Spotless 1987 AE86 Corolla Coupe Brings Toyota Enthusiast Full Circle
Jun 18, 2023
When he was about six years old, you could find Byron Miron sitting quietly on the floor of his local Sav-On flipping through the pages of Super Street Magazine while his mom shopped the store. It was his official introduction to modified Japanese cars and one that stuck with him over the years. He'd later go on to own a trio of AE86 chassis, this 1987 Corolla coupe serving as the cream of the crop.
"The coupe life chose me," he says. "They just do everything right for me." Having previously purchased a hatch model to build, Byron eventually sold it before its completion, and took a few years away from project cars to take care of grown-up business, like buying a home. Once that was settled, he started looking for a coupe. As luck would have it, he uncovered one for sale during his regular Craigslist searches. An SR5 base, the seller had swapped over several key GT-S components. "It was perfect," he adds. "I knew that would save me a lot of money and the price point made it a no-brainer."
The only caveat to the deal was the car's location of Stockton, Calif., which Byron notes has a well-documented sky-high crime rate. "I rented a U-Haul trailer and took the five-hour road trip North. I thought for sure I was going to get scammed." In reality, the seller was a nice guy, and everything checked out without issue. The smooth interaction resulted in Byron taking that five-hour trip back home, this time with his new project in tow.
Like many, Byron relishes in the restoration and parts selection as much as being behind the wheel, adding, "the build process for me is my favorite. I love ordering parts, seeing tracking numbers, stacking parts up, and putting my hands to work. I built and installed everything on the car besides the paint and body. Choosing everything that flows together, themes and all that are important to me."
What was once in dire need of a complete makeover, now appears in pristine condition, with the body completely stripped down and reworked to rid it of any imperfections before Team Denz laid down multiple coats of Toyota's Cement Grey. A RUN FREE aero kit adds rigid angles to the '80s body while bringing it closer to the ground, and Be Free IS300 mirrors add a rounded touch in place of the dull OEM rectangles.
Byron says he feels like the rear of the car might be missing something at this point and would be open to creating a custom roof or trunk spoiler that flows with his Corolla's look. Until then, this Corolla makes a strong case for the wingless look in its current form.
Volk TE37V and the '80s-era Corolla were made for one another and for Byron, the Dash White version that commemorates the tenth anniversary of the popular wheel which uses Rays' signature A.M.T. process to engrave the spokes rather than using decals, was a must-have. Just behind those spokes you'll find Wilwood front calipers and rebuilt rears, as well as Fortune Auto coil overs. Other suspension updates included a set of Cusco sway bars and their Panhard bar, and an array of bushings to accompany T3 lower control arms.
As a mechanic by trade, Byron took on the engine build duties himself, opting to rebuild a 4A-GE in mostly stock form in the name of reliability. Along with the fresh factory internals, a TRD head gasket and head studs were used, and the head was fitted with Tomei cams, Brian Crower oversized valves, springs, and retainers. Under the heat wrap is a Martelius x BGRS header mated to an Expert OZ exhaust system.
Mild in comparison to the extreme engine swaps, turbo kits, and, sometimes both, Byron is content with the engine's modest output. Having removed unnecessary extras from the engine bay, the Cement Grey paint shines through with touches of aluminum, like the Carbing three-point bar and Koyo radiator with JSP Fab hold downs, and is contrasted by polished surfaces, like the valve cover and intake manifold. Clean, organized, and fully functional, it's the perfect set up for Byron, who adds, "this thing runs so well and it's so responsive. It revs up like a motorcycle—it's perfect for what I do now."
Nostalgic vibes encapsulate the exterior and engine bay but the interior features some modern pieces to spice things up. The factory front seats never had a chance of making their way back into the cabin and in their place, a set of Bride Zeta III Japan edition and Takata harnesses assume seating duties. The center console, arm rest, and door cards were all replaced by formed carbon fiber versions matched by a TOM'S carbon shift knob. The Toyota specialist was also chosen for their 330mm steering wheel.
It's not his first Corolla project and probably not his last, but this example is truly one of the cleanest we've ever seen in photos or in person. Call it done for now, Byron's only future plans include enjoying the seat time and perhaps a new set of wheels later on to change things up. At this point, he's just happy to share the build through Super Street, the outlet that influenced his younger self years prior. He adds, "You have no idea how much this means to me and little Byron growing up who, all his life, only knew cars and loved to build things and take them apart to make them better. This is a lifelong goal of mine and I told myself I don't need any awards, no car show trophies, or recognition, but I always wanted that Super Street plaque!"
Owner Byron Miron
Engine 4AG; Cusco engine mounts; TRD 0.8mm head gasket; Tomei 264 Poncams; Brian Crower oversized valves, valve springs, keepers; JSP Fab fuel rail, radiator stays; Martelius X BGRS track header; HKS intake; Expert OZ exhaust; Tomei test pipe; Koyo radiator; Carbing coolant expansion tank; GReddy oil cooler, oil cap; polished valve cover, intake manifold
Drivetrain Exedy OEM-spec clutch; Toda lightweight flywheel; TRD short shifter
Suspension Fortune Auto coil overs; Cusco front/rear sway bars, bushings, panhard bar; TEC ARTS bushings; T3 lower control arms; Carbing 3-point shock tower bar
Braking T3 Baby Daddy Wilwood front brake kit, calipers, pads; slotted/drilled rear rotors; Project Mu brake pads
Wheels & Tires 10th anniversary Dash White Volk TE37V 15x8 0 offset; Toyo Proxes R888R 195/50
Exterior Toyota Cement Grey paint by Team Denz; RunFree aero kit; Be Free IS300 mirrors; Expert OZ clear lens; @72gonzuka clear eyelids, side markers
Interior Bride Japan Zeta III seats; Takata 4-point harnesses; T3 harness bar; TOMS 330mm steering wheel, carbon fiber shift knob; custom carbon fiber door cards, center console, radio delete, A/C bezel
Thank You First off big thanks to my beautiful, loving, understanding Wife. Thank you for never checking my account my love. Thank you for understanding that this is my lifelong passion and always encouraging me and pushing me to put my car out there. ILY4LSH. My Dad, Mom and Brother for always helping me out when its time to clean up the car or need to replace something, covering me at work so I can go to events. Love you guys! Thank you for always being there for me. My Salvi brother Charlie for the constant motivation to finish projects and asking me "so what's next"? My boy, the godly cameraman Marvin Recinos for always putting me out there man and the reason I'm here typing this. Humble, respectful, genuine human being and does everything for "The Shot". It's been all love since the day I met you brother. Lastly, all the homies at @AE86RatchetClub. A group of guys brought together by the love for Toyota's not just the AE86. These guys are some of closest friends I have thanks to this little Toyota, I'm not about to call my car a shitbox like most 86 owners do. Trying to increase the value over here. Love you all! There would be no car community without the shops keeping the parts catalog alive! Thank you to Toyota, JSPFAB, BattleGarage, T3, Breezefab, TEC-ARTS, UPGARAGE, RHDJapan, Nengun, and even Offerup. Without these shops/apps cars will still be on jackstands or rotting away. Special shoutout to Fujiwara Tofu Cafe for hosting some badass meets and getting all the @ae86ratchetclub members together. Much love!Owner Instagram Engine Drivetrain Suspension Braking Wheels & Tires Exterior Interior Thank You