AE86 Project: Part 1

In summer of 2014 it had been over 4 years since being in Japan, and somehow, I had survived without a car for fun the entire time. Taking part in Final Bout in the late summer of 2014 as a judge really gave me the bug – and I was determined that in 2015 I would not just watch, but jump in and drive. The feeling of standing on the sidelines in 2014 was something I did not want to repeat. In late fall of 2014 I began to realize, I needed some sort of project in my life, not just a turn-key car. After much thought, going between another Roadster or maybe a simple s-chassis, I decided to build a Corolla. Not the cheapest or easiest route by any means, but it was something I had wanted to do for many years. I had been looking for the right chassis for a few months, and finally decided on a SR-5 chassis located a few hours from Chicago. It had been stripped down and painted but with all the parts in boxes, even GT-S parts for the conversion. I originally decided against it for a time, but after finalizing the direction for the drive-train of the car, found it to be the best option. Once thing that I knew from the start; the car would need to remain in Chicago and be built there, while I was stranded in Honolulu some 4,000 miles away.


One of the things that I am always thankful for, is our amazing community in Chicago and the Midwest. With a few phone calls and texts, long-time friends Proceed agreed to run and pick up the car and as many of the related parts they could fit in the car.


It was a cold, snowy day in central Illinois – and there were some challenges not planned for in getting it home, but they made it happen and I am so very grateful and thankful. This is why I love drifting; everyone is out to help and keep the spirit alive.


Prior to the pickup of the car, my longtime friends and go-to shop TF-Works had agreed to take this project on. Without being able to wrench on the car myself, there was no other place I would rather have doing the work on this project. So after a few weeks of storage with the Proceed gents while awaiting a slot to open up at the shop, I was able to have the car moved and the real work began….


And we are back live…

Thanks to some very good friends this place is back up and running. At this point, I am sure not many read or visit blogs much, however, plan on updating if for nothing else than myself. In the coming days/weeks I’m planing on going through the build of my Corolla over the last year. And yes, my heart is still with Mazda and the Roadster – I still dream of my NB everyday and am delighted with that Mazda has done with the ND chassis. I think the future for the car is bright, and I hope to pick one up myself shortly. But for my recent history, all efforts were focused on the Corolla, something I have always wanted – it was time to make it happen. It was a long but short 8 month process, but very happy with the result:


New leather

Finally ditched the old seat and picked up this leather solo seat…but I passed on the springs to keep it low. Stoked with how it looks for now. Next up are new bars and tank paint. For some reason this seat change has made this thing SO much more fun to ride. Might be the kick-up in the rear keeps me in place better? Don’t know don’t care lets ride

New Pipes…finally

I was finally able to get some time to throw the new Vance & Hines Short Shots on. I am not a huge fan of chrome, and I at first Scotch-Bright polished the tips. It gave it a nice stainless look, however I decided to just paint it all black along with the black exhaust wrap. I am super happy with how it turned out, and am happy that now there is space for the passenger foot pegs so the lady can ride too.

It’s a long story…..

But you all have time, don’t you. So in late 2007, shortly before I moved to Japan, I helped long time friend Keith pick up a clean Cressida chassis that was local to me in Chicago. I knew the build was going to long, and done correctly so I have been following it closely. As soon as he got the car back to Minnesota, the tear down began:

Ryan, who now works out west at HotLine, made an amazing cage for the car. And you can see the MarkII front end coming along…..and oh hi cool Sparco 18s!

And of course the needed powers to make some of that smokey stuff out the rear end:

He got some fancy-smanshy fiberglass that nobody has ever seen since this picture! But thats ok, I’m not one for multicolored cars myself either:

Of course the interior got a tad on the crazy side too, full interior race cars….come on that just sounds funny folks!

A bit more fab work, included some custom pipe for the noise maker under the hood, and some custom pipe our front to push those pesky hay bales and Roto brothers out of the way:

Of course after all that hard work (over 2 years of it!) you gotta take the beast out for some testing. Amid some minor engine issues the car starting to get a good amount of track time, and more importantly Keith was getting seat time again!

Of course, I know your all wondering how this thing sounds. Wonder no more:

Congrats Keith, glad to see your project finally coming to an end…sort of. Can’t wait to see how she looks next spring after some shiny stuff and some final wrapping up of loose ends.

New thing in back

Removed the Origin roof wing that I never liked, sold it for $120 and found this Kouki already painted in black for $50…fair trade I’d say:

A bad photo

of recent progress

New shoes

for the front anyway. 17×9 +15 215/40 Goodyear Revspec. Just needs more low now!


I need you in my life again:

But silver again…or some bronze this time…hrmmmm

Fat Low & Slow

Super nice bug from a fellow in Oslo, the color and steel wheels are perfect.

Super nice install of the air stuffs up front. For the whole build, check out the thread at VW Norge