To outsiders, AE86 fans could appear to be a bunch of elitist madmen that spend approach an excessive amount of money and time on their small capability, rear-wheel drive ’80s Toyotas. However when a ardour runs this deep, there should be one thing about them that you just simply can’t get wherever else.
Now don’t let that intro mislead you – I’m an AE86 fanatic by and thru – however I wanted to write down one thing relatable to attract you in, proper? As you’ll be able to think about then, after I was invited to hitch a trio of pristine white Corolla Levins for a touge run, I fortunately accepted the provide.
On a brisk autumn morning at a 7-Eleven on the outskirts of Tokyo, I used to be greeted by the candy sounds of three 4A-GE-powered vehicles buzzing in direction of me within the distance. Anybody aware of Japanese automotive tradition will likely be fairly accustomed to seeing modified vehicles parked in entrance of fashionable conbini (comfort) shops, and it’s a sight that by no means will get outdated. This explicit morning, I used to be joined by Umino-san, Shunya-san and Kaname-san, every of their respective AE86 Levins.
After grabbing some breakfast to go, it was up into the mountains in direction of Ōmugishiro Parking Space, a well-liked place for automotive nuts to assemble on weekends. It’s additionally a phenomenal place to absorb the views that Lake Okutama has to supply.
Following some gentle mingling, we made our approach by a lot of Okutama’s lovely winding roads, stopping for a photograph break outdoors the long-lasting Showa Restaurant.
Now, there are many well-known driving roads in Japan, such because the well-known Hakone Turnpike, Skyline and Happohagara, however the roads that hint by the mountainous area of Okutama are true hidden gems. Surprisingly devoid of the same old weekend crowds, this touge is the right setting for a spirited drive.
Roads like this create an virtually film set-looking backdrop whenever you’re working with a gaggle of AE86s, made even simpler when there may be little to no site visitors impeding on the shot.
While all Levins, every of those 86s are fairly completely different from each other. We’ll kick issues off with Shunya-san’s completely easy, white-on-black-bumper notchback. The steadiness of a kouki entrance bumper on the zenki chassis and RunFree flares on all 4 corners creates what for my part is the right avenue stance for a Hachiroku.
Shunya-san has stored true to the roots of the 86, retaining the 16-valve 4A-GE with the added necessity of ITBs and a TRD-style header.
Inside, the interval appropriate type continues with a pair of Bride Brix seats, Nardi Traditional steering wheel, and an compulsory cup holder within the centre sprint vent.
If interval correctness is the secret, Kaname-san has nailed it, together with his virtually fully inventory panda hatchback. The modestly fitted SSR MK-IIIs and full kouki equipment make Kaname-san’s automotive unmistakably an 86, even to the informal fanatic.
Kaname-san has additionally retained the manufacturing facility 16-valve 4A-GE with a easy consumption and exhaust improve.
It’s simple to go above and past whenever you’re constructing an AE86, however when roads like these are the doorstep, it turns into abundantly clear that simplicity and seat time are the one essential components for an excellent time out.
Final, however so removed from least, we now have Umino-san’s white kouki notchback. For this automotive you’ll have to attend, because it deserves its personal put up the place we are able to dive into the nitty-gritty of what’s an unbelievable restoration. Whilst you wait, I’ll depart you with this sneak peek at Umino-san’s consideration to element…
After an excellent few hours and some hundred corners, we looped again round and into Okutama Parking Space and posted up in entrance of the Showa era-style retailer.
All so related however every with a totally completely different character and look is what makes taking pictures three of the identical make and mannequin so particular to me. With the primary AE86 variants turning 40 this 12 months, it’s protected to say that nearly each mixture of engine, gearbox, styling and inside has been performed on these vehicles. However because the business begins to creep increasingly right into a world of automation and disengagement, the motion again to simplicity and seat time-inspired builds is obvious, particularly in these three.
Residing in Japan for over a 12 months and spending nearly all of your waking hours exploring workshops, circuits and automotive occasions makes it simple to turn out to be barely numb to happenings that might excite even probably the most apathetic automotive fanatic, however it’s moments like this the place I’ve to cease and pinch myself. Having the ability to observe three perfectly-built AE86s driving by the Japanese mountains was a surreal expertise – one which I needed each automotive fanatic may take pleasure in.
Preliminary D and web hype apart, I implore anybody that will get the prospect to leap behind the wheel of an AE86 to take it.
Blissful 86 Day!