August 6 marks a special day for Hachiroku devotees the world over and for years on end they have come together to celebrate arguably Toyota’s most renowned model. Australia’s fanbase for these iconic cars may not be as large as that in Japan or the US, but that didn’t stop any of our local Hachiroku owners and enthusiasts from gathering at Toyota Australia’s Sydney HQ for the Festival Of 86 to celebrate the 86 brand over 30 years since the original rolled out of the showroom. The social gathering of strictly 86 and AE86 owners was joined by some very special guests including four-time Australian rally champion Neal Bates, Australian drifting champion Beau Yates and Chief Engineer of the 86, Tetsuya Tada-san.
The Festival Of 86 was organised to help Tada-san pass on his thanks to everyone who made the new Hachiroku such a success in Australia.
It’s amazing to think that the 86 was released to the world just over a year ago and has already developed a following almost as great as the original…
…and is already being subject to some pretty wild modifications. A widebody turbo 86, anyone?
Toyota Avenue was lined with countless varieties of Hachirokus throughout the afternoon, satisfying all of the Toyota enthusiasts who visited.
Making an appearance was Bendigo-based Pedders Racing, who were the first in the world to enter the 86 in a national manufacturers’ championship for production class circuit racing. This reflects the level of demand for for the 86 and for Toyotas in the Australian market.
Here is the man himself, Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada-san who played a pivotal role in the design and development of the new 86, who could not attend without a group photo in front of his creation and its supporters.
Likewise, no celebration would be complete without a cake cutting and in this case, it just had to be in the shape of the 86 badge!
I did mention that it was a gathering of only Toyotas, but somehow this BRZ sneaked in only to be met with an angry 86.
It seems like all you need to do to make an 86 look a little cooler is fit some fresh wheels. Simplicity at its finest.
Although many have been crying out for a factory turbo version of the 86 and BRZ, various aftermarket tuning workshops have been engineering and fitting forced induction kits to 86s from the day it was released. “JET86” was gaining recognition from the crowd all afternoon and definitely has our seal of approval.
Of course one cannot organise an 86 event without also paying homage to its older brother. Our friend Adrian brought along his Initial D-inspired AE86 which we featured last year, that garnered attention even from those unfamiliar to the hugely influential manga and anime. Check out the feature here.
AE86s of all styles were in attendance, from the more common Levins…
…to the very rare models, including this Black Limited Trueno of which only 400 were produced. I am drooling quite profusely right now!
Swapping out the original 4A-GE for a Honda counterpart would have the purists squirming in their seats, but I’m pretty sure they would think a little differently after watching a few Hot Version scenes of Keiichi Tsuchiya piloting one around the track and hearing the praise he gives.
AUDM Levins – the bread and butter of the Australian AE86 community.
Despite having only a small following, Australia has always shared it’s rich motorsport history with Toyota and the AE86 in particular. From Group A racing at Bathurst to successful rally campaigns, the AE86 was claiming race wins at a phenomenal rate since its introduction to Australian motorsport. Let’s hope this legacy continues in the current era with the 86.
However it wasn’t the AE86s but the Celicas, including Neal Bates’ replica of Ove Andersson and Henry Liddon’s RA40, which often campaigned the World Rally Championship in the early 1980s before the birth of the AE86.
Fastforward to the current era and Beau Yates has taken his AE86 to great heights in drifting, though the rumour is that he will soon be swapping his old Hachiroku for a new one.
After wandering through the mass of Hachirokus on display, it wasn’t long before the sun dipped closer and closer to the horizon and the event wound down to a close.
The end was marked by what I think is the coolest way to leave an automotive event – to have the man responsible for your car wave you goodbye! Bye Tada-san!
We would like to extend our thanks to Toyota Australia for organising the event and an extra special thanks to Garth from Hachiroku.com.au for inviting us down to the Festival Of 86 and letting Cars For Hope be a part of a very memorable day.