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1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex - Get in Where You Fit in

Robert Limtiaco was born and raised in America, but you wouldn’t have guessed it with his sick Hachiroku!

Aug 19, 2015
Photographer: Jofel Tolosa

I might have lied... Earlier in this issue, I told you my favorite car from our Tokyo Fresh meet was Takuya Takahashi's Levin coupe. But I had a tough choice. A car that equally broke my neck was Robert Limtiaco's Hachiroku. His Levin-converted Sprinter Trueno looked immaculate with lustrous burgundy paint, rare fenders made by Impulse, and extremely wide Works CR01s. But wait a minute... "Robert?" That doesn't sound Japanese at all! Upon meeting the young owner, I quickly found out he's not Japanese, speaks English, and even lived in Vegas for 15 years before moving to Texas. At 19, he picked up everything and decided to relocate to Japan to work for the military. With no language barrier between us, it was cake setting up a photo shoot with him and even easier to get to know him.

1984 toyota sprinter trueno gt apex oe zenki rear bumper Photo 2/17   |   1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex - Get in Where You Fit in

Robert grew up like many of us. In middle school, he was into chasing girls and skateboarding. He got his first taste of cars from an older cousin who owned a Prelude. He also credits The Fast and Furious for peaking his interest. Of course, he eventually learned that modified cars weren't all about underglow neon and NOS. When he was old enough to drive, he immersed himself into the Honda scene, and well, I'll let Robert tell you the rest!

1984 toyota sprinter trueno gt apex 4age engine Photo 3/17   |   4A-GE is still stock minus an exhaust. Robert promises us a full rebuild this summer!

SS: So your AE86 is quite pimp, but what were you driving before?

RL: Before I graduated high school back in the States, my dad made a bet with me because I was fuckin' up in school. He told me to get good grades and he'd get me a car—so I did! Haha. I ended up getting a DC5 and built that up until I left. It was my first build with full suspension, audio, brakes, and a GReddy turbo making 290 whp. I showed the car at Wekfest and two weeks later, I was in Japan!

SS: Coming from the U.S. to Japan, how is it building a car here?

RL: Building a car in Japan as an American can be difficult—the language barrier mainly. It's hard to talk to individuals in the scene unless they speak English, and I can't read shit, so it's hard to sometimes find what I need. Besides that, though, Upgarage and used parts stores are big out here. Yahoo! Auctions Japan is another good place—deals pop up often. Used wheels are cheap as shit compared to the States, too.

1984 toyota sprinter trueno gt apex sam du robert limtiaco Photo 7/17   |   You know we’re American when we blockin’ the bus lane outside of the train station for this picture.

SS: Where does the story of this AE86 start?

RL: After being a Honda guy, I wanted to try a different platform and experience sliding. I got my orders to Japan and knew I had to learn to slide out here. Back in the States, I had always tried to pick up an 86, but being in Texas, there wasn't much nearby, and I never found one. Before I settled on an 86 here in Japan, I considered everything from a Silvia, R32 GTS-T, Cresta, Chaser, and Laurel. I think what made me finally land on an 86 was watching the driving style 86 owners had in Japanese drift videos. Then I saw a super-clean 86 built by a Japanese local—that really made me want one.

1984 toyota sprinter trueno gt apex oe levin kouki headlights Photo 8/17   |   1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex - Get in Where You Fit in

SS: And now you have built one! Was it as hard as you thought?

RL: Haha! So where to begin... I guess the hardest thing would be dealing with a 30-year-old chassis. Rust for one, and two, finding OEM parts that have been long discontinued. If you find them, they're pretty expensive. From a foreigner standpoint, the hardest thing can be attaining parts due to the language barrier and just being new to Japan. I luckily got introduced to Masato Hamanaka, a 4AG Club member, who speaks English and has been the backbone to my build for parts. Like all the 4AG Club members who have been doing this stuff since around their high school years, he has all the connects and local respect that I don't have. Huge credit goes to him for the build.

SS: What's your favorite part about the car?

RL: Kind of hard to pick! I'm pretty excited for this motor build, which I'm trying to throw down before the end of this year. But if not that, then I guess maybe the Work wheels. Inspiration I drew for this car came a lot from the wild, super-aggressive S-chassis builds you see all the time. Wild flares and aero, super-fat three-piece wheels—that's what I wanted. I wanted as much low and lip as I could get, and I think I did a pretty decent job at achieving that.

1984 toyota sprinter trueno gt apex hula girl dash ornament Photo 12/17   |   1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex - Get in Where You Fit in

SS: You've now built a car in the U.S. and Japan. How do the scenes compare?

RL: The States simply just can't compare. California is the closest we'll ever have to Japan, but even then, Japan is still on a completely different level, and it's something that's hard to really explain unless you come out here and experience it for yourself. Before I came out here, I already knew all the hype we put on it in the import scene and whatnot, but Japan lives up to that hype and then some! Between the touge, circuits, drifting, time attack, events, street culture...Japan has it all and goes hard in all aspects.

1984 toyota sprinter trueno gt apex impulse n2 rear fender flares Photo 13/17   |   1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno Gt Apex Impulse N2 Rear Fender Flares
1984 toyota sprinter trueno gt apex bride zeta iii seat Photo 17/17   |   1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex - Get in Where You Fit in
Sam Du
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813 Articles
1984 Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-Apex - Get in Where You Fit in
Tuning Menu
Owner: Robert Limtiaco
Hometown: Las Vegas, NV (now living in Japan)
Occupation: computer technician
Engine: Upgarage 60mm straight pipe exhaust with dual tips; TRD spark plug wires
Drivetrain: TRD two-way limited-slip differential
Footwork & Chassis: Largus Spec S coilovers with 8K front and 6K rear springs; adjustable panhard rod and front strut bar
Wheels & Tires: 15x9" -31 front, 15x9.5" rear -37 Work Meister CR01 wheels with custom Lightning Silver finish; 195/45R15 front, 195/50R15 rear tires
Exterior: OE Levin Kouki headlights, corner lights and foglights; Run Free Type II front bumper; Origin Streamline side skirts; OE Zenki rear bumper; Kouki rear trunk garnish; Impulse N2 25mm front, 40mm rear flares; custom Mitsubishi-based paint
Interior: Bride Zeta III and Digo Type R seats; Nardi 330mm Deep Corn Wood Grain steering wheel; Boss hub adapter; Hitman 125mm shift knob; Techno Toy Tuning spin turn knob; OE Levin window visors; Carrozzeria head unit and rear speakers
Thanks you: The Man upstairs; Masato Hamanaka at Quick Response Garage; Ishida Kimiyoshi; Namiko Mitsuhashi; Ricky Parrish; Robanni Quedding; Yusuke, Ryohei and Mizuki at Y's Garage; my family and friends for all their support

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