AE86 build blog: Project Gold Heap begins! by MazterDizazter

By diyauto
( 3 )

9 minute(s) of a 24 minute read


AE86 build blog: Project Gold Heap begins! 

Compliments of MazterDizazter @


Hey all,

I'm starting a blog to chronicle the build of my new project: a 1985 Corolla GT-S coupe.

I was looking for a car for a winter beater so I could keep my AW11 clean this winter. (MR2 build thread can be found here: I had just about decided on an '83 Nissan Maxima diesel because it gets 35-42mpg and when it breaks I could put the crankshaft in my 240Z's engine to make a 3.0L stroker. 

Then I stumbled upon a gold-brick gold '85 GT-S coupe in Connecticut for $1,200. I figured that was a pretty good price considering they usually don't go for so cheap around here. I called the owner who told me about the car, and informed me it started making an engine noise just the day before, so he was willing to let it go for $700. Knowing it would disappear in just days at that price, I quickly scrounged together $700 and a ride to CT.

After looking the car over and determining it was indeed a $#!tbox, I decided to buy it and attempt to drive it 2 1/2hrs home to Massachusetts. Well, it only made it about 20 miles before the engine crapped out. I thought the engine noise he described was valve chatter, but it turned out to be a subtle rod knock which became not-so-subtle after a short drive, causing a chunk of the con-rod to shoot out of the block in a fantastic spectacle of smoke and bad smell. I then had it towed to a local Toyota dealer where it sat for a couple days until I could get a rental truck from work and a U-Haul trailer.

Now that I have it home, I've begun tearing into it to fix all the crap that was done to it by the previous owners. Stuff like a rat's nest of wiring, holes in the hood and trunk from where they put a ricer hood scoop and wing on, and a molded license plate surround that only accepts CT plates (MA plates are bigger). Then there's the gold paint - it's atrocious and there's overspray everywhere. I'm not sure exactly what I want for the end result with the car, but for now I want to focus on cleaning it up, putting an engine in it, and making it reliable so it'll get me through the winter. Then I'll decide whether or not to restore it to some semblance of originality or if it's too far gone to bother and turn it into a drift slut. Stay tuned!  

The night I brought it home (Thanks to my job at a Toyota dealer I was able to score a free rental '11 Tacoma V6!):

Back at the homestead:

All four tires were different (Michelin, Mastercraft, Kumho, Futura) and dry-rotted:

Some lovely overspray:

Sweet "custom" grille, consisting of about 2lbs of bondo:

Nice holes in the hood and trunk:

Illuminated washer nozzles. The washer hose wasn't hooked up, but it's more important for them to light up than actually work, right?

This is going to suck to fix:

Engine bay - how the hell did they get that overspray on the cam cover??

The one thing they did which I'm not happy about but at least it seemed like a decent job was that they eliminated the sunroof:

Interior (note the random wires sticking out):

My dog ate it?

Tint which took about 20 razor blades to get off:

I used to be a connecting rod!

The wiring was so messed up in this car that it wouldn't even start. I knew the battery had plenty of charge because it kept all the accessories on with full power, but the starter just wouldn't engage. The power windows were stuck partially down. One of the headlights was dim (could just be a bad connection) and the instrument cluster illumination would cut out from time to time. I took the whole interior out of the car to get to the bottom of it.

Cigarette carton box acting as sound deadening:

To the FOUR SPEAKERS!!! At least they were new:

Tearing into it:

We found the drugs! Oh wait, that's just sound deadening:

Nice coroplast sign to cover up the sunroof hole:

We don't need to solder no stinking wires!

Gentlemen, these men are professionals we're dealing with:

Some of the nest:

BTW, if anyone can identify these connectors I'd appreciate it:

After getting all of the interior out of the car, I decided to clean 27 years of grime build-up off of everything. I took all the interior trim pieces upstairs and washed them out in my bath tub:

Here's the bath water after I was done - yummy!

Last night I scrubbed the floor pans clean with soap and water (eek! I know, water. It's sitting with a space heater inside it to help dry everything out). Amazing how filthy everything was!

Put in a set of H4 conversion headlamps that I had lying around - they should be brighter and also weigh less than the old glass sealed-beam units. I had a fun time drilling out the old rusted screws... made sure to put in bigger ones so it'd be easier the next time.

Now that the interior is out of the way, I'll have an easy time fixing all the hacked wires in the harness, and I have easy access to the heater core and blower motor, which I want to clean out before the cold weather comes.