posted on July 11, 2012 00:00
Modern Classic: Impulse’s Street-Tuned AE86
by Tatsunori Tsuchida
They’re usually very anal about their cars here. One can probably attribute this to the lack of necessity for private transportation. As much as cars in our society are a status symbol, it takes on a different plateau in a country where busses and trains are accepted as being normal modes of transportation. Couple that with a real estate market where homes always depreciate in value; and you get people living in shoddy homes with trick rides in the driveway.
| Come along with us as Tajima takes us for a ride.
So consider it a real treat when a tuning garage gives you a ride-along in one of their prized “Demo Cars.” To date in Japan I’ve ridden in an R32, S2000, a drift S13, a race S13, and a Nismo 380RS … and not all at full throttle. So not only was Satoshi Tajima cool enough to let me ride in one of his many Hachi-rokus at his shop, but did so at full throttle in a very well prepared street-tuned owned by a Mr. Habuchi. That’s right he blasted through Touge in a customer car.
The S2000 on this trip was amazing, don’t get me wrong. But amongst all the cars I’ve ridden in (both in Japan and in the 'States), for a street car this car had an amazing amount of poise. Turn-in was immediate and predictable, the body didn’t pitch and roll mid-corner, and the acceleration out of the corner was immediate. I know it all sounds cliché and it’s been said about many cars in many different magazines, but in as many cars and AE86s I’ve been in, this one thoroughly impressed me.
Impulse, situated in western Kobe, was established in 2004 (21 years after the first Hachi rolled off the assembly line) by a then 28-year-old Satoshi Tajima; which is impressive for a guy who probably watched his older cousins wrench on these cars. Not only is it that he was young then, but also the universal appeal of the AE86 chassis across multiple generations. Which might explain the updated engine in Habuchi’s Levin.