Batteries and hydrogen power this lovely Toyota AE86 factory restoration

To enlarge / Left, AE86 BEV Concept; on the right, the AE86 H2 Concept.


I don’t know about you, but I love a good restomod. Restomodding is the practice of taking a classic car and restoring it while also modernizing it. In the past this meant housing modern AMG powertrains in classic Mercedes-Benz Gullwing bodies, but these days my focus is more on electric conversions.

Unfortunately, the costs involved are still expensive for most of us, but that’s less true if you’re a car company like Ford, General Motors or Jaguar. Or in today’s case, Toyota, which surprised and delighted this year’s Tokyo Auto Show with a pair of restyled AE86 coupes. Primary D.

According to Toyota, the idea behind the project was to increase the prospects of carbon-neutrality “to protect beloved cars”. The company says it works with aftermarket suppliers to rejuvenate older stock and use recycled materials where possible.

AE86 BEV Concept

One pair will probably make more sense to you than the other. Using the body of the Toyota Corolla Levin, the open-headlight car replaces the donor car’s engine with the electric motor found in the new hybrid Toyota Tundra pickup – presumably with a slight increase in that motor’s 48 hp (36 kW). , although the company is pretty tight-lipped about the details.

The battery pack is donated by the Prius plug-in hybrid. The small 8.8 kWh battery will limit the car’s practical range, but you’ll probably have fun driving it. Toyota has kept the AE86 transmission – a practice common with less powerful EV sedans – and the company says that combined with the “robust propulsion characteristics of a battery electric vehicle” you’ll “get a car that delivers even greater driving pleasure than the original.”

AE86 H2 Concept

Even more interesting is the second restomod. Based on the body of the pop-up Sprinter Trueno, this headlight is called the AE86 H2 concept and it runs on hydrogen. And like the recent one-off race car promoted by Toyota president Akio Toyoda, the AE86 H2 Concept uses fuel in an internal combustion engine rather than a fuel cell.

Under the hood, it retains the original 1.6 L, four-cylinder 4A-GE engine and transmission, but lift the rear hatch and you’ll find a pair of hydrogen tanks from the Toyota Mirai fuel cell EV. If you look closely at the engine bay, you may discover some new fuel injectors and spark plugs for the fuel change.

Burning hydrogen in an internal combustion engine isn’t particularly efficient and doesn’t produce much power compared to using gasoline, so the AE86 H2 Concept may offer lower performance than the original. Toyota said the aim of the concept was to develop “a car that can be driven while enjoying the sound and vibration appeal of an internal combustion engine”.

It’s highly unlikely that any of these concepts will see production plans, and I doubt we’ll get a third-party restomod with a hydrogen combustion engine. But it would be nice to see an increasing number of EV restomods from the import tuner scene in the coming years.

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