Toyota’s sports car legacy has been a story of constant evolution and passion for driving. In this narrative of two-seater rear-wheel drive machines, the Toyota GR Hachi-Roku stands as the culmination of decades of engineering, design and commitment to the driving experience.
Although visually inspired by the GT86, the GR 86 pays homage to a history that dates back to the ’60s. Let’s explore how each iteration of this lineage has left its unique mark on automotive culture.
Sports 800 Yota-Hachi (1965–1969). The precursor
The starting point of this journey begins in the Toyota 8, also called “Sports 800”, affectionately nicknamed Yota-Hachi. with his 790 cc boxer engine Mounted in the rear, it challenged the norm by bringing the excitement of racing to the road.
Its light and agile body, forged from thin-gauge steel and aluminum, was a testament to Toyota’s commitment to weight reduction and agility. This vehicle not only brought Toyota into the world of high-level racing, but also secured a memorable podium at the 24 Hours of Fuji in 1967. We can say that the Sports 800 laid the foundation for the passion for driving that continues to be a fundamental pillar in Toyota sports cars to this day.
Toyota 2000GT (1967-1970). The supercar era
The 2000GT was considered the first Japanese supercar and marked a new level of ambition for Toyota. His collaboration with Yamaha Motor Co. led to the creation of a car that not only transcended the roads, but also the big screen in the James Bond film, We only live Twice.
Equipped with a motor 6 cylinders in line and rear wheel drive, the 2000GT had a 2-liter engine, 150 HP and 175 Nm at 6,500 rpm. Engine and model that left a lasting signature in the world of street and track sports cars, with motorsport victories and speed records. In its case it inspired the fine performance mentality that drives the GR86 today.
AE86 (1983-1987). Drift and anime legend
Hachi Roku: legend. He remains a revered figure in the JDM sports car community. With its 1.6-liter engine and rear-wheel drive, it embodied the essence of pure driving fun.
From street racing to the competition track, the AE86 became a preferred choice for its agility and response. His presence in popular cultureincluding the “Initial D” anime and manga series, highlights its lasting influence on car culture and the passion for driving.
GT86 (2012-2021). Rewriting a chapter
The GT86 revitalized Toyota’s sporting philosophy by making a strong return to the affordable sports car scene. With a compact, lightweight design and a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder boxer engine that it shares with the Subaru BRZ. 200 hp at 7,000 rpm and 205 Nm of torque between 6,400 and 6,660 rpm.
It could be linked to a manual or an automatic transmission, both with six speeds and the first being the most fun option. Through competition victories and immersive driving dynamics, the GT86 showed that the world of sports cars could be redefined. without the need for excesses.
GR 86 (2022-2024). next generation
This legacy culminates with the Toyota GR 86, a vehicle that captures the spirit of its predecessors while embracing modern technology and performance demands. Inspired by racing experience, the GR 86 features a re-engineered coupe body for aerodynamic efficiency and exceptional handling.
To be very frank: it is a car for purists. A car that we have been lucky enough to test for a week and that, personally, I add to my TOP of vehicles tested for a year. And the thing is: how can we not want more cars like that, how can we not want a compact and light sports car with 2.4 boxer engine with 234 HP, 250 Nm of torque at 3,700 rpm. Direct and indirect injection with D-4S technology, developed by Toyota and Subaru.
And no less important, a car that gains horsepower due to a weight reduction due to the aluminum components that adjust the scale at 1,339 kg but that also help to lower and distribute the center of gravity.
From those bold beginnings of the Sports 800 to the sophistication of the GT86, each model has left a unique mark on automotive culture. The GR 86 has everything you could ask for in a very good car: a fine engine configuration, a robust architecture and a power-to-weight ratio that is what you should look for if you are a driving purist.
This car is for a textbook petrolhead who when he wants to hurry has it and when he wants to go he has it. No sugar, no ice, no milk… Coffee for coffee lovers. Come see the test and comparison we did on the channel, I’m sure you’ll like it.