86 Days Are The Best Days

If you have spent an extended time in Japan, you will appreciate a sunny spring day. This particular spring day was made even better with a Hachiroku drift event at Mobara Circuit.

Join me as I nerd out on 86-only mayhem.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-3-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-2-2

For the uninitiated, Mobara Circuit is a multi-purpose motorsports complex nestled just across Tokyo Bay in Mobara City, Chiba. While most know Mobara for its various drift and time attack competitions, the venue also hosts motorcycle and go-kart track days, most of which take place on the lesser-known short course track just off the side of the main circuit.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-17-2

Having attended my fair share of events at Mobara Circuit and being quite familiar with average AE86 power output, I was eager to see how these cars handled the ‘Gallery’ corner – a big sweeping left-hander onto the straight. Typically, this is the main judged zone in D1 Divisional and similar grassroots competitions. For anyone who hasn’t visited Mobara in person, it is difficult to convey on camera how much elevation change there is at this point on the track.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-11-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-24

Taking a stroll through the pits, there were more AE86s than you could poke a stick at. As expected, Team Mouse and Major Force were out in numbers, with some of the nicest-built and most recognisable cars. You would be kidding yourselves if you thought they would miss an event like this.

A friend of mine, Marcello, was driving at the event in his Garage Matsuyama-built Levin for the last time before returning home to Australia. While Marcello and the rest of Club 4AGE were charging hard for most of the day, it was sadly cut short for my Aussie counterpart when his Levin’s highly-strung engine threw off its timing belt, causing some piston-to-valve contact. Not good.

That’s the funny part about drifting, though. Despite the catastrophic failure, it was all smiles and laughs. I don’t think I would have been able to hold the same brave face if it had happened to me.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-5-2

If you’d like to check out more of the chaos in video format, I put together a short event recap which you can watch above.

Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-20-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-9-2
Mobara 86 Days - Speedhunters - Alec Pender-19

I think it is safe to say this 40-plus-year-old chassis isn’t going anywhere anytime soon when it comes to motorsport – especially drifting in Japan.

Alec Pender
Instagram: noplansco



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Makes me sad that these are percieved in North America as "weeb tax" or only desired due to a comic book. They're just fun to drive, and didn't sell well since they cost the same as a v8 mustang at the time

The guys I know with these cars have never read the comic book. They just like the setup
The engine was a copy of a Cosworth and the basic layout was similar to a 60s Alfa. Add in Toyota's amazing durability and you have a fun car that won't let you down.

Glad to see people still driving these cars. I know drifting isn't for everyone but at least they're seeing some use. My fav is the pink and white one in picture 31, would love to see more of that one


Cry. The market is the market, popularity grows through media and pop culture references, that you said youre "sad" is funny. It happens to all cars, and as popularity increases so can the aftermarket support and following for the car itself. Youre just being weird about it


I have one, just saddens me that you guys don't seem to understand or appreciate the car. Of course if I sold it to an American it's a plus for me


Having learned to drive in an early eighties Toyota I had been thinking about these cars. I know very little about them, am not familiar with the comic book. If I could find a good example to buy that’s not overpriced I’d buy it.