Silver screen pop culture is very often a defining aspect of a car’s marketing. Steve McQueen propelled the Mustang to superstardom in Bullitt – although now its appeal is largely based on pioneering the pony car segment, and Herbie catapulted the original Beetle to a surprisingly capable lifestyle companion that is still adored by many today.
Very rarely however, does a car enjoy widespread, almost fanatic recognition and love, from just appearing in animated media. Japanese drifting god, Keiichi Tsuchiya’s endorsement as one of his favourite cars to go sideways in, pales in comparison to what Initial D, both in manga and anime form, have done for the humble Hachiroku, or the Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86.
Everyone loves an underdog story and an old car used for tofu delivery in the wee hours by day, that would regularly put other newer, more powerful cars to shame on the Mount Akina (actually named Haruna) downhill by night, borders on the ridiculous. And yet, the series spawned thousands of fans from all age groups and across the world.
We met up with Wai Hong from Hayashi86 some weekends back, to talk about his enduring love and passion for the humble AE86. No car meet is complete without the prerequisite drive, so we head for a scenic route towards PD and he shared with us how he was instantly captivated the moment he saw one parked in his neighbourhood, how he worked towards saving Ringgit and convincing his parents to let him have his dream car as his first car.
Just in case you were wondering, his clean and beautiful tofu delivery machine is not for sale, and we would put money that it likely never will be. In fact, we’re sure we heard him mention he’s looking for a second AE86, one as a daily driver and one for the weekends…
We hope you enjoy our pictures and video below.