The Truth About Cars » Hachi-Roku Thursday The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 04:21:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Hachi-Roku Thursday Quote Of The Day: Toyoda Prepares For When Cars Retire From The World Of Mobility Thu, 02 Feb 2012 17:54:19 +0000

“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

]]> 13
Hachi-Roku Thursday: Toyota Could Work With Porsche On Next Engine, Chief Engineer Says Thu, 02 Feb 2012 17:25:01 +0000 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:

“Some Americans already put a 5 liter engine in a Mazda roadster. There are fanclubs who want to do the same with our car. There is no rule to limit that. As manufacturers, we can’t do that. We have to give guarantees. We need to build cars that last. Tuners can try. We welcome that.”

“As it is, only highly skilled drivers can make full use of the stock engine. Some people may like to have a higher speed in the straightaway, but there are lots of other cars they can choose.”

Nevertheless, Tada leaves the door open to more factory power, with interesting partners:

“For our current engine, we cooperated with Subaru. Maybe we cooperate with Porsche or someone else next time. You can partner with anybody in the world these days.”

BMW for instance?

]]> 19
Hachi-Roku Thursday: Toyota 86 To Let Drivers Download Data, Interact With Gran Turismo Thu, 02 Feb 2012 16:37:22 +0000

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.”

Creating new excitement for young people in an affordable car became the driving force behind the hachi-roku. Then, Tada had another idea. “I want to provide an interface between our car and their computer.” When Tada mentioned this to his sons, their eyes lit up.

Toyota, says Tada, developed an interface that makes CAN bus data available to a computer or game machine. Toyota has ditched all driving nannies on the hachi-roku, and pared down the electronics to what is legally mandated. But the car must have a CAN bus, and Tada wants to give the data to the driver. Not like a glorified data logger. Says Tada:

“People could load driving data into Gran Turismo and recreate the drive. We can combine the data with Google streetview. People could drive in the real world against a virtual F1 driver. They can have fun with the data.”

Hachi-roku owners can do whatever they or developers come up with, because Tada wants to publish the specs.

A patent for that interface has been applied for, and as mentioned before, the gizmo “should be ready to buy by August 6th.”

I requested an advance copy and will keep you posted. I better buy Gran Turismo.

]]> 21
Hachi-Roku Thursday: When And Where Thu, 02 Feb 2012 14:55:54 +0000 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.

Privately, I hear that the car should arrive in America, “sometime in summer.” It will be many hot months before Jack Baruth knows whether he is amongst the chosen 86.

Later, I question hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada, about the U.S. launch date. No answer. Then, a possible hint.

It soon becomes evident that Toyota is really in love with everything 86. The car will be exported to 86 countries, Tada says. Later, we discuss an electronic gizmo Tada dreamt up (to be covered in the next installment,) and I ask Tada whether the gizmo will be available before the car arrives in the U.S.

“Oh, I expect it will be ready by August 6,” says Tada.

I ask him whether that day has a special importance.

“It is an eight and a six,” says Tada with a sibyllinic smile.


Later in the evening, I receive a phone call from Toyota, saying that I shouldn’t take the 86 countries at face value, it might be a different number. What about August 6, I ask. “Let’s not even go there,” is the answer. Oh, the incertitude!

]]> 14
Hachi-Roku Thursday: Specs And Yen Thu, 02 Feb 2012 13:57:44 +0000 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:

Trim levels: RC, G, GT, GT “Limited.”
Weight: From 1,180kg (2,601 lbs) for the RC version to 1,250kg (2,756 lbs)
Engine: DOHC horizontally opposed 4-cylinder direct injection
Output: 147kW (200hp) / 7,000 rpm
Torque: 205nm / 6,400 – 6,600 rpm
Wheelbase: 2,570mm

And to answer a burning and often asked question: Yes, a tape deck, even a CD radio with USB are available. As options.

Now, the prices. Prices range from 1,990,000 yen for the RC version to 3,050,000 yen for the “the works” GT Limited version. The RC version is a barest minimum stripped spec, meant for environmentally responsible racing: This way, you don’t have to toss stuff you don’t need on the track. But don`t fall in love with the specs unless you are in Japan.

“The U.S. model will be a Scion,” hachi-roku Chief Engineer Tetsuya Tada tells me later in a tete-a-tete. “Scion’s concept is one trim level. That should be comparable to our GT trim.”

In Japan, the GT trim costs 2,790,000 yen for the stick shift, and 2,870,000 yen for the automatic. That would be a whopping $36,677 if converted by Google. For the stick.

Toyota spokesfolk and later Tada warned repeatedly against coquettish currency conversions, as they made the rounds on fan sites. The Japanese prices includes taxes, and in any case, prices in other countries will be what the market requires, not what Google says. The U.S. price remains a secret. I would guess it’s below $30K, but no way is it below $20K. And no, no stripper version stateside. You heard the man.

]]> 14
It’s Hachi-Roku Thursday Thu, 02 Feb 2012 12:04:48 +0000 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.

Today, I will write about nothing else than Hachi-Roku, while the rest of the gang will serve you TTAC’s unusual fare of opinionated news, new opinion, old cars, fast women and rare guitars.

I shall be back after I have transcribed my tapes and developed my film. You will hear specs, prices, launch dates. You will learn why the grown-up son of the hachi-roku Chief Engineer has no driver’s license, and how this gave birth to a new idea. You will also hear why Akio Toyoda thinks that cars may become as relevant as horses, and why that’s o.k.

Stay tuned.

]]> 16