It's no secret that the AE86 is a cult classic. Despite being underpowered, it's still highly sought after for drifting and various other motorsports. Every year a handful of die-hard 86 enthusiasts gather for a track event simply called 86 Matsuri. Their track of choice is the infamous Grange Motor Circuit in Apple Valley, Calif. About an hour and half northeast of Los Angeles, you'll find the 14-turn kart track, but what Google Maps won't mention is the mile-and-half dirt road leading to the track, littered with rocks and potholes, that will force you to hold back your inner Jeremy Clarkson.
Event organizer Andrew Goodluck says, "It really started out a few years ago when 10-15 of us Corolla guys got together and had the idea of celebrating my birthday drifting, which happens to fall on August 6th. I never expected it to grow as big as it's gotten over the past couple years." This year over 60 drivers signed up for the matsuri and not all of them were Southern California-based, either. In fact, a handful of drivers made12-hour trips just to take part in the event.
Of course, tracking a 30-year-old car comes with its own set of challenges. As you can imagine, some of the cars broke down, but like any drift gathering, there's a sort of camaraderie that helped to get the cars back on the track. This isn't your ordinary drift event where you'd pack up and leave after a few hours of drive time. This was a 5pm to 5am event, which meant night drifting and brewskies until dawn. Andrew explains, "When I got into the community it was a giant family. People would give parts away just to help somebody get their car back on the road or make a track event, and over the years it just kind of died down and people started going their own way, creating their own little groups of people. The community seemingly started falling apart. I'm hoping events like this would bring everybody back together the way things were when I first got into it."
So what is it that possesses people like myself to drive an underpowered, not to mention expensive, car to fix? We're not sure that has one specific answer. All we know is it's not just for fame or delivering tofu.