’86 Essentials: Identifying AE86 Tail Lights

We’ve covered it before, but thought it was deserving of a improvment! Redlines, Whitelines, Fullfaces and Sprinters, we’ve all heard these terms before but do you really know the differences?

Hit the jump for THE definitive guide to identifying the different AE86 tail lights!

Based on the Japanese market, this quick-view chart breaks down the different styles in tail light units in the AE86. Being in black and white the differences are hard to spot. So here are some colour breakdown to fill in the gaps.

Levin 3-Door (Hatch) Early Model (Zenki) ‘Full Face’

The ‘Full Face’ is the Levin type 1 and 2 (Zenki). It’s name comes from the top-to-bottom design of the coloured lenses on the unit.

It is not only common to the JDM Levin but also to the North American AE86’s too. Even though the North American cars, called a Corolla GT-S, were in fact Trueno shape with pop-up lights.

Hachiroku trivia: The Lotus Esprit uses the same light unit from Toyota (Picture) Cool huh!

Levin 2-Door (Coupe) Early Model (Zenki) 

Similar in configuration to the zenki Trueno 3-door lights with the reverse light in the centre of the stop light section, the Levin zenki 2-door tail light is also used on the USDM Corolla GT-S (Trueno).

CAUTION Something to note particularly with the difference between the zenki and kouki 2-door tail light assemblies is the shape with the kouki versions featuring an expended lower ‘tail’ with the reverse light inset. This means you cannot swap zenki lights into a kouki car or vice versa!

Trueno 3-Door (Hatch) Early Model (Zenki) ‘Sprinter’

The Zenki Trueno tail light are known as ‘Sprinter’ due to the transparent red SPRINTER lettering on the driver-side light unit.

They are also found in a strange configuration. The Australian AE86 Levin (Badged locally as a ‘Toyota Sprinter’) used these tail lights even though the car itself was a ‘Levin’ and did not match the JDM equivalent version. This is no doubt due to the unique choice in naming conventions from Toyota Australia.

Trueno 2-Door (Coupe) Early Model (Zenki) 

Sharing the same shape as its Levin brother, the zenki Trueno 2-door tail light is slightly different, with the reverse lense being located high in the top inner corner.

Trueno 3-Door (Hatch) Late Model (Kouki) ‘Redline’

The kouki tail lights came in two versions: ‘Redline’ for Trueno and ‘Whiteline’ for Levin. The identification is pretty straightforward with the Trueno ‘Redline’ being identified by the large red transparent ‘glass’ line that runs across the entirety of the top of tail light unit.

With both the redline and whiteline kouki 3-door units, the centrepiece garnish is a moulded unit unlike the single ‘bar’ unit of the zenki 3-door. This was used to cover the plate light units for a cleaner look.

To install the later model units into a zenki chassis, two small holes need to be drilled to accomodate mounting bolts.

Trueno 3-Door (Hatch) Late Model (Kouki) ‘Black Limited Redline’

The limited edition AE86 known as the ‘Black Limited‘ has identical light units as the kouki 3-door Trueno, but featured the black limited logo printed across the centrepiece.

Trueno 2-Door (Coupe) Late Model (Kouki) ‘Redline’

Using the same ‘redline’ transparent glass, but this time on the 2-door running along the bottom of the unit. Note the small ‘tail’ for the reverse light which makes it incompatible with the zenki 2-door light units.

Levin 3-Door (Hatch) Late Model (Kouki) ‘Whiteline’

The Whitelines have a similar layout using a large black top line but with a white pinstripe running through a recess in it.

Also instead of the reverse light being nested next to the registration plates like on the Redlines, the Whiteline uses the reverse lense to bisect the brake light segment, splitting it into two separate sections.

Levin 2-Door (Coupe) Late Model (Kouki) ‘Whiteline’

The kouki 2-door Levin tail light units use a similar style to their hatchback counterparts and as a result are quite easy to spot. The ‘whiteline’ runs through the middle of the 2-door variant instead of along the top.

Aftermarket Designs

The AE86 hasn’t seen too many aftermarket light units designed for it, but the above made by Origin Lab came in clear and smoke and are very popular with drifters who like to ‘bonk’ walls regularly and not destroy their OEM units. Only came in 3-door unfortunately for those 2-door guys out there!

So there you have it, the be all and end all of AE86 tail light designs. Keep in mind some European configurations are different to the Japanese examples above, but rest assured the tail light units themselves are identical.

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