Cars > Electric

Get a chance to drive the Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 EV (if you live in Japan)

Vintage Club by Kinto will also let you rent old Toyotas of your dreams

Driving a rare car is made easy with the abundance of specialty rental car services in Japan. PHOTO FROM VINTAGE CLUB BY KINTO

Ever wanted to experience and drive a real JDM performance car icon? The brutality of a Nissan Skyline GT-R’s presence; the sinister aura of a mega-horsepower Toyota Supra; the brap-brap-brap of a Mazda RX-7 rotary mill; or the off-beat rumble of a Subaru WRX STI?

There are now a growing number of car rental companies in Japan that allow you to rent these popular Japanese performance icons. Kinto, Toyota’s vehicle leasing and rental subscription arm, is also in on the game.

Vintage Club by Kinto allows members to rent many of Toyota’s old and unforgettable cars in its rich history, maintained perfectly to a T, thanks to its close collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation.

The currently available classic Toyota vehicles one can rent include the following:

  • 1973 Celica 1600 GT (TA22, MT)
  • 1974 Corolla Levin (TE27, MT)
  • 1975 Celica Liftback 2.0 GT (RA25, MT)
  • 1982 Soarer 2.8 GT-Limited (Z10, AT)
  • 1985 Celica XX 2000 GT (GA61, MT)
  • 1988 MR2 G-Limited Supercharger (AW11, MT)
  • 1991 Celsior B Type (UCF10, AT)
  • 1992 Supra 2.5 GT Twin Turbo Aero Top (JZA70, MT)
  • 1994 Celica GT-Four (ST205, MT)
  • 1999 Altezza RS200 Z Edition (SXE10, MT)
  • 2002 Supra RZ (JZA80, MT)
  • 2022 GR Supra (A91, MT)

The list is set to grow over time as more cars become desirable, memorable classics and neo-classics capturing the hearts of many Toyota enthusiasts.

This AE86 BEV concept was featured in the past Tokyo Auto Salon. PHOTO FROM VINTAGE CLUB BY KINTO

The latest addition is an AE86 Corolla Levin, popularized by Initial D anime fame and Best Motoring‘s Hot Version Touge Battle Series” videos with Drift King Keichii Tsuchiya driving his AE86 against newer, faster, more modified cars on the narrow Gunma Cycle Sports Center aka The Gunsai Touge (or mountain pass).

DK and his AE86 are arguably the most popular driver and car to ever hit pop-culture consciousness from Japan.

The twist, however, is that the AE86 in question has been converted into a battery electric vehicle, providing cutting-edge EV conversion technology into a very hallowed platform revered by enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Take a closer look and see that this is no ordinary AE86. PHOTOS FROM VINTAGE CLUB BY KINTO

Toyota and Kinto have gone to great lengths to restore the BEV AE86 to an as-new-as-possible condition, giving excited drivers the full-on 1980s experience. A veritable time capsule.

Sadly for the rest of us around the world, you must be a Vintage Club by Kinto member in Japan and have a manual transmission license to be eligible to drive it. Then, you must enroll in a lottery program and win to finally get behind the wheel of the BEV AE86.

Upon collecting the car, both Kinto and Toyota staff will be on hand to release the vehicle and explain all the technical intricacies to make the experience even more enjoyable.

Due to it being a conversion, there are a few restrictions in place. PHOTOS FROM VINTAGE CLUB BY KINTO

Unfortunately, this car is restricted to where you can bring it. You can’t bring it on highways (due to range limitations), or drive it hard on places like mountain passes, but the recommended route appears to be a fairly enjoyable one.

It will also be available for only a limited time, so many enthusiasts will be scrambling to get their names on the lottery program for sure. Maybe it’s time we moved to Japan and became members of the Vintage Club by Kinto?

This also begs the question: Are we willing to convert our beloved old ICE-powered performance cars to EV power someday? That would be interesting indeed.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.