Happy New Year 2015! To new readers, welcome to Hayashi86.com! To my fellow friends who have been following and supporting my journey, thank you and welcome back! To kickoff the Year of the Sheep, there’s a very special article that I’d like to share to every car enthusiast out there.
December 27th was a memorable day for Hayashi86, as I experienced the exclusive Malaysian gathering of Toyota’s most popular sports car, the AE86. Lots, and lots of them, at one single place. Check it out!
Malaysian AE86 Community called up all of the hachiroku owners for this 2D1N trip, and the planned location this round was at Bagan Lalang. I was told to meet up with other owners first at Sepang Petronas Gas Station at 3pm. Surprisingly, not one, not two but five AE86s were already there waiting, when I arrived.
Meet Ah Zai, the AE86 owner, and the man behind this gathering. He initiated and planned everything by inviting all the fellow Malaysian 86 owners and their families to enjoy a weekend with friends of similar passion. I'm not a Trueno owner (yet) but Zai is kind enough to have me around at this important meet. :)
Upon the arrival of a red Levin and a white Trueno, we began our 30km drive to Bagan Lalang, supposedly in a nice 7-car convoy, but ...
... got disrupted immediately by slow moving traffic. Furthermore, the single-lane journey made overtaking difficult, and light flood later due to heavy rain delayed us a little more.
Our arrival to the Seri Bayu Resort Hotel was well received by other hotel guests, as majority were amazed by the amount of rare "tofu" cars pouring in through the gate. We found ourselves a sweet empty spot for 9 AE86s (two cars came early), and the 9-car view was a mesmerising thing to look at that evening.
While some of us were having a short rest before the dinner, we took a stroll down the calm beach enjoying the cloudy sunset.
When night fell, we were joined by two more hachiroku owners, and one of them was Takumi Fujiwara.
Barbeque chicken for dinner was excellent. I have never tasted anything this good seriously, and many there agreed with me too. The chef (AE86 owner) did not share his secret recipe even after some persistent persuasion. :)
While owners were busy sharing their valuable car-related stories, I went out to admire my dream car.
AE86 or hachiroku as the Japanese calls it, is a number so well-known among the car fans in the automotive world, which represents the last rear-wheel drive model in the Corolla family. Toyota designed the AE86 to be lightweight, well-balanced and having a relatively easy-to-tune yet powerful 4A-GE engine which made it a popular choice in motorsport racing, rallying and of course, drifting.
With influence from Initial D, many desire to own one but backed down due to its sky-high price and endless battle against common old car problem. It was great to see many 86s still around running till this day, and I heard there's like 50 of them in Malaysia!
Click here to understand more about AE86. :)
The black bonnet on white Kouki body matched with SSR Dori Dori Mesh wheels clearly shows this 86 is styled according to Keiichi Tsuchiya's infamous touge monster. It belongs to Mr Miji from Gombak, and he has been driving it for a long 8 years.
Have a good look at the 10 Malaysian AE86s that came that night. The orange one you've seen earlier rushed back for some personal matter.
The next morning, I noticed everyone disappeared to look for a car wash outlet, except for Mr Mirdad. As he was taking his time washing up his own car, I took the chance to strike up a conversation with him to understand more about his 86.
Surprisingly, he just acquired this car a month back, and will be shipping it to Sabah where he is currently staying the following week. Funny thing is, usually people fly over to Sabah to bring back an 86 as Sabah state has plenty, but it's the other way round for Mirdad. :D
Lucky enough for him, he doesn't need perform a complete restoration, because the previous owner took superb care in keeping the AE86 stock and working so fine. Mirdad aims to replace the yellowish door panel to the original red zenki ones.
These three musketeers are the cool kids of the 86 owners who have been following us around, and they liked Takumi's car very much.
This Initial D replica was driven by Mr Tang from Malacca. He shared that it actually belongs to his brother, while he himself drives a F20C (S2000) powered AE86 Levin instead. This car went through a year of immense work to look like Takumi's daily drive, maybe even better.
That includes the interior as well. The original red zenki door panels, dashboard, all around seats etc were as good as new like it's from 1983. The rare Italvolanti Admiral steering fitted was a result of an online bidding and it costs more than RM2000. The awesomeness didn't stop there.
This might look like a normal black top 20valve to you. But in fact, it is a 7A-GE engine, the one being used in Keiichi Tsuchiya's updated AE86. 7A-GE is built out of a 7A-FE block from Toyota Carina and a 5-valve head and pistons from a 4A-GE. As a result, it has a 1.8L displacement and a higher power output.
In the eyes of Mr Tang, there are still few things to deal with to perfect his ride. But, he has thought of going 2nd stage with it (*hint: carbon fiber bonnet). :D
Later that morning, few more came to join the fun!
Everyone feels like family despite the cultural differences. They understand each others' problems (car-related) and share ideas to help improve their driving sensation in an AE86. Cars bring people together, this is the truth.
We checked out from the hotel and drove to a huge empty parking space nearby, for the main event of the gathering - 'The Best Malaysia AE86 Competition'.
These are the 17/20 proud AE86 owners of Malaysia. :)
Together with Syazwan, journalist from Gila Kereta magazine, we were fortunate to be the judges for the competition. Assessing all twenty cars thoroughly was no easy task. Majority of the 86s were really well maintained, but we had to decide fairly on who gets to win the awards 'Best Exterior', 'Best Interior', 'Best Engine Bay' and the most prestigious 'Best of the Best'.
'Best Exterior' went to Ah Zai's white Trueno, 'Best Interior' award went to this all around clean kouki interior with a sleek Nardi steering wheel, and 'Best Engine Bay' went to Hazwan's beautifully tuned 4A-GE.
We presented the 'Best of the Best' award to none other than Mr Tang's Initial D replica because of his passion and endless effort to make things better in every way - the exterior, the interior and the amazing 7A-GE engine. Congratulations to Takumi Fuji.... sorry, to Mr Tang. :D
Highest number of AE86 at one place in Malaysia? Twenty, as for this event.
We ♥ AE86!
After the award presentation and awesome group photo with the twenty unique AE86s, we decided to call it a day, ...
... and left Bagan Lalang in a long AE86-only line.
I grabbed the chance to practise a bit of rolling shots before each of them went their separate ways. However, rain started to fall when the road started to widen, ...
... and got really heavy. Nevertheless, the pictures were great! Gotta give extra credit to Ah Zai for turning on the cool pop-out headlights on his cute little hachi.
The AE86 Gathering was the last event of year 2014, and I was glad to be part of this important event. Being the photographer, judge and friend to the AE86 community, I gained valuable knowledge and experience about the legendary AE86, and it causes me to strive harder to achieve my dream of standing with them as an AE86 owner someday.
Thank you Malaysian AE86 Community and Ah Zai, the organiser for the awesome 20-car turnout at Bagan Lalang, and I look forward to seeing you guys again in the next mega gathering. Let's bring more Malaysian AE86 owners in!
Please enjoy more pictures below and at FB page, don't forget to give it a 'like'. :D