Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86
Written by Steven Loung | Photography by Kevin Choi

Known around automotive circles as the AE86, the 1986 Toyota Corolla has become legendary among tuners and is something of a symbol of the Japanese drift scene, mainly because of the popularity it gained from being a prominently featured car in the Initial D comic/anime/video game series. Brothers Walter, Billy and Miguel each have one of their own, and every car features an individual style and passion. Walter’s design approach was to keep the classic look while making small enhancements to it. Billy’s is wild with a raw power to match, and Miguel’s is sleek with careful and deliberate design and modification choices. All three vehicles were modded at NTO motorsports, an auto shop that the brothers run in their hometown of Beltsville, Maryland.

Located about 28 miles southwest of Baltimore, Beltsville is an unlikely hotbed for classic Toyotas, but thanks to the Escotos and their shop, they’ve transformed the sleepy town into a hub of activity for lovers of the Japanese marquee. NTO Motorsports is a Toyota specialty shop, so the brothers have seen their fair share of AE86s and other classic Toyotas come through. Between the three of them, they’ve owned and modded dozens of Toyotas just in their spare time. So if you’re ever in the area and you have even a passing interest in Toyotas, be sure to give them a shout. Their passion and knowledge for the brand is almost unparalleled in the United States, and just for showing up you'll almost surely be treated to the sight of some very cool cars.

Paladin (Silver AE86):

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

Walter Escoto's AE86 has the most classic look and feel, and every modification done was made to enhance what the AE86 already brings to the table. Beginning with the exterior, it doesn't appear that drastic additions were made to the body, but a closer look shows a new Vertex front and rear bumper, RunFree side skirts and CBY wheel flares. Even the paint job doesn't really scream out at you. Silver usually stands out quite a bit, but instead the car almost looks white. The shade actually glows in the sun, it's like the car is radiating an aura of some kind. Coupled with the subtle body enhancements, Walter's AE86 reminds us of a paladin, or a holy knight ready for battle. As for other modifications, the wheels standing out from the flares are 17-inch LM5s from Complete Custom Wheels wrapped around Yokohama S.drive tires.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

Sending power to these wheels is a 4.0-liter 1UZ-FE that came from a 1992 Lexus LS 400. It is outfitted with an HKS GT2835R twin turbo, an Aeromotive fuel press regulator, twin Tial 50 mm blow-off valves, a Walbro fuel pump and a Godspeed intercooler, all of which amounts to 370 horsepower. With all this power beneath the hood, the car is kept stable with QA1 coil-overs and springs, a Cusco front strut bar and tension rods, an aluminum four link and camber plates from T3.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

The interior is kept bare bones, but features custom door and rear panels in addition to Sparco Sprint seats and a Nardi racing wheel.Walter’s AE86 looks like it’s simple, but a closer look by anyone who knows shows its true beauty.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

This is a good lesson to aspiring do-it-yourselfers, because it’s an excellent example that you can have a fantastic result without going too flashy.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

ESSENTIALS
Model: 1986 Toyota Corolla (AE86) 
Built by: Walter Escoto
Location: Beltsville, MD
Engine: 4.0L 1UZ-FE
Horsepower: 370 hp

Engine Modifications
HKS GT2835R twin turbocharged
Aeromotive fuel press regulator
Walbro fuel pump
Toyota ignition wires

Exhaust
NTO Motorsports custom (turbo manifolds, down pipe, aluminum exhaust)

Chassis / Suspension
QA1 (coil-overs, springs)
Cusco front strut bar
T3 (tension rods, aluminum four link, panhard bar, camber plates, tie rods)

Wheels / Tires / Brakes
Complete Custom Wheels LM5 – 17x18.5 (f), 17x10.5 (r)
Yokohama S.drive tires – 215/40 R17 (f), 245/40 R17 (r)
Aerospace Components (four-piston calipers (f/r)
2-pc. drilled rotors (f/r)
Custom braided brake lines

Exterior
Vertex (front and rear bumper)
RunFree side skirts
CBY wheel flares
JDM (Levin headlights, Redline tail lights)

Interior
Nardi steering wheel
Sparco sprint seats

Wildfire (Orange AE86):

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

Billy’s AE86 can be best described as a wildfire, not just for its exotic orange paint, but also because of its whopping 542 horsepower. This is a vehicle that can really burn up the streets.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

The stock engine has been swapped with the legendary 2JZ-GTE and a PT6776 ball bearing Precision turbocharger to give the car even more power. A Ross Racing fuel rail, 1,200 cc fuel injectors, Bosch 044 fuel pump and an Aeromotive fuel press regulator ensure the thirsty engine stays well hydrated, while the Treadstone intercooler keeps things cool. When dealing with this much power under the hood, a proper exhaust system is just as important. That’s probably why Billy went custom, with a kit made at his NTO Motorsports shop. That is paired with a Drewgo turbo manifold and Megan Racing muffler.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

To keep himself safe, Billy added a number of suspension upgrades, such as Tokico front struts, QA1 springs and coil-overs, and custom sub-frame connectors to keep the body sturdy. As far as the exterior goes, the eye-catching hot lava paint job perfectly matches the wild fire that’s waiting to erupt underneath the hood. The design and color scheme of the J Line wheels compliment the paint as well as the Wilwood four-piston brake kit, which do more than their job of bringing 542 horses to a halt.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

When you open the doors, you’re greeted to a sight similar to Walter’s AE86. A Nardi steering wheel is prominently featured, along with Sparco racing seats.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

A big difference between the two interiors however, is the Kenwood head unit, JL Audio amps and Infinity Kappa speakers that Billy installed. Of the three AE86s in this feature, Billy’s is the most powerful and is a great reflection of how incredibly versatile the platform can be as for tuning.

ESSENTIALS
Model: 1986 Toyota Corolla GTS (AE86)
Built by: Billy Escoto
Location: Beltsville, MD
Engine: 3.0L 2JZ-GTE
Horsepower: 542 hp

Engine Modifications
Racing Engine Valve valve train kit
Precision PT6776 ball bearing turbocharger
K&N air filter
Ross Racing fuel rail
Aeromotive fuel press regulator
Bosch 044 fuel pump
Kelford cams
Fidanza cam gears
Treadstone intercooler
Tial (50 mm blow-off valve, 44 mm waste gate)
1,200 cc fuel injectors
MSD custom ignition wires
LS2 truck coils
ARP bolts

Exhaust
NTO Motorsports custom (stainless steel down pipe, 3-in. aluminum exhaust)
Drewgo turbo manifold
Megan Racing muffler

Drivetrain
GM TH350 automatic transmission
Detroit TruTrac LSD

Chassis / Suspension
Tokico front struts
QA1 (front springs, rear coil-overs and springs)
Custom sub-frame connectors

Wheels / Tires / Brakes
J Line wheels – 18x8 (f), 18x10 (r)
BFGoodrich g-Force T/A tires – 205/40 R18 (f), 255/35 R18 (r)
Wilwood (four-piston brake calipers (f/r)
2-pc. slotted and drilled rotors (f/r)
Stainless braided brake lines

Exterior
MIPA (hot lava paint, CC6 high solid clear)
Levin (grill, fenders, headlights)

Interior
Nardi deep dish steering wheel
Sparco racing seats

Audio / Mobile Electronics
Kenwood head unit
JL Audio (mid bass amps, mid range amps, high frequency amps, 12-in. subwoofers (2))
Infinity Kappa components (mid bass, mid range, tweeters)

The Professional (Black AE86):

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

Miguel’s AE86 is the last, but definitely not least car included in this list. The work he’s put into his version is more like what you’d see from a professional show car. Miguel managed to keep the spirit and feel of Toyota’s iconic Corolla, but in a way that only a few signature Toyota hallmarks let you know it is an AE86. The most notable change is what’s been done to the body. A RunFree front bumper and fiberglass fenders and Vertex side skirts and rear bumper completely change the way the AE86 looks. The front bumper in particular, gives the car a mean-looking face that’s all the more accented because, unlike his brothers’ AE86s, Miguel’s is a Trueno with the trademark flip-up headlights.

The jet black paint job exudes a sense of professionalism in the sense that you know it could wow show judges but wouldn’t be something out of place in any mall parking lot. It gives the car the rare distinction of being great, both as a daily driver and a kick-ass show vehicle. But when you pop the hood, it’s evident that Miguel’s AE86 isn’t just some daily driver.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

The car features a 1JZ-GTE engine that can pump out 522 horsepower thanks to modifications including Ferrea oversized valves, HKS 272 cams, Titan Motorsports cam gears, a Tial 50 mm blow-off valve, 800 cc fuel injectors and a Haltech Platinum Sport 1000 ECU. Miguel also ensured that his exhaust performance matches his engine, with a similar custom stainless steel exhaust made to Billy’s, paired with an NTO Motorsports down pipe and a Megan Racing carbon muffler. The car uses an automatic transmission but does feature a one-piece custom driveshaft along with a Detroit TruTrac LSD.

On the performance front, suspension upgrades were made to the front and rear struts and springs using QA1 parts and a Techno Toy Tuning aluminum four link and panhard bar. For Miguel’s aesthetic choices, customized J Line 16RL3 wheels in BF Goodrich g-Force T/A KDW tires give the car a visual enhancement that matches the cars seething demeanor.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

A quick glance inside and the distinct black and green color scheme reminds you of the Degeneration X WWE wrestling team from the mid-90s. Specifically, re-upholstered black leather Sparco racing seats, green Takata harnesses, and a green roll cage really stand out. Adding to the DX feel, the engine bay is painted the same candy green as the roll cage.

Triple Threat: NTO Motorsports's 1986 Toyota Corolla AE86

Miguel’s AE86 is the most design-focused project, but all three cars have a definite charm and each bring something different to the table.

These three different takes also show just how beloved the classic AE86 is. There’s near-limitless potential if they are treated with the same amount of passion that the Escoto brothers have for Toyotas.

ESSENTIALS
Model: 1986 Toyota Corolla (AE86)
Built by: Miguel Escoto
Location: Beltsville, MD
Engine: 3.0L 1JZ-GTE
Horsepower: 522 hp

Engine Modifications
Ferrea oversized valves
Titanium retainers and keepers
K&N air filter
MVP Motorsports fuel rail
Aeromotive fuel press regulator
Walbro internal fuel pump
Bosch 044 external fuel pump
HKS 272 cams
Titan Motorsports cam gears
Treadstone intercooler
Tial (50 mm blow-off valve, 44 mm waste gate
Haltech Platinum Sport 1000 ECU
800 cc fuel injectors
NGK spark plugs
Lexus IS 300 ignition wires
Toyota twin turbo head gasket
ARP head studs

Exhaust
Drewgo turbo manifold
NTO Motorsports (custom 3-in. stainless steel exhaust, down pipe)
Megan Racing carbon fiber muffler

Drivetrain
Toyota W58 automatic transmission
Custom 1-pc. driveshaft
Detroit TruTrac LSD
Moser Engineering axles
ARP flywheel bolts

Chassis / Suspension
QA1 (front and rear struts, front and rear springs)
Techno Toy Tuning (aluminum four link, panhard bar)
Sub-frame connectors 

Wheels / Tires / Brakes
Custom J Line 16RL3 3-pc. wheels – 18x8.5 (f), 18x10.5 (r)
BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW tires – 215/35 R18 (f), 255/35 R18 (r)
Aerospace Components (four-piston brake calipers (f))
1-pc. slotted front rotors

Exterior
MIPA paint (black, clear)
Vertex (side skirts, rear bumper)
RunFree (front bumper, fiberglass fenders)
CBY rear wheel flares
Koito HID headlights
JDM Redline tail lights
LED corner lights 

Interior
Autometer (boost gauge, mini shift light)
World Motorsports boost controller
NGK wideband kit
Sparco Sprint seats
Takata four-point harnesses
Re-upholstered black leather seats
Cusco roll cage (painted candy green)

Audio / Mobile Electronics
Kenwood head unit

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