This special car came from the city of Ota, Gunma Prefecture, Japan. Sure, almost every 86 or BRZ in the world was made there, what is the big deal, you might say? Let us point you to the little giveaway on the upper left side of the windscreen… No, not the private hire car sticker, the JDM-as-you-can-get “Tenken seibi-zumi shiiru.”
“Tenken seibi-zumi shiiru” wha? Basically it is a small round sticker from a Japanese car dealer to remind owners of their next service. Unfortunately, the lack of a “Shaken” sticker (which is the official road tax label in Japan) lead us to believe that its bluff, until we saw the ISDB-T antennas next to it. Now, we’re pretty convinced that this car didn’t come in the same shipping container as the rest of the 86’es in Singapore, and we wonder why?
Because since two years ago, no one was selling a new 86. Well, there is still the BR-Z, but the 86 has arguably a better charm behind the name. Besides, Gunma Prefecture is where the actual tofu shop inspiration once existed, as well as being home to the Usui Pass, Mount Myogi, Akagi and Akina. The Initial D connection is strong, very strong. Toyota, the power of Manga.
That wraps up the quick intro to the 86 and the Gunma connection. Now, can a car change a person’s life? Quite literally, according to the owner who isn’t quite what you think. Coming from a non-car enthusiast background, the choice of buying a 86 was a brave, but a sideways slide from the intended life path.
It was the 86 that ignited his interest in cars, since he bought one which was slightly modified from the previous owner, who happened to be a person who was interested in drifting. While some aficionados moan about the 86’s lack of power, the car has all the right ingredients to make sideways motion a fun-filled weekend activity.
The 4.556 final drive switch keeps the N/A plant’s rpm range effective for both power and torque, and since the 86 has a factory close ratio gearing, this tiny modification makes a big difference in the performance of the 86. The limited slip differential was upgraded to a unit which has adjustable responsiveness and the locking characteristics to fine tune the car’s driving characteristics to his personal taste.
To further improve on the engine, the focus was more on increasing its responsiveness rather than outright power. A bigger snorkel and intake manifold spacer work to get as much cold air into the engine’s ports as much as possible by increasing the intake piping diameter and creating longer intake runners respectively. Running on the stock intake system, the filter was simply a drop in replacement in order to not to reduce the mid-range torque for daily drivability of the setup.
Of course, an 86 wouldn’t be an 86 if it never visited the tracks. To deal with the additional heat, an oil cooler and thermostat were installed for added oomph. Last but not least, while the quad outlet TRD exhaust system sounded good, the double outlet HKS exhaust system.. sounded much wilder and was a bit lighter than the quad option. Lightweight rules!
This coupe’s darty handling can only get better with beefy coilovers, further adjustments to the geometry were made possible with new lower control arms and a new trailing arm for positive traction under power. Stopping isn’t a problem for a car meant to go fast, but it was beefed with a master pump brace against flexing, feeding beefy front brakes which push ferocious-bite, high-temp pads onto big rotors. And for the second time, the door stabilizer.. Which we think have some real world purpose now since more 86/BRZ owners are installing them – the doors are pretty long.
A new 86 isn’t rare, but it sure is special. But to make it “specialer” will lie in the overall appearance. A medium-rise rear wing, aero fins from the TRD Performance range and a front splitter that aids the front aero ground-effect. Plus, an inspired black custom “86” stripe running down the length of the car, perhaps inspired by a very popular AE86…
From regular guy, to car guru, to active motorsport athlete. This is how a simple, RWD car can change a man’s life with more petro-testosterone, while being rather practical. You know the saying, the moment you start regret putting something up for sale, that is something you should keep for life…
Cusco 4.556 Final drive
Reverse lock out
Crawford BPB Intake Manifold Spacer
HKS drop in filter
HKS oil cooler
HKS carbon intake pipe
HKS exhaust system
16” Rays CE28N Red
17” Rays CE28N Black
Cusco Master pump brace
Cusco lower control arm
Cusco rear trailing arm
HKS Hipermax SP IV
AP Racing sprint kit
Dixcel front disc/Z pads
TRD front strut tower bar
TRD door stabilizer
Cusco Shift Spring
CF rear splitter trim
CF front fender aero fins
CF Sard rear wing