Toyota is not only known for creating reliable vehicles, but they have also manufactured some of the greatest drift cars ever made!
Over the years Toyota has established itself as one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. But underneath their mass-produced vehicles hide few gems or JDM legends as some call them.
During the 90s the ‘term’ drifting grew substantially, and the release of the massively popular Animé series Initial D sparked an additional interest among fans.
The 90s was also the time Toyota really had figured out how to manufacture cars quickly, cheaply, and reliably. They were the kings of car manufacturing and by default had a large abundance of cash.
Part of this cash was used to develop and manufacture high-end sedans and performance coupés many of which used a rear-wheel-drive layout. Toyota had also come up with a new engine, the JZ-engine which in turbocharged mode made close to 300 hp.
Toyota was quite happy with this engine, so they started using it in many of their mid/high-end vehicles, which in combination with an RWD-layout just happened to be great for drifting.
So, here are some of the greatest Toyota drift cars in history!
The Toyota Supra is likely one of the most famous and renowned JDM car to ever have existed. But what is less known is that the Supra actually makes for quite the drift car.
The Supra is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0L I6 (2JZ-GTE) that puts out about 280-320hp depending on the market. Together with a RWD-layout along with a manual transmission the MKIV Toyota Supra has the right tools to be an exceptional drift candidate.
But the Toyota Supra stands out from other drift cars. Toyota Supra’s are often used as high-speed or high horsepower drift cars. The 2JZ-GTE can very easily be tuned to 1,000 hp without having to spend half a fortune. This makes the Toyota Supra one of the greatest high-speed drift cars out there, thanks to its very tuner-friendly engine and strong manual transmission.
Considering the Toyota Crown was only available with automatic transmission (at least for the models that mattered) you’d think the Toyota Crown wouldn’t be suited for drifting. But tuners quickly found out that wasn’t the case.
If you took the transmission issue out of the picture you had a RWD saloon powered by a 280hp turbocharged 1JZ engine.
And thanks to the fact that the Crown had a far longer wheelbase than the Toyota Supra it was actually easier to drift and made for a more enjoyable ride.
The Toyota Crown was also made available as a wagon, and despite being heavier in the rear (due to being a wagon) still performed surprisingly well for a drift car.
The Toyota Crown is one of two cars both available as a wagon with a turbocharged JZ engine, and that alone certainly deserves a spot on this list.
The Toyota Soarer is usually not as sought after as some of its JDM counterparts on this list, perhaps mostly due to the fact that Lexus sold the equivalent to the Soarer known as the SC300, and this was available on international markets.
But popularity contest aside, the Toyota Soarer is quite the drift-machine. The Soarer was always available with the turbocharged 1JZ-GTE engine that pushed out around 280 hp. And this particular engine choice was only available with a 5-speed manual transmission.
And since the Soarer used a RWD-layout and came available with a Torsen differential which made drifting a breeze.
Considering what you get for the money, the Toyota Soarer is actually quite good value for the money since the prices haven’t really shot up that much yet.
The Mark II was meant to act as a bridge between the brand’s entry-level sedans and their executive Toyota Crown model. But since Toyota built most of their sedans on the same platform they might as well keep providing these models with the same engines too, such as the JZ-engine.
While the Mark II was very similar in terms of the drivetrain to the Toyota Crown, it lacked in the luxury department. But in terms of drifting, that is a good thing.
The Mark II was not only lighter but also cheaper and more attainable than the Toyota Crown.
There was even a model known as the Tourer V which was available with all-new sports suspension, a Torsen differential, along with 5-speed manual transmission, and a 280 hp turbocharged I6 engine.
The Tourer V got exceptionally popular among both tuners and drifters as it had a natural tendency for oversteering.
There was also a more ‘luxurious’ version of the Mark II that still kept its performance orientation known as the Toyota Cresta.
One of the most well-known and loved JDM cars, the Toyota Sprinter Trueno, or AE86 as it is also called has a long history of not only drifting but racing too.
The AE86 is essentially the RWD version of a Toyota Corolla; it is extremely lightweight and powered by a 1.6L I4 producing around 130 horsepower. The Sprinter Trueno was offered in a variety of trim levels, including independent suspension, an LSD, and enhanced brakes and suspension.
In addition to its superb handling, the AE86, despite its limited power, was an excellent drift car. There are numerous movies from the 1980s and 1990s of people drifting these cars in Japan’s mountains.
The Toyota Chaser has swiftly become one of the most desired drift cars in history. The X90, and more specifically the X100, have grown in popularity among the drifting community. And it’s easy to see why. There is nothing equivalent to the Toyota Chaser’s appearance and long wheelbase. Combine that with a RWD layout, 5-speed manual transmission, and the powerful 1JZ-GTE engine, and you’ve got a winning combination.
Another great thing with the Toyota Chaser is that there is an abundance of aftermarket parts, and even so, the Chaser is quite reliable so you’re likely only changing parts for upgrade purposes.
People have drifted to the Toyota Chaser for the better part of three decades now. So, there is a lot of knowledge on how to properly set up the car for drifting, and what parts to use along with various tips and tricks to get you started.
Unfortunately, the more sought-after turbocharged JZ-versions are steadily rising in prices, and as these cars are becoming more collectible it is likely prices will keep going up for the foreseeable future.
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