86 Style in Fuji Speedway: Part 1 - The Old

When we think about which classic cars have the most following and  global recognition, the likes of R107 Mercedes SL, Nissan Skyline GT-R, Alpha Romeo Spider, or anything with a large screaming engine, and an even larger price tag come to mind.  It is therefore hard to imagine how a mass produced and affordable Toyota coupe with 1.6 litter engine and a Corolla badge fits into this category.  But reality is that the the 1983 Toyota Corolla Levin and its platform sharing sister Toyota Sprinter Trueno achieved just that.  Could chief engineer Nobuaki Katayama even imagine that his creation would be turned into such a cult classic on global scale? To this day the Hachiroku is enjoying incredible following and features in movies, video games, and TV shows,  On top of that the car has what appears to be an ever growing tuning and modification market. Indeed the Hachiroku is a one of a kind classic, and a true legend of Japanaese auto industry.
It has become a tradition to celebrate this car on 6th of August, and with the revival of the brand name with the new BRZ/86/FRS, the celebration of the Hachiroku got even more significant.
It has become a quite a massive celebration in true style, as at the weekend closest to the 6th of August the proud owners of this car have the whole Fuji Speedway to themselves.

The event included many track runs from casual controlled joy-rides to full-on race events.

Some rides had evidence of lots of track miles underneath them as this AE86 Corolla Levin Coupe with a large dent on its door from  a side-by-side resulting in a wheel-to-door.

When not racing these high-end Hachiroku's were in the garage, attended to in preparation to next run.  It was a truly amazing experience to get a close look at these monsters.

After spending some time at the paddocks I cannot think of any car that would have such huge after market following.  It is hard to believe that many of these race-car resembling machines were a stock 1.6 liter Toyota Corolla's at some point of time.  I have picked a few of machines that show just how special the AE86 is.
The racy aggressive stance of this Sprinter Trueno Coupe is very impressive.  With wide fenders and these fat tires I can only imagine how quickly it can go around corners.
Then there is the legendary 86 from the Wangan Midnight days.  I love the way it is kept as it was in early 90's. I wonder if we ever get to see it in action. again.

But some owners prefer to go after aesthetics and despite having race characteristics such as wider tires and fenders as well as functional rear wing, they install extra weight to support the Lambo doors.  Well, whatever rocks their boat.
But other owners are convinced that the beauty is within... But still manage to find a way to show it off.  A body reinforcing after market strut bar, modified ignition wiring and carbon intake indicate that a lot work was put into this car, but nothing stands out more than a transparent timing belt casing.  
Some owners, however, prefer to keep their cars as is and give a friendly wink to remind us that the beauty of this car is not determined by how much after market parts can be fitted on one set of wheels.
But, by how awesome and at the same time simple these cars are. This owner put an extra emphasis on this by investing time and money to restore his 86 Sprinter Trueno to its showroom look.  Everything from the engine, to wheels, to polished exhaust, even to the radio and speakers are restored and cleaned spotless to its stock look.  When cars like these appear on such events it is becoming evident that the AE86 is a true classic.
Overall, the turnout of the classic 86's have been impressive this year.  Of  course the coming together of such scale has only been made possible by the revived 86, also known as Subaru BRZ, and Scion FRS.  Part 2 of this coverage will feature the modifications of these taken to the next level.  Please check back soon for update.
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