How To Modernise An ’80s Icon

There were countless examples of vehicular enhancement baking under the Japanese summer sun at Fuji Speedway last weekend; shouty paint jobs, oversized wheels and polished bays all glinting, begging for attention. Flashy they may be, but I generally believe that a subtle, period-correct approach can’t be beat – especially for an iconic classic like the AE86.

This particular Hachiroku I spotted at Fuji 86 Style was unique in that it took tried and tested ingredients and mixed them with a dash of modern modification style – a recipe that can often end in tears if not executed with finesse.

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Starting with my personal favourite combination of a Trueno front end (pop-up lights) and notchback rear was a good move, but what’s really neat here is the subtle box-style flaring of the front and rear fenders.

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It’s hard to argue with RS Watanabes for the rolling stock. In fact, pick any Japanese car from the ’70s or ’80s and you could do a lot worse than a set of the eight-spoke, low offset wheels. Less conventional for a car of this vintage are the large adjustable wing and underbody diffuser, hinting that this car spends time on the other side of the barriers at Fuji Speedway, too.

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Bar the wing, the black aerodynamic aids blend into the two-tone paint and retain the car’s visual balance quite nicely. For an owner genuinely chasing lower lap times, eventually aero has to enter the equation, and I think this creation shows that it doesn’t need to come at the expense of a clean aesthetic. You might also spy the larger slotted rear brakes hiding behind the wheels; there’s no doubt this is a comprehensive performance build, and worthy of its spot in the show area.

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Based on observations during my time at Fuji, replacing the original 16-valve engine with a newer 20-valve unit is a contender for most popular AE86 modification, and it’s easy to see why. The final and ultimate evolution of the 4A-GE engine provides an easy transplant that offers higher compression, better ports and variable valve timing in addition to independent throttle bodies with fuel injection – pretty spectacular specifications for a factory Toyota engine that is easy to find and modify. On that note, upgraded injectors, extractors, velocity stacks and some internal upgrades lift this 1.6L unit to new performance heights.

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A quick peek inside confirmed that the factory interior trim remains largely intact, albeit with the obligatory additions of a dished steering wheel, aftermarket front seats and a bevy of gauges mounted on the dash. The rollcage, however, is a reminder that although this Trueno might be comfortable on the street, it longs for the racetrack.

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The only thing that left me slightly perplexed was the replacement of the original ‘TRUENO’ decals around the car with almost identical ‘DRUENO’ decals. All I can come up with is that perhaps the owner is a doctor from Tokyo’s Ueno district… Readers, any ideas?

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I think the original spirit of the Hachiroku is still very intact with this example – it’s just been expertly enhanced in the right areas to bring performance into the modern era. I’d made the mistake of thinking I’d seen it all when it comes to the AE86 chassis, but sometimes it’s nice to be proven wrong.

Blake Jones
Instagram: blaketjones
blakejones.90@gmail.com

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1

Also a big fan of notchback trueno 86's. Looks like it'd be a blast to drive!

2

That has to be one of the cleanest 86's that I've ever seen..great spotlight.

3

dat lucky star decal on the side

4

That 'D' on the replaced Trueno could well be an 'O',


I know it's chasing lap times, but it would look perfect without that rear wing!

5

By far the best looking  box flares I've ever seen.

6
turbo BEAMS ae86

i love ae86
i will never rest
nice ride
love 20v, sound like no other 4cyl

7

Very clean and nice and lovely.

8

Personally not a fan of the rear wing, I know it's use is function, but it's not aesthetically pleasing to have something that rounded on a boxy car.

9
turbo BEAMS ae86

agree there

10

after owning one of the notch backs once I can say for sure that they are a blast to drive. Its to bad the chassis was rotted on mine. I cant wait to own another or two.

11

Elonexx 
I was thinking the same. The O at the end matches the first letter

12

There's a toy car in the engine bay!

13
awesomefearwave

JakWhite i must be blind. i don't see it in the bay.

14

awesomefearwave JakWhite front left of valve cover.  small replica panda.

15

gilbertsonkurt awesomefearwave JakWhite hot damn, its the dipstick pull handle

16
awesomefearwave

rdevereux gilbertsonkurt awesomefearwave JakWhite damn. that's such a cool accent. its cute, yet it's amazingly cool to pick something up like that.

17

DRUENO = trueno + the "initial D". ;)

18

It's on my bucket list to drive a 20v engine'd AE86.
Closest so far is I drive a 9th Gen manual Corolla as a daily. A lot more fun revving through the entire rev range than I'd like to admit lol.

19

"ORUE-NO, meaning "its mine" in Japanese. My guess.

20

bakayaru even if that's wrong, you're a genius for thinking of it!

21

@guest ah, I think that might be it then!

22

@Nick Agreed, and thanks!

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30

That license plate though...

31

Just simply cannot get tired of this car. The toy replica dipstick totally made my day.

32

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35

DRUENO = A combination of "drift" and "Trueno"?

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I am japanese.
Sorry! I can not english.
This TORENO is My friend's car.
I made this decals.
"DRENO" is wrong.
"ORENO" is good.
"ORENO" is english say "it's mine!"
This decal is a joke of the meaning to say "This TORENO is mine."
Thank you! :)

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50

Matt Wood I agree - it's the only thing on this build I wouldn't consider doing myself.  It definitely doesn't spoil it for me though. Hehehehehe.

52

"the subtle box-style flaring of the front and rear fenders"  would be the j-blood over fenders the car has fitted. Surprised you didn't pick up on this since there's even the company logo on the window...

53

Matt Burgess i23sonny  It`s an engine not invincible phallus of instant 4ag doom like it`s made out to be :)
Oil change once a month (and every time you drive at the track), OEM oil filters, always let it warm up before you drive, don`t bash the rev-limiter, air filter around the stacks if you ditch it a lot at the track.

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