AE86 deserves a special spot in the automotive world. Thanks to its simple, lightweight, rear wheel drive configuration and the success of the Initial D franchise, the car has sustain relevance for the past 30 years and remain a popular car despite its production has been discontinued since 1987.
Personally I'm also a fan of the hachiroku, to me it’s my dream car and it holds a special place in my all-time favourite car list. So naturally when I spot a clean hachiroku gracefully cruising down the streets, my instinct took over and I gave it chase. And, that led me to a parking area in Akihabara where I met Mr T, the humble owner of this Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86. Let's find out more about his precious 86.
Mr T (who prefers not to reveal his real name) stays in Shinjuku, and he was in Akihabara for a bit of book shopping, getting around in his beloved weekend ride. His love for cars began when he turned to driving due to a motorcycle accident he got into in the past. He owned a few cars previously including a beat-up AE86 Trueno and a nice AE111 Levin, before saving enough to own the perfect AE86 you see above.
Mr T's 86 might look like a Zenki model, but it's actually a Kouki facelift Trueno GT-Apex with its front and rear bumper replaced to look like the one in Initial D.
The 15" Sparco wheels wrapped in Nankang studless tyres were fitted as a precaution to the slippery roads which likely to occur during the winter season. The owner has another set for summer use, 8-spoke RS Watanabe wheels (15" 6.5J Offset +32) with Bridgestone Potenza RE11 195/50 tyres. Complete Initial D replica!
This Trueno had a complete restoration work done by Carland, a popular AE86 specialty shop among the 86 enthusiasts located in Kyoto. The 'new' car cost him ¥3,000,000 (including upgrades) which is quite pricey for a car that age, but you can expect only the best 86s from Carland.
When popped open the amazingly light Jblood carbon fiber bonnet, I was surprised to see even more Initial D likeness. The engine bay was remarkably clean and properly built by Carland. It was fitted with a 20V black-top 4A-GE engine from the AE111.
The engine is coupled with K&N fuel injection kit to direct cleaner air into the combustion chamber, and TODA exhaust manifold to direct exhaust gases out through Carland original muffler. Engine temperature is kept constant with the help of TRUST oil cooler. All of this significant upgrades raised its power output to a respectable 250hp. Sweet.
Mr T was kind enough to show me his version of an ideal cockpit. The interior was kept clean like the engine bay, comfy, and certainly practical for the daily use with a few modern gadget add-ons.
Those cool gadgets (which all car enthusiasts would like to have) include the Nardi steering wheel, TRUST water and temperature gauges, Apexi Rev Speed Meter, present-day Pioneer audio player, Yupiteru SatNav system, and not to forget the cup holder. You've got to have the cup holder in your 86 right? :D
Apart from the modern touches, he left the most of the critical features in the 86 untouched, keeping it as original as it is. The power window on the door panel only available in the late Kouki models.
Rear trunk might not be an interesting sight to see for some people as this area is often neglected but for Mr T, attention to detail is essential for all car enthusiasts. His car still has its factory pieces intact - spare tyre, trunk mat, trunk panels and even, car jack unit.
When everything seems to be too perfect for this Trueno AE86, ...
... there was one incredibly obvious and huge dent caused by the accident he got into recently. But worry not, he probably get it fixed by now. :)
As a result of the chase I made towards the car, I was lucky to meet Mr T who was willing to share his story to the world and joining others to be a proud owner of this legendary Toyota sports car. I believe I have to continue 'chasing' towards 86 until the day I own one comes. :)
Thank you Mr T and your Trueno!