If you're a JDM fanatic like we hope you are, this hachiroku should look familiar. For the most part, it's a panda Toyota Trueno, but the green tint on the carbon hood and the special edition Bride seats should be a dead giveaway as to who the owner is. This is none other than Keiichi Tsuchiya's personal AE86! If you've seen Hot Version's Gunsai Touge, this is the same car in those videos. If the name still doesn't ring a bell, Tsuchiya-san is a professional racer who's driven in JGTC, Le Mans, and even NASCAR. However, Tsuchiya-san is more known as one of the forefathers of drifting, hence his nickname "Drift King." Daijiro Inaada from Option Magazine and Tsuchiya-san were the founders of the first professional drifting series known as D1GP. And since D1GP's passing, Tsuchiya-san has continued his love for the sport and spearheaded two other drifting series, Drift Muscle and King of Asia. If that still doesn't sound familiar, in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, you might've seen Tsuchiya-san fishing on the docks as Lucas Black's character was learning how to drift.
As a pivotal leader in the drifting world, Tsuchiya-san has to have a badass car to back up his reputation. This AE86 has been with him for many years, and when it's not on the track, it's left in the capable hands of Yoshinori Kamata at TEC-ART'S (you might know 'em from their Black Limited AE86 featured in the '12 Japan issue). We should also note that before TEC-ART'S was given the responsibility of looking over the hachi, Tsuchiya-san's previous mechanic was the late Tadao Sakurai of TRD.
Tsuchiya-san's AE86 has gone through many different configurations, including a 20v engine swap and SSR Doridori wheels, but the car always had a consistent street style. That means no widebody, big wing, or gigantic wheels. Its exterior is simply upgraded with a TRD wing, Carbon Gate trunk, Impulse carbon-fiber roof, and a custom dry carbon hood. But that's where the simplicity ends. Dig deeper and you'll find a car that is as complex as any race car. As you can imagine, the 30-year-old coupe had to go through reconstruction that included rust prevention, frame reinforcement, and about 3,500 spot-welds. TEC-ART'S very own parts are used throughout the car, while the suspension is based on a coilover collaboration with Aragosta. The seats are special Bride King models, which are essentially Bride Gias II that still use the carbon aramid monocoque shell, but the fabric is made with high-class suede and stitched with Tsuchiya-san's favorite color, green. All 86 owners know the struggle with cracked dashboards; TEC-ART'S solved this by making its own leather dash panel, again with a touch of green thanks to the stitching.
In pursuit of balance instead of monster horsepower, Tsuchiya-san's old 4A-GE was swapped for one of TEC-ART'S trademark, larger displacement "7AG" motors, which is a concoction of a 7AFE block and an AE111 head. The result makes 213 hp and 159 lb-ft of torque. The T50 transmission is beefed up with TEC-ART'S gear set and carbon clutch.
Who knows what the next evolutionary step will be for Tsuchiya-san's car. All we know is it's nothing short of what we'd expect from a man known to everyone as the "Drift King."