It’s 1am on a Wednesday. I don’t work anymore… but there’s no good reason for that. Currently faced with the pending sale of my most beloved 86 (#6 of 10) and the end of my longest ever relationship with a car, I have various thoughts.
I got a phone call tonight, from a kind mother. She got my number, from this website, and called… interested in buying my car for her son. She was interested in important details: history, new parts, pending repairs. It was a thorough call, and promising from the perspective of making my car disappear (or more importantly… putting some money in my pocket before I leave the country).
However… my initial reaction, after the phone call ended, was extreme discontent. I couldn’t really sell this car, that I worked so hard and poured all of myself into, to a 16 year old kid could I? I thought about all the details that make my car all that I ever really wanted an 86 to be, and how they would go unnoticed, or unappreciated, neglected or even destroyed. It made me feel ill. Would he appreciate the wheels that I looked for years to find, the bumper I painted myself and touched up after various incidents, the new alignment settings I learned for drifting? Or would it get curbed on day 1?
I thought about what a 16 year old new driver is like… I thought about myself at 16.
I didn’t buy my first 86 when I was 16… I worked hard, sold my mountain bikes and dumped 3500$ into a rust bucket just after I turned 17. I was so eager to purchase that I didn’t make a wise decision. It wasn’t a complete piece of crap, but it was not the car that could help me realize my dreams…
And I guess largely, I didn’t know what those dreams were. I read Sport Compact Car (a publication which I now think of as complete shit). I liked fast things, I had dreams of becoming a race car driver. Somehow I had learned about heal and toe, and trail braking… I guess largely from speedvision. I watched BTCC and WRC. I knew that I didn’t want FWD. My dad forbid me from buying something AWD (which I now thank him for)… so I had only a few options.
That I bought an 86 was pure luck. I didn’t know what “hachiroku” was, or 4ag… or even drifting. Not very many people did know about these things ten years ago. It wasn’t until I’d owned the car for a few months, had it stolen, gotten it back, moved to Lethbridge, and discovered wide band internet that I really learned things: Club 4ag, Keichii Tsuchiya, AE86, Running Free, Slide Squad, Team Velocity, Drift Tengoku… the birth of Dori-Kaze… what memories.
AE86 became everything to me. My friends, my weekend, my early morning and my girlfriend. It was everywhere and everything and, when I realized how to improve my driving, when I envisioned the steps I could take to become a driving hero… I realized that my rust bucket would never do.
Of course… big dreams are good. Ten years later I have tried and failed and I have no real regrets.
… Except that I need to sell my car to finance moving on.
It’s been unbelievable… and I am sure that no car will ever move me like 86 has. We’ve just been through too much together. I’m sure I have cried over 86. I’ve been KOed by 86, run away with 86, slept with 86 and I always figured I would die with 86 too. Thought it’d be a good way to go… into the side of the mountain, or off the cliff and into oblivion. Such a thing doesn’t seem violent to me.
Somehow these cars never let me down. Scary-offs on the morning touge of Lethbridge in 1998. Fence posts. Crumpled fenders. Bent wheels… So what? Take it home, and unbolt it. Go to the junk yard, grab a spare and bolt it on. Somehow these cars crash really well. They’re cheap. They take abuse, and something in them always seems to keep them out of serious trouble. I’ve tried the dumbest things on the track, and always come out safe… even if it was by inches. And yes… hitting empty barrels is safe… and yes… sunk in 2 feet of water is safe.
I’ve never destroyed an 86 and I’ll admit that on bad nights when I thought the world was ending… I have tried.
I’m sorry Yoshiko… I’m still in love with 86.
I still dream strange dreams about 86 from time to time. And I think about the old style… the 86 style from early this century. No skirts, small wheels, NA motors a nice lip, matte paint… pure style. I don’t dig this new shit… 15×10 wheels, turbo’s… SR20’s… F20’s… to each his own though. I understand the desire..
The 86 is old now. It really can’t compete in anyway except experience. You wanna go pro? Get a different car. You’ll feel too much heartache all the time about the car that holds you back… and you’ll go broke forcing the issue.
75% of my 86 life was spent away from the track in a time when 86 was unknown. When only a handful of us knew, and when you couldn’t find ANYTHING at the local store. The light tune was cool. Year round undercover fun. No one telling you to get a turbo, no one telling you your slow. Just good fun. Disappearing into the country…