Almost hidden in the corner of the Toyota gathering a few months back was this AE86. The owner was a little taken back by my interest in it. I tend to obsess over cars with a little character; cars we wish could only speak and share their tales, with faded team stickers, dents holes and scuffs.
As Irish people we tend to obsess over everything being “mint” or in its best possible shape sometimes forgetting that a more used looking example can have just as much if not more character. As these start to rise in Value a Corolla seen in this condition is considered a shame, but hold on a second.
I was instantly attracted to the imperfections this car had. The owner had just recently brought it in and I couldn’t get enough of how it looked that day. This car had a hard but very interesting life in Japan for sure, there is no doubt that.
Completely gutted, well used, kind of like a favourite shoes or pants that are falling apart that you refuse to throw out. We over look cars like this, cars that are oozing with character because we almost think this is unacceptable. Faded seats, worn wheels… As value increases, the 86 gets more and more collectable. We want to return them to a presentable show state, much of the time covering up the cars many stories and character.
Personally I absolutely loved how this car looked, its raw interior, gutted, as if every mark could tell an great story. Same for the exterior, classic duct tape on the side skirts. The Japanese are great for finding tape to almost match paint. The AE86 was a cheap car made to be enjoyed and one looked to have had that life. The original owner was not afraid to drive it or show off its well earned scars, an insight into the world of the Japanese AE86 that is slowly dissapearing. For us, it’s a double-sided argument stacked against the dreaded NCT(Irish car test), rust and the police.
Regardless this stood out amongst a sea of Silicone shine and polish and predictability. This car is the perfect example of a well used AE86 looks in Japan. Everything from the colour to the mismatched wheels accompanied by mismatched scared aero, the slightly wonky front end. Sometimes a more used more slightly tatty look attracts us as it gives the car a more human persona. The pristine machine look is not always the be all end all for a car. You see it with old race cars all the time.
Call me nuts but I feel like this should be preserved as is and enjoyed, with so many cars being returned to an immaculate state this looks like it came from a Mountain road in Japan or a track day at Nikko and somehow landed in Limerick dripping with endless character.
A car I’m sure many of you will enjoy.
Cheers for reading.
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