By on February 2, 2012

“In 1909, people shifted from the horse carriage to the automobile, and horses retired from the world of mobility. What happened to the horses? We still have horse races. People love horses. People support horses and horse racing. As long as car enthusiasts exist, motor sports will continue.”

Akio Toyoda, February 2, 2012, at the hachi-roku launch party

By on February 2, 2012

The 86 is not on sale yet, and people are already swapping engines. In a virtual way at least. In hachi-roku forums people are discussing the merits of more horsepower than the stock 200hp. They also wonder aloud how much additional power the hachi-roku can safely take. “Go for it,” says hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada: (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2012

Hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada credits his sons with giving him the impetus to develop this car. His sons are 24 and 27 now, they do not have a driver’s license and show no interest in cars. “They sit in front of the computer all day,” says Tada. “On Gran Turismo, they are better than their father. But they don`t want to drive.”

Tada tells how he took his boys to the racetracks since age 5 to awaken an interest in cars. It was a disaster, Tada admits:

“Manufacturers like to blame young people for having no interest in cars. Maybe we should blame ourselves. Manufacturers provided boring cars and focused on older people, because this is where the money is. We have abandoned young people.” (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2012

I already told you that today is not the official launch. Highly out of the ordinary at Toyota. Usually, when the members of the media are invited, the car goes on sale. Not in this case. In Japan, the car will be in dealers’ showrooms in April, I hear. Nonetheless, if I want one right away, I better hustle down to my neighborhood Toyota dealer and place an order now.

The car is made at Subaru’s Gunma Manufacturing Division, 1,000 per month. Currently, there are more than 3,000 pre-orders, I better take a number. “But when will the car arrive in the U.S.?“ is what you and I want to know. “Not decided yet,” is the official answer. (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2012

First of all, I thought I had already been to the launch party. Wrong. I thought I had driven the thing. Wrong. I learned today this was a pre-announcement-pre-party, and the cars I had seen were “production prototypes.” I see. Then, this splendiferous event with a rock band, canapés and apple juice must surely be the launch festa, I thought. (The dear reader knows by now that the average Toyota launch event in Japan entails a card table, two speakers, PowerPoint and a bottle of water.) Wrong again. It’s kind of a pre-announcement. The car itself will come in — we’ll talk about that when we talk timing.

However, I was told that today, that now we have real specs and prices, and the cars (which looked deceptively like the production prototypes) are the ones that will be sold. In Japan. As for America –– we’ll get to that. Here are the vital stats of the hachi-roku JDM spec: (Read More…)

By on February 2, 2012

I spent all day at the launch party of the Toyota FT/GT86/86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ  “new compact rear-wheel-drive sports car” at Makuhari Messe in Tokyo. Could have been Chiba already. I came back with so much information about Toyota’s new “honest sportscar” (as Akio Toyoda likes to call it) that I declare today Hachi-Roku Thursday. (Read More…)

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