On a normal month-to-month basis, there will come a time during that month where we writers get our "monthly gift". Women call it their menstrual cycle while we writers call it "work". Similar to the female persuasion, "work" causes cramps as well and we, too, get moody. What causes this emotional roller coaster? Well, typical protocol at work is when we receive our assignments of what cars to write about, and that is usually accompanied by a tech sheet. These tech sheets are basically our keys to everything we need to know about the cars we write about.
Usually they're filled out in a very detailed fashion and make our jobs easy. There are some cases, though, when they're barely filled out or there just isn't one at all. The cars that typically lack the proper information are the ones from Japan or other countries overseas. The language barrier presents quite the conundrum and we either don't understand what they're communicating to us, or it's just outright lost in translation.
In the case of this AE86 Corolla that you see laid out before you, there was little to no information. There are times when we can just call the owner to ask them everything we need to know, but a contact number wasn't included and even so, our paychecks aren't sizable enough to where we can call Japan. To say that there were many sleepless nights as a result of doing research on this 86, would be an understatement. Luckily, everything we needed was available online (for the most part).
This AE86 may not look familiar in its current livery, but it has a bit of history. In fact, it has even appeared in Super Street once before when it was the Vaka-mon/Speedmaster demo vehicle and piloted by the infamous and internationally known Eiji "Tarzan" Yamada. Tarzan was actually the previous owner and Yaso Hashimoto, who currently owns the 86, was his former manager. Hashimoto is probably best known for coming up with the paint and graphics scheme for the Cyber Evo.
What's really interesting about this Corolla Levin is that it may make appearances at all the major drifting events in Japan, but its main purpose isn't to go sideways. Deemed "Kousokjin" or "High-Speed Man-Car", this Toyota spends most of its days now making runs through the East Nippon Expressway.
For those that aren't familiar with Japan, you may not know that their highway system is completely privatized. This means that every time someone wants to go on the highway, they have to pay a toll to a company that maintains and operates it. In the Kanto, Tohoku and Hokkaido regions of Japan, toll fees are paid to the East Nippon Expressway Company or abbreviated as "NEXCO East".
NEXCO East came up with the ingenious idea to create the E-NEXCO Pass. With an electronic toll collection machine installed inside the vehicle, drivers can pass through toll gates without having to stop by merely sliding their E-NEXCO Pass card; this saves commuters time and allows them to speed through. The E-NEXCO Pass also doubles as a credit/Visa card and whenever it is used, points are gained, which can also be used to pay highway tolls.
NEXCO East commissioned Mr. Hashimoto to have this AE86 built for their introductory campaign for the E-NEXCO Pass. They wanted the drift livery and race car look to represent how Pass-owners can speed through toll gates with ease, hence the 'Kousokjin' or High-Speed Man-Car namesake. Their entire campaign was centered on the Levin making stops at different service areas throughout the region with a half-rabbit/half-man mascot in leather boots that promoted the E-Nexco Pass. An online community catered to new NEXCO Pass owners where they could discuss their experiences and see information on Hashimoto's speedy demo Corolla.
The Vaka-mon white and Maziora purple livery from before didn't match the NEXCO green scheme so Hashimoto sent the 86 to Car Service Hiro for a complete repaint. A simple green wasn't going to cut it so Yaso decided to go with the Peridot green-to-gold coat from Maziora's Jewel-Collection line. To make it standout more, Izumi Kai was commissioned to do the pinstriping on the body as well as the Japanese dragon motif done with gold leaf. The previous Vertex aero, Run Free bonnet and rear wing remain.
NEXCO East didn't just want the 86 to look fast; they also wanted it to actually be fast. It's actually a bit of an odd choice to pick an old Corolla to be the fast car considering what the Japanese have available to them. When NEXCO was asked about it, they stated that the Corolla was chosen because it was a nostalgic vehicle that both young and older generations could relate to. Plus, seeing a fast Corolla would have the general public believing that they were all the fastest in East Japan. You have to remember that the campaign transcends the tuning car community within Japan and not everyone knows the legend of the Hachi-Roku.
Studio Mix was generous enough to present Hashimoto with a gift: a black-top 20 valve 4A-GE. Mr. Kaneko, a 40-year-old engine specialist from CAM, was in charge of assembling and installing the 4AG.
This AE86 may look and perform like a drift car, but it definitely is not. We wouldn't doubt that it would be a pretty formidable opponent at a pro drift event though. Yaso Hashimoto chose a different fate for his now nearly 30-year-old Toyota Corolla-retirement. Besides making limited appearances and being immortalized as a limited edition E-NEXCO toy car, it's simply a daily commuter. Yaso blogs online about his daily adventures as an aspiring golfer and often includes pictures of his 86 simply getting him from point A-B.
1985 Toyota Corolla
Owner Yaso Hashimoto
Hometown Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
Occupation Restaurant Owner & Musician
Engine 1995 1.6L 20-valve 4A-GE; custom individual throttle-bodies with K&N air filters; Mekaru carbon-fiber ITB induction box; oil filter relocation kit; Blitz oil cooler; Martian Crate exhaust system; FK/Massimo Racing Team engine oil; Billion radiator cap; Peridot Maziora paint-matched valve cover by Car Service Hiro
Drivetrain Exedy single plate racing clutch; TRD limited-slip differential
Suspension & Chassis Bilstein coilovers with Hyperco coilover springs; Cusco front shock tower bar
Brakes Endless Brakes
Wheels & Tires 16-inch Panasport G7-C8R; 205/45R16 ADVAN Neova
Exterior Vertex body kit; Run Free hood bonnet and rear wing; Bliss Glass clearcoat paint; Peridot Maziora paint by Car Service Hiro; Beans window film; Bomex graphics; pinstriped Japanese motif and dragon done in gold leaf by Izumi Kai
Interior Safety 21/Cusco rollbar; Willans safety harness; Mu-Len seats; Vertex steering wheel; Night Pager; Magical Carbon Hase Pro floormats; Defi gauges
Audio MTX Thunder Series subwoofers, 502X 150watt amplifier (x2), coxial speakers, fuses, and components; Mu Theatre monitor
Thanks you Car Service Hiro; Nexco East; Studio Mix; CAM