Author Archives: Garth Ivers

How To Fit Stretched Tyres – The AE86 Way!

Props to Banpei for finding this masterpiece!

1985 N2 Grand Cup @ Fuji Speedway

Awesome if not just for that audio track!

Thanks Karl

Hiromu Naruse: Toyota’s Chief Test Driver

According to reports, Toyota’s chief test driver, 67-year-old Hiromu Naruse, has died in a crash on highway 410 near the famed Nürburgring race track in Germany. He was driving the recently spied Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition at the time of the accident, and reports say he veered into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with two others test drivers in a BMW. The two BMW test drivers survived the crash, though one is reportedly still in critical condition. Police are investigating the crash and have yet to determine its cause.

Naruse was heavily involved with the development of the Lexus LFA supercar he was driving, along with many other past sports cars from Toyota’s history since he joined the company in 1963. Enthusiasts today call him the “Godfather of the LFA,” though he was involved in the development of sports cars for Toyota going as far back as the storied 2000GT from the late 1960s – and including our very own AE86.

Club4AG’s founder Moto Miwa shares a little about Naruse-San’s life. Thanks Moto.

He was the chief testing driver for Toyota’s Development team who started with the company in 1963. He was the head of over 300 test drivers at Toyota globally, and has possibly logged more miles than any other test driver from Japan.

Not too long after his start of career at Toyota, we was assinged a task as the … See Morefirst project leader for Toyota’s racing programs, which later branched and branded as TRD. His first mission was the team project to race at the Spa Franchamps, and Nurburgring from a base in Switzerland in 1970’s.

Also, as one of the few who people accredited as Nur-Meister, he was among the handful of drivers in the world, intimately familiar with the famous Nurburgring course in Germany where the ultimate benchmark performance is gauged among all automobile manufacturers in the world.

A very few men could do so much to analyze a pre-production street car…and even more rare for someone from Japan. Abilities such as isolating each components as minute as consistencies of rubber bushings in isolated particular areas, determining tire behavior and details of construction on 30 or more levels, and just simply being totally at one with a car to be tuned before production.

Testing engineer of equally long career at Ferrari and BMW both claimed him as “The man with the longest logged distance as vehicle testing engineer” As such, worked diligently day after day, being passionate about his automobiles.

Many of his assistant drivers and engineers often claimed him as crazy, for being such a perfectionist, and to not stop on any development until he was forced to by other departments…

List of cars he has ‘tuned’ as the leader of testing engineer/driver for product development are as follows:

1965 Toyota Sports 800
1967 Toyota Corona 1600GT
1967 Toyota 2000GT
1970 Toyota Seven (race car)
1971 Toyota Celica GT (and all succeeding Celica and XX/ Supra, and WRC Corolla/Celica)
1981 Toyota Soarer (and all successor Z chassis)
1984 Toyota Corolla Levin, Sprinter Trueno (AE86)
1985 Toyota MR2 (and all successors of the W platform)
1989 Lexus LS400
1990 Toyota Soarer/Lexus SC300
1994 Toyota Supra JZA80
1998 Toyota Altezza/ Lexus IS200/300
1999 Toyota MR-S (USA MR2 ZZW30)
2004 Toyota Prius 2

Also, adviser to countless other Toyota and Lexus development programs.

We will all miss him.

We will indeed. Lets hope his many many proteges can pick up where this legend left us. Rest In Peace.  If you would like to read more about his long and very detailed career, check out this interview with the late Naruse-San at the Gazoo Racing Website.

Malaysia’s Mount Akina

Bukit Putus road. They abandoned it, the AE86ers discovered it.

Not For The Purists: Yankee Style

This is globalisation working its strange voodoo.  1: AE86 craze in Japan jumps the Pacific to the USA to be popularised by the Need For Speed Underground franchise bringing the humble hachiroku to the masses. Step 2: USA goes hell for leather giving the ‘Corolla GT-S’ their own unique flavor, adding on key items like huge wheels and ground-effects kits – Just think ‘Jada Toys’. Step 3: USDM-Style gets picked up in Japan coming full circle with a Japanese take on the American way of like (similarly called Yankee-Style in fashion circles) and you get something like this monster! 17″ wheels wearing 215×40 tyres and a big-single SR20 under the hood.

[HACHI ROKU RECIPE: Small car, big turbo via NoriYaro]

AE86IRL Does Mondello

Check out the pics Here!

Tsuzuki Parking Area Meet

Dino over at SPEEDHUNTERS has all the luck. When in Japan, it seems coming across an epic AE86 meet is as easy as driving on the highway…

The Tsuzuki Parking Area on the Daisan Keihin expressway, a stone throw away from my home, is at times the place where one of the biggest AE86 meetings in the Tokyo/Yokohama area occurs. Forget your loud Daikoku PA meetings, the atmosphere at Tsuzuki on that Saturday night a few months back was very relaxed, no loud music being blared out from “night club on wheels” vans and no interference from bosozoku bike gangs that usually get most meetings prematurely shut down thanks to their concertos of unsilenced exhausts.


1986 Paris Dakar Rally AE86!

Moto over at Club4AG has put up this great video compilation on YouTube of clips from the documentary “Eikou No Chousen” released in 1986!  It documents the trial of Team ACP, an adventure enthusiast organisation and their attempt at the treacherous Paris Dakar Rally with a Toyota Corolla, Land Cruiser, and several Yamaha Motorcycles.  Moto has cut the movie down to feature the AE86 content on this short video and overlayed the un-translated Japanese Audio with none other than ’80s badboy rocker Billy Idol and Santana! Sweet!

2009 N2 AE86 Battle @ Tsukuba

The 2009 N1, N1.5, Group A, N2, N2S & D1GP AE86’S Battle, which took place on 26th of December 2009, is finally out on Hot Version DVD #103. Not a bad way to spend Boxing Day huh? Check it out via YouTube:

Taka Aono: A Retrospect

Somewhat fitting after yesterday’s post on the 2010 season of Formula D kicking off, today’s post is a homage to the guy who some might say is the hardest working AE86 driver in the USA: Taka Aono.  This video by the AE86-loving DeadPirate crew is a recap of Taka’s season in 2009.  Seriously great editing and an awesome soundtrack too.

Vimeo [For HD Viewing]