The chance of running into AE86 on the street is rather slim, as dated cars like these usually hide away from the sun and hardly come out due to many obvious reasons. However, there’s a time of the year in Malaysia when Hachiroku owners come together for one important meet.
Malaysian AE86 Community organised 'AE86 Gathering' at Bagan Lalang beach last year with an incredible 20-car turnout (Check our coverage here). This year Janda Baik in Pahang was picked as the main venue for its refreshing greenery and waterfall where everyone can relax and take a break from the stressful city.
What makes this trip so special for me compared to the one last year is the fact that I came to the event with a car that fits the occasion perfectly.
Most of the AE86 members were already at the meeting point by the time I arrived because they came a day earlier and stayed for the night enjoying water activities and a yummy barbecue dinner. Even though I could only make it on the following day, I was happy to see many familiar faces welcoming me and my new ride.
I was surprised that Mr Mohammad whom I met at Retro Havoc few months back also turned up in his left-hand-drive AE86, the only one in Malaysia. :)
I saw new faces at the gathering which is something I've always hoped for because the more the merrier and not to forget, we have a record of twenty 86s (at one place) to be broken in Malaysia.
The zenki panda Trueno (in red BBS wheels) belongs to a doctor who drove 6.5 hours from Kelantan just to be with us. Wow!
The total number of AE86 for 2015's gathering is eleven! :D
Eleven hachirokus doesn't seem to be a big number, but the 11-car sight was pretty amazing thing to behold and we also get to meet few new members who didn't get to join us last year.
With bonnets all up, everyone could take a closer look at what each other had done to their engine bay. I was drooling over their cars in and out applauding the huge effort, time and money they put in to make their cars so neat and tidy. There's so much for me to learn from the fellow 86 owners.
Anyway, here are eleven unique AE86 engine bays for you to appreciate at except for mine, which was the messiest and dirtiest one there. ^^"
To make the event more interesting and memorable, Malaysian AE86 Community held a friendly competition to search for the 'Best AE86' in their respective categories. Like the year before, they had awards like 'Best Exterior', 'Best Interior', 'Best Engine Bay', the prestigious 'Best of the Best', and the newly added 'Best 86 Owner' award.
The name Ah Zai is not uncommon anymore in Malaysia's AE86 scene. Everyone knows him (Center) for his love for this Toyota machine and his persistent effort to organise annual meet to keep the 86 community alive. Ah Zai doesn't do it for the money but purely out of passion, and that makes him a great mentor to look for.
Together with the rest of the experienced AE86 owners, Ah Zai and the team assessed the cars thoroughly, finding unique features that make it award-worthy. The only criteria was that last year's winners are ineligible for the this year's award. Will my 86 stand a chance? :D
After minutes of careful evaluation and discussion, the panel judges announced the winners of the 'Malaysian Best AE86' awards!
The 'Best Interior' award went to Mr Asmawi's kouki panda Trueno because of his nicely wrapped leather interior paired with a set of original BRIDE Low Max seats and TAKATA bright green seat belts. Asmawi's interior is an example of how modern additions can enhance the look inside an old car.
The Yoong brothers who own this perfect looking Levin (the only non pop-up AE86 that day) won the 'Best Exterior' award. With a car body looks like new, and bits of carbon fiber parts here and there, I can understand why it deserves one of the 'Best AE86' trophy.
There were many cars with great engine bays, but the judges awarded the 'Best Engine Bay' trophy to Mr Charles' white Sprinter for his meticulous effort in hiding the messy cables away, leaving only the clean rebuilt 20-valve black top 4A-GE engine coupled with new individual throttle bodies. Not to forget, the fresh paint in the engine bay.
The 'Best 86 Owner' is a new award added by Ah Zai to appreciate and acknowledge the one person who has been active and committed to the community since the very beginning, and that person was Mr Hatta, the owner of this dark gray AE86.
Hatta never fails to turn up in every 86 meeting available in Malaysia given at any circumstances. Like for instance, although he had an unlucky accident in his AE86 just a day before the Bagan Lalang gathering, he didn't give up coming and finds his way to meet us. We appreciate him for that. :)
The 'Best of the Best' award was presented to none other than the man who journeyed 8 hours to be part of the event, congratulations Mr Chin Siang! Siang, as many fellow members address him that way, has been driving this hachiroku for more than 11 years, and in that long period of time, everyone could see the love and devotion he has poured into his car.
Being the 'Best of the Best' means that your car had to superb in every aspects the judges see, Siang's car literally checks off all the criteria in the list. Perfect interior with no crack signs, turbocharged 4A-GE only means this car is fast, and zero rust body with certain aftermarket kit truly make this car stood out from the rest!
Congratulations again to the winners! :D
Looks like hayashi's 86 has a long way to go before I can actually achieve any one of the 'Best AE86' award. Yes, I shouldn't give up as I've just only gotten my dream a month ago.
"We ♥ AE86!" from Malaysian AE86 Community.
As the finale of the event, we 'touge' back down to the city before parting ways with fellow AE86 friends.
Finally, being a part of the AE86 community in the event brings a certain form of accomplishment in my life. I am glad to have met these 86 passionate guys because without them, I wouldn't be able to achieve my dream any sooner.
Thank you Malaysian AE86 Community for organising the hachiroku gathering, and I believe all of us will be looking forward to the next biggest 86 event in Malaysia in 2016! Calling for more local 86 owners, you are all invited! :D