eighty-sixed

March 26, 2020 /// issue no. 86

Over a decade ago we started hearing rumours of a joint venture by Toyota and Subaru to build a sports coupe. The return of the Supra was just a glimmer in Akio Toyoda’s eye and enthusiasts knew they would be looking at the spiritual successor to the hachi-roku. Hachi-roku is eight-six in Japanese, referring to the chassis designation for the AE86 mid-80s Corolla coupes and hatchbacks. They featured high-revving inline-fours, light weight, and rear-wheel drive which made it the perfect platform for a plethora of motorsport endeavors.

I was stoked. As all normal humans do, I bought a domain name that I never did anything with and which I possibly still own. When the car came out in 2012 I found the first salesperson that would let me test drive a Subaru BRZ and took it up a (wide) mountain pass.

I wanted to love the car, but I couldn’t. It handled well, but someone at Toyobaru decided to give it less grippy tires from the factory than it should have. Something with the looks also felt too boy racer and I knew that I would struggle with the back seats as a dad. Having owned a tuned all-wheel drive turbo Subaru at the time, I also found the power to be lacking. It wasn’t just raw output, but also the delivery and drivetrain. A Miata lacks power but you feel connected with it even at low speeds. Perhaps it was because I was on a test drive and wanted to respect a brand new car for the next owner, but I just didn’t click with it.

The Toyobaru twins are now getting long in the tooth and when an enthusiast car nears ten years old I somehow start falling in love. The aftermarket support is amazing, they are buzzing my rear view mirror at the track, and I am approaching mid-life crisis so the 86s are starting to become very appealing. Not to mention the higher mileage examples are coming down in price enough to justify building a track beater. We’re all stuck inside so let’s figure out how to spend some money.

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If we are going to drive a boy racer car we should just go all out right? The Rocket Bunny widebody kits are seen on nearly every SEMA build, but we have to fit some wide TE37s under there.

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This is beyond what you and I will likely do, but this 3.0l V8 with a sequential transmission has been stuffed in to a BRZ and does sub-1:40 at Laguna Seca. That’s Motor Trend test driver Randy Pobst running Porsche’s at Laguna level. A huge Precision Turbo might be cheaper and get the same results.

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          style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);">
        </div>
        <div
          style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;">
        </div>
        <div
          style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);">
        </div>
      </div>
      <div style="margin-left: 8px;">
        <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div>
        <div
          style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg)">
        </div>
      </div>
      <div style="margin-left: auto;">
        <div
          style=" width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);">
        </div>
        <div
          style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);">
        </div>
        <div
          style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);">
        </div>
      </div>
    </div>
    <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;">
      <div
        style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;">
      </div>
      <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"></div>
    </div>
  </a>
</div>

We’ll add some Racecomp Engineering coilovers and some sticky Taiwanese tires. All in we would have spent less than $25k including the used donor car. That’s going to be less than the cost of the new GR86 when it comes in 2021. I have too many project cars at the moment so who can I help build this? Or better yet, anyone want to buy a 1999 Miata?

Coffee time,
Steven


daily automotive addiction.