‘Heyyyy!! What are y’all doing on my property?!’ yelled the old Japanese man at us. The way he came out of nowhere like an assassin, chest puffed out in his little muscle shirt, showed he meant business and had us all worried something serious was about to go down. I was especially worried because I was the only one in our group who can speak Japanese so it was up to me to diffuse the situation and quickly.
It never fails that when I’m with Robert and his 1984 Trueno Sprinter that something ALWAYS happens. During our first attempt, my memory card mysteriously decided it had enough and decided to crash just as light was fading away, making it impossible to reshoot that same day.
Then, for the past couple of months, we had been fighting scheduling problems with work and mother nature dropping a deuce on the days we were both available due to the rainy season. I guess I should stop raving about my issues with the car and talk more about Robert and his beautiful Trueno.
Robert was stationed near Tokyo and like most, spoke very little Japanese. He did however have a strong love for cars and only after living in Japan for two months, found this Trueno located at a dealership 6 hours west of Nagoya. Spoiler alert: no one at the dealership spoke English.
Thus with the help of a middle man, he bought a Shinkansen ticket, checked out the car to make sure it was exactly what he saw online, bought the car, and then drove it 6 hours back to Tokyo. I couldn’t think of a more reckless way of learning how to drive in Japan when you think of all the things that could have happened but I guess if you’re going to learn, you might as well make one hell of a adventure out of it.
Once safely back on base, Robert began to let his dreams and desires run wild with this build. Robert wanted to work on the visual aspect of the car as soon as possible. Robert had always been fascinated by the really wild s chassis builds and some of Muiras original Rocket Bunny builds. So he basically wanted to try and replicate a blend of those styles on his Hachiroku.
One of the first things he decided to do was switch from the popup oem headlights with the fixed Corolla Levin front headlights. To make this work, it meant that he needed to change the hood and fenders to make sure everything match up correctly.
It just so happened that at the same time, a set of Impulse N2 over fenders specifically designed for the Levin came out. What are the odds right?
Robert must have thought so as well because he immediately bought a set and quickly had them attached along with a Run Free Type II front bumper, Orgin side skirts, and Zenki rear bumper that he purchased while waiting for the over fenders to arrive.
He then had the whole thing painted a deep metallic Mitsubishi red and had the Run Free Type II front bumper and bottom portion of the Impulse over fenders painted black creating a nice two tone feel.
Eagle eye readers may have noticed that there are two different set of wheels. Up front, 15×9.5 with a 22 offset Star Road Glow Star wheels.
In the rear, 15x9J Work Meister Cr01 with a custom lightning silver work finish. The reason behind this is actually quite simple: it’s unique.
It could be considered a risky gamble to run two different types of wheels, especially when a lot of enthusiasts now and days agree that a poor selection in wheel choice can completely ruin a build. This risky move however, works wonders for Robert and received great praise at the Wekfest Japan in Nagoya this year.
Moving away from the exterior, we should take a look at what’s under the hood. Robert was pretty set on rebuilding his engine and gaining that ‘I did everything myself feeling’, but when he happen to find a freshly rebuilt AE 101 4AG with everything he wanted and more, he knew he couldn’t let the opportunity pass.
The spec list on the engine is pretty remarkable: 16 valve port and polished heads, 81.5mm pistons, Toda racing valves and springs, HKS cams and adjustable pulleys, and quad throttle bodies fitted to machined velocity stacks. Of course the list goes on but if I were to just list parts, it would ruin the story.
I do have to mention ONE more part from the engines specs list and it’s the Fujitsubo Super Ex headers that dump straight into the 60mm test pipes. The only way I can describe the noise that comes out the pipes is DAMN! that f*%&$*% is LOUD!!
During our first attempt at shooting, Robert had the cats removed and I can’t even keep count on how many times we got yelled at by people and I having to apologize. Essentially since it was basically the same decibel level as the Bozozokus and well.. if you know anything about Japan, you know the ‘common people’ just aren’t very big fans of them. Robert learned from this mishap and now usually runs with the silencers in but anything over 4,000 rpm and all bets are off.
Moving into the interior, everything has been tastefully done and matches Robert’s personality to a t. It still has that 80’s feel to it but with a touch of modernization sprinkled in here and there.
The bride seats and wood grain Nardi steering wheel are an example of this modernization. However, they don’t take away from the vintage Reggie look he was going for.
While riding shotgun, I know I can always vibe to some good ol Reggae music coming out of the Carrozzeria rear speakers.
The Hula girl ties into Robert’s background as an islander helping tie in the Rasta theme but also says it never hurts to have a chick swayin on your dash.
‘I’m terrible sorry sir, I had no idea this was your property!’ I quickly spat in Japanese thinking to myself great, here we go yet again. ‘The women said it was OK and we would really love to use your property for the magazine shoot because we think is simply beautiful!’ Lucky, the women quickly defended me saying she said it was OK and that she was amazed I could speak Japanese. His attitude immediately changed as it so happened he too was a car enthusiasts and graciously gave us permission to continue shooting, with ‘adult supervision’ of course.
Robert’s Trueno has been and will continue to break necks and wreak havoc on the stance scene. Somewhat not surprisingly, he’s still not satisfied and still has a laundry list of ideas he wants to do and I truly can’t wait to see what Robert has next up his sleeves.