Hachiroku Life: Shibuya In An AE86
That Night On The Touge

Things in life happen for a reason, although it usually takes a certain amount of time to realise this. The notion is something Robert – the owner of the AE86 I’m about to show you – recently became aware of. Upon landing in Japan he had some clear intentions: get himself a Hachiroku, learn how to drift, and just enjoy the lifestyle while serving in the country.

It didn’t take him long to find a nice Sprinter Trueno, and within a few weeks of ownership the chance came up to hit the local touge and see what the car could do. Drifting is a hard discipline to master – it takes dedication and a ton of practice to get to a decent level where you can hang the back out in total control. Unfortunately, Robert found out the hard way, and his first expedition to the mountains resulted in an unexpected encounter with a guardrail.


The front end of his Trueno took a real beating, but all things considered he was pretty lucky that no structural damage was done to the chassis. It was an unforeseen setback, but after swallowing a bit of pride Robert dived head-first into the task at hand – getting his Trueno back on the street as soon as possible.


By the time the car was finished six weeks after the unforgettable night, it had something like six of seven different colours on it with panels and parts sourced from a variety of places.


The biggest visual change, however, was the transformation to a fixed-headlight Corolla Levin front, which because of the difference in design meant that Robert also had to change out the bonnet and fenders. This was okay, because the latter were going to look cool with the Run Free flares that he had always pictured his car wearing. But just as he was about to order the aero parts, he had a change of mind.


He noticed that Impulse had just released a set of new over-fenders that looked pretty fresh and unlike anything else out there for the AE86. Even better, they were only available for the Levin version, which made Robert smile for the first time in a while after all he had gone though with his car. He ordered the parts and sat back and waited, thinking about what single colour he would end up going with.


Fast forward a few more weeks – the fenders arrived and were quickly fitted, and at the same time Robert added a Run Free Type II front bumper and Origin side skirts.


A zenki rear bumper completed the transformation and the car was whisked off to paint where it was sprayed in a deep red metallic Mitsubishi based hue.


It was a long wait, but finally the car was looking as it was supposed to. That’s pretty much when I first met Rob – first seeing his car floating around on my Facebook feed and then meeting him in person at Daikoku PA.


‘Dude, we have to get your car shot as soon as possible’, is what I remember telling him – something that he was down to do as soon as his new motor package was in the car. A few more months passed and I was glad I waited, because as with many of the coolest cars we feature here on Speedhunters, things aren’t always quite so straight forward…

An AE86 In Shibuya

Robert and I decided to meet in central Tokyo and drive around to immortalise his car in the nation’s capital – something that would also serve as a memory for him, as early next year he is due to move down to Okinawa to serve out the rest of his post in Japan. I love shooting cars in contrasting locations, and as we sat there looking at the AE86 under the glistening lights of Shibuya, it attracted more looks and attention than any shiny new European import could ever muster in this part of the city. The attention was also coming from the police who drove past a coupe of times, rubber-necking to get a closer look at the military-issued license plate that Robert has folded – I mean, accidentally bent up at the front…


Under the combined neon glow that lights up this area of Tokyo after dark like it’s daytime, the Levin front end truly looks its best.


Thankfully, Robert opted to go for a two-tone motif on the front bumper, extending the black lower section into the bolted-on Impulse front flares.


It’s a great look and far better suited to the car than a single tone colour would be.


Nailing the right sort of stance was what came next. The car had to sit low for the obvious visual impact, but at the same time Robert didn’t want it to be a pain to drive around. That’s where the Run Free and Origin aero really help out.  Thanks to the flared-out lower section they make the car seem lower than it really sits, so it was only really the wheel fitment that had to be nailed. Up front, in went a set of Largus Spec S coilovers, with a short set of springs to get the fenders sitting just right with the wheels.


It’s actually the first time that I’ve seen a set of Star Road Glow Stars fitted to an AE86, and the mesh look suits the Impulse over-fender-equipped car beautifully.


The Work-made wheels are fitted in 15×9.5-inch with a -22 offset both front and rear, and are shod in 195-section Toyos. To get the car to sit nice and flat, Robert resorted to a temporary fix by cutting the rear springs.


The idea was to get the car looking just right for Wekfest Japan in Nagoya at the beginning of last month, and worry about sorting that stuff out at a later date when time wasn’t so much of a constraint.


That’s because Robert had other things to finish off first…


The engine – this is what I had been waiting for and I’m glad I did as the bay totally lives up to the standard set by the exterior.


Robert picked up a fresh AE101 4A-G block fitted with 81.5mm pistons which was then mated to a 16-valve head – duly ported and polished to get the most volume of air in and out of the combustion chambers. The head also came fitted with a set of Toda Racing valve springs and a pair of HKS camshafts and adjustable pulleys.


Channeling air into the engine are AE101 quad throttle bodies fitted with machined velocity stacks. These really come into action above 4,000rpm, delivering that unmistakably-intense yon-a-g induction noise.


However, it’s the exhaust side that really characterises this particular car – Fujitsubo headers running into a 60mm straight-through system. Let’s just say it’s far too loud for use in central Tokyo, but then again, that is exactly what made it so fun on this particular night.


The rest of the engine bay has been cleaned up and fitted with quality additions like a Cusco strut tower bar and a set of Spitfire ignition leads.


We could have stood there looking at the engine and chatting about future upgrades well into the night, but it was about time to drop the bonnet and get moving before the police made another appearance…

Reggae Soul

Our next destination was a quieter area of the city where I could finish taking a detailed look at the rest of the car without any interruptions.


On the passenger side Robert runs a pair of Work Meister CR-01s finished off with silver centers. These wheels are so well suited to the AE86 that it makes picking a favourite side pretty damn hard, and perhaps the reason why Robert went for both sets! This is how the car was shown at Wekfest – a very show-oriented setup but one that adds rather than taking away anything from the car.


Robert plans to keep running the CR-01s as his main wheels but the Glow Stars will serve as the spare rears when he hits the track.


That’s because, despite that little mishap that happen on the touge, Robert hasn’t given up on the idea of learning how to drift. The only difference is, he will now do so on the track rather than out on the open road.


As we parked up in front of another spot I noticed the car runs a 4AG Club sticker on the back – a group that the guys from N-Style out in Gunma set up.


Robert’s AE86 oozes character inside too. The maroon trim and carpeting is a great match to the color he selected for the exterior and it just screams ’80s!


There are, however, some modern and not so modern additions that Robert has thrown in there to give it all a personal touch. The Bride seats, for example, are a necessity – they hold you firm and especially so for the driver thanks to the fixed-back design. Robert always keeps a steady stream of reggae playing through the Carrozzeria speakers – something that is echoed with the multi-coloured lights of the instrumentation.


The wood-rimmed Nardi is a great final touch – a mix of modern and vintage all rolled into one.


Robert also has a couple of #FeatureCar stickers as well now, but he couldn’t quite figure out where to stick them that night.


With the clock ticking away Robert has only one goal now that the AE86 is completed, and that’s do a lot of driving. Before he journeys down south in the car he wants to attend as many shows, meets and trackdays as he can possibly can.


Had Robert not kissed the guardrail that night, the car would be looking rather different by now. AE86s are cool in all variations and styles, but it turns out that an Impulse-kitted Levin stands out a hell of a lot more than a Trueno running popular Run Free aero. It’s funny how things happen sometimes, but a lot of the time you might as well just assume that it was all for a reason. It all makes sense then…

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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cool car, but.....wants to learn to drift, crashes, spends a fortune on aesthetic parts that will 100% get ruined while learning to drift......Id gladly bet this 86 will never see a track.

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Oh I wish Hachis weren't so bloody expensive here in Australia, this thing makes me want one soooo bad. I'm the kind of person who likes this 'understated' style in 80s-90s Japanese cars, just suits them just right!
Love the photos too Dino! Awesome!




Who cares if the car ever gets tracked. Besides take the guys word for it. Ur basically calling the dude a liar. The car is G as F***, has $$$ parts, so im sure this guy can afford to repair again if he bangs it up a bit.


One skids bins it turns into a lifestyler.


Your articles are what keep me coming back here, Dino. Fantastic images and article.


clevernamehere This, so many times this.


Where could I get one of those fans that he has on the dash?! Awesome AE86 and great article too


The best.


.on15s. I googled "car fan" and this looks just like the one he has http://www.walmart.com/ip/6-Car-Fan/16421414


right car on the right scene...very nice photoshoot DIno!


You went to Shibuya in a Hachiroku and didn't take a photo of Hachiko.
I'm not upset, just disappointed.


@Shaunock Given the fact that Hachiko is a statue in front of a train station with a bunch of trees surrounding it, would make it literally IMPOSSIBLE to take a photo of the statue with the car still in the shot. So no. This comment doesn't make sense. I personally love the location of the photos, highlights the cars amazing paint job and details well. Nice job Dino!


He's running Sliptfire (not spitfire) ignition leads. I had to say it, ocd flows strong, please forgive me!


It's pretty impressive that a guy from the States actually knows cars outside big V8's with skinny front tires....


Great picture with the WEGO sign! :)

Guransh Singh



Very cool car, I'm not especially into 86s, but this has a really nice visual balance, and Dino as usual your photos really do it justice... Best of luck at the second attempt of learning to drift!

Steve Hayward

Wonderful photos once again, Dino.  Those first few photos seem so stereotypically Japanese to this Gaijin, but that's only a compliment.


What about different corner weight considering different rims?


He is certainly immersing himself in the all out style they run with in J-pan. I dig these pics more then the day pics I have in my printed issue in the mail.

Nice work keeping it interesting even though I have seen it before, sans wheels and new motor.


Tell him to look up Russ when he gets to Okinawa. He'll know him. Russ has a white 86.


Tonioseven I'm sure he's reading the comments here :)


@Whoshot  Are you talking about Super Street?


Mechanophile They were fitted for the show


Steve Hayward Haha well they probably are, but Shibuya side streets really are like that lol


JonathanW Thanks!


koko san Haha thanks, that guy with the hat really added to the feel


greenroadster Let's keep the generalisations down shall we lol


@Shaunock Do you mean the Hachiko crossing?


Krakatau Thank you!:)


Krakatau Thank you!:)


Krakatau Thank you!:)


.on15s. Autobacs or Upgarage


earmenau Thank you all, too kind :)


@streetheros He'll be back to the drifting,...


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner Thanks!


@milano Honestly does it even matter. If you work had and build the car you want, does anything else really matter?


Your night shoots are always my favorite. I don't know why, but they always have something special about them. Maybe it's Japan.


this is just so UH!!


Chris 'Haffy' Hafner I am getting very tired of the people complaining about AE86 prices in Aus. Is 12-15k AUD really crazy for a great condition JDM car. You can get a 4age converted Adm 86 with rims and suspension for 7-8k. What would you rather spend you 7k on a mild 86 that is a piece of history and means something or a 2007 Toyota Yaris? I don't get it.


Pwain Thanks, and yeah Tokyo at night is very unique


Beautiful shots and article, Dino! This AE86 is a true work of art.


Great Article speedhunters_dino as always.

For some reason this car didnt grab me like other AE86's, cant quite put my finger on it. I can see the love, care and effort put in and I respect that.

Anyway who cares not my car and as long as it makes Robert happy thats all that counts.


mightygood Chris 'Haffy' Hafner I was thinking the same, they really aren't expensive compared to many other places in the world, NZ Uk/Ireland etc

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

Have a look around guys, anything under 10k is a flogged out hack 10k is a lot of money in this day of age. Besides AE86s are getting very hard to find, and as usual the 'Takumi tax' and everyone wanting too much for their junk has pretty much ruined it here in Aus.
I'll leave this pic off a car selling site and no the K's are NOT a typo.


9 grand for a 86 with coilovers, r31 diff, ecu and fresh rebuilt 4agze. I don't see a problem.


What do you mean by "fresh AE101 4A-G block" ? As in new block from OEM factory??


TEC No as in bought online lol


willis85 speedhunters_dino Thanks! Why is that?


Project13b Arigato!


Well done once again.  True story of how we should never give up and keep looking forward even though we're put in tough situations.


Beautiful photography, your really bought out the cars true character and further enhanced the stunning colour of the car by having the street lights reflect and bounce off the paint like that. Very much enjoyed the shoot, thanks!.


Nice interior shot, reading the seat Bride Stitch in the rear mirror! :)


Once again Dino did a awesome job. As for Robert and his Hachi, well when you get here in Okinawa we have 86 club that a few americangins are envolved in as well as we just open a track on north part of island
Nice ride and enjoy the road


You must be confused with the my comment and the one above mine. I agree with what ur saying 100%. I was responding to the comment from hypodermic who said the car wont be tracked. I basically said why not? He can fix it again if it bangs it up.


speedhunters_dino http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachik%C5%8D 
The coolest dog ever :)

Chris 'Haffy' Hafner

So no AE86 left in it? Price is then for the parts not the car.


thats a perfect setup, looks amazing


Tonioseven You'd be surprised at how many Panda AE86's there are rolling around Oki.


I wish we could take pictures like this 



I read the Porsche Driving School article prior to this one... While reading through that, I felt compelled to say "man... those are really nice. Always wanted to teach ride and drives and to work for Porsche would be a dream come true. But then I clicked on Hachiroku Life. I couldn't help myself but say.." that cars' f***kin sick! ". This is why I enjoy following Speedhunters. Such variety, such amazing shots in cool natural environments. Its like driving past a car that you've spotted before and finally getting the opportunity to know whats up on a one on one with the owner. Not being nosey.. just 2 guys talking cars.


What color is that called? And what is the paint code for the color?


@j_kouki Thanks for the great feedback!


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