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SH Storage: Introducing Two AE86s & A GDB


Having been an avid reader and sporadic contributor to Speedhunters up to now, coming onboard with the staff has given me this chance to introduce myself and my vehicles. Which ties properly into the present Japan Month theme, given my propensity for vehicles from the area.

I must preface this, nevertheless: I’ve by no means been one to get connected to vehicles; I take advantage of and revel in a automobile until I both discover one thing else I wish to personal and expertise, or a suggestion that’s laborious to refuse is made. Don’t get me mistaken, all of us have regrets about promoting sure vehicles, however for many of us, with out promoting a automobile to fund the subsequent you merely couldn’t personal all of the vehicles previous and current directly.

My adoration for Japanese vehicles is evidently obvious once you take a look at a few of my possession historical past. Interspersed with different vehicles, I’ve for over a 3rd of my life owned AE86s. Seven ultimately depend, together with two Subarus and some Hondas.

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AE86s have been by no means bought in South Africa the place I originate from, however I had lusted after them since watching rally and circuit motorsport protection on tv in my youth. When the opportunity of proudly owning one was realised after transferring to the UK, I wasn’t going to let the chance move me by.

Shopping for that first automobile was a baptism by fireplace. Earlier than buying the AE86 I had barely labored on vehicles, and as with every outdated automobile, this one wanted work. However two issues got here out of this: Studying to work on a automobile that was extraordinarily fundamental by way of the way it went collectively, in addition to additionally becoming a member of the close-knit group of householders right here within the UK, which primarily congregated on the now defunct eight-six.co.uk discussion board.

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The adoration for these pretty unassuming Japanese compact vehicles grew 12 months on 12 months, and after taking on The Corolla Brotherhood from a good friend 13 years in the past, I organised and hosted the primary Retro Toyota Gathering, which can have fun its twelfth 12 months in 2022. AE86s have offered the catalyst for me making pals all throughout the globe and that’s one thing I’m vastly grateful for.

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All through these 13 years I’ve owned each physique form of AE86 in varied guises – from fully unique, one proprietor vehicles to completely modified, pressured induction monitor specials.

Presently have two AE86s in my possession. Each vehicles have attention-grabbing again tales, which makes them a bit extra particular to me.

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The latest buy, a zenki Levin coupe, lay dormant in a storage for 11 years earlier than I bought it.

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The automobile was pushed into and incurred some injury to the passenger aspect wing not lengthy earlier than the proprietor was resulting from go to college, so it was parked up in his uncle’s storage with the view to restore within the coming months. In a not too unusual state of affairs, life moved on and work, relationships and different hobbies took priority. After a number of weeks of debate, a worth was agreed and myself and a good friend made the four-hour drive to gather it.

Whereas the surface of the automobile has seen higher days, the inside is essentially unmarked and fully unique. AE86 house owners will know the frustration of cracked dashes and centre console lids, which fortunately this has neither.

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The opposite AE86 within the workshop is one which longtime Speedhunters readers could recognise. Dino featured the kouki Levin hatchback in 2009 when it was nonetheless in Japan earlier than Az (the proprietor) moved again to the UK. I met Az on the first Retro Toyota Gathering and stayed in contact ever since. He then went again to Japan for six months for work, however six months turned one 12 months, then two, then seven, with the automobile all of the whereas sitting exterior underneath a canopy at his mom’s home. One other case of life taking on.

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I’d talked about to Az that ought to he ever want to promote the automobile to let me know, and all these years later the decision lastly got here. He was again within the UK for per week to see his household and put together to maneuver to Australia. A deal was finished and the AE86 has been in my possession since. This necessitated the sale of the DC2 drivetrain-swapped EG Civic I had on the time, but it surely was a worthy sacrifice.

Sadly, time hasn’t been variety to the automobile and it does want some love, however that’s all to come back and it’s at the moment stripped and on a rollover jig awaiting rust repairs and paint.

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For so long as I’ve been a fan of AE86s, I’ve additionally longed for a Subaru. My first reminiscences of Subaru have been journal and video protection of Colin McRae competing within the iconic blue and yellow 555-liveried Impreza. Homologation specials have at all times appealed to me and I had narrowed down my search to a Spec C Impreza.

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A purchase order of a closely modified GC8 V3 STI was meant to be a stop-gap, as I used to be anticipating it to take months and months to search out one. Nevertheless, one popped up on the Japanese auctions inside a month. Whoops.

The automobile in query was a GDB-E ‘Blobeye’ STI Spec C, supposedly one in every of 103 vehicles produced in that 12 months within the light-weight ’16-inch’ guise. Only a few survive in unique situation with most predominantly both transformed to Group N rally vehicles or used for gymkhana in Japan. After a dialogue with the agent and a comparatively sleepless evening, I woke as much as a message that my bid was profitable. Just a few months of agonisingly monitoring the ship later, a summer time of use ensued and now the automobile awaits some routine upkeep prepared for the British springtime.

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In recent times, the costs of AE86s together with many different Japanese vehicles of a sporting nature have shot up, pricing many fans out of the chance of proudly owning one. They now sit within the realm of speculators and collectors, which in my view is a disgrace. I’m additionally uncertain if the driving expertise is proportionate to what these vehicles value these days, however that’s a debate for an additional time.

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Whereas the worth and problem of changing components ought to the worst occur is a slight concern, I nonetheless intend to make use of my vehicles as a lot as doable, whereas bettering upon the unique qualities that made them particular within the first place. In any case, vehicles are made to be pushed.

An SH Storage replace will quickly observe, detailing a number of the progress with the vehicles and what the longer term holds for them.

Chaydon Ford
Instagram: chaycore



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