The Toyota 86 debuted 25 years after its predecessor, the AE86, and kept the lightweight RWD experience intact– despite being designed in a world where entry-level sports cars are becoming niché vehicles. But will the next generation, another 25 years away, be able to stick to the formula?
Alternative fuel vehicles ought to be the norm by 2040 and relatively cheap, sporty vehicles like the 86 an impossible exercise in economics and emission standards. So let’s discuss its future classic status–say you discover a preserved 86 that’s been locked away in a garage for the past couple decades. The 200-HP FA20 would be relatively simple being a naturally aspirated motor. Like many classic JDM legends, the aftermarket will save us by producing (expensive) replacements once Toyota spares become exceedingly rare.
Perhaps the harder aspect to deal with would be its ECU–our “modern” electronics could easily be the equivalent of carburetors for the next generation of tinkerers. Would we be able to interface primitive wires and code using the computers of tomorrow? Its lively six-speed manual would be “wasteful” in comparison to CVTs–which would probably be AI-controlled by then. It’s limited slip differential-equipped RWD drivetrain becoming forbidden tech when everything is more economical (and boring) FWD. Performance tranny specialists would no doubt be in demand in the future, limited as they already are today.
A Prius–with all those batteries– weighs in at 3000 pounds, the 86 is 2700 pounds. If you bust any body panels, we’re hoping that bespoke carbon fiber production would by then become mainstream enough to be available at your local body shop. Both hybrids and sports cars benefit from lightness of being after all. For all the other obscure parts that always break on older cars, there is one saving grace: the 86 is not exactly limited production.
While it pains us to think about it, many examples in poor condition will inevitably be chopped up to keep their brethren running. Overall, we predict that restoring an 86 isn’t impossible, but it won’t be easy either. We believe in a simpler solution: get yours today and drive it into 2040.