corners at such sick angles that you spend at least as much time looking out the side windows as you do the windshield. Seen in that light, it suddenly seems like the kind of drift car that fairytale-dom’s favorite she-burglar would rock.

Source: Driftworks

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