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Tony O'Kane | Oct 23, 2009

WHEN TOYOTA UNVEILED its FT-86 RWD coupe concept at Tokyo earlier this week, the Japanese automaker played up the car's various links to the much-loved AE86 Corolla of the 1980s.

Even the concept's FT-86 moniker is a tip of the hat to the last RWD Corolla, however it seems the production version of the car may wind up wearing the badge from that other rear-wheel-drive Toyota: the Celica.

toyota_ft-86_concept_04

Although a front-driver from the mid-1980s onward, the Celica was originally a small, lightweight RWD coupe - much like the FT-86 concept.

Thierry Dombreval, Vice-President of sales and marketing for Toyota France, allegedly let slip back in March that the new RWD car would bear a Celica badge, but those reports have not been officially acknowledged by Toyota.

However the rumours certainly make a lot of sense.

toyota_celica_history_01

The AE86 designation is recognised among enthusiasts, but is not as widely known as Celica.

Furthermore, the AE86 model was sold around the globe under a number of different badges - Corolla SR5, Sprinter, Corolla Levin and Sprinter Trueno to name a few - and marketing the so-called "successor" to the AE86 under several different badges doesn't fit well with Toyota's global branding ethos.

Instead the Celica badge could be used in all markets, yet still appeal to Toyota enthusiasts just as well as (or better than) any of the AE86's many names.

Will Toyota revive the Celica and return it to its RWD roots, or will the hard-core appeal of the AE86 name prove more marketable? The production version of the FT-86 concept is expected to go on sale sometime in 2012, although we'll likely find out which badge gets the nod before then.

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