Oct 9, 2013

Al Ramiscal's Drift Beater Hachi Roku

1 comment:

When I left for Japan, I stopped off at Hawaii for 3 days. It was on the way, everyone had always told me how beautiful it was, and most importantly, I had a friend that I had known for about 12 years, but never actually met.

Masa Takagi is the owner of Tokyo Auto in Hawaii, and one hell of an awesome guy. They say birds of a feather flock together, and in this case, truer words were never spoken. Masa introduced me to Al Ramiscal (whose loving Facebook name is Al "Sitonmyface" Ramiscal), while I was on my very short vacation-before-vacation, and I'm glad he did because Al is a pretty killer guy.

Saying that Al has a passion for the Toyota Hachi Roku is as much of an understatement as saying that a fat kid has a passion for cake.... AL RAMISCAL IS A HACHI ROKU FIEND! He has two of them. One is in very nice shape, carefully put together, and quite pretty.

Don't let his obsession with the AE86 fool you, though. Al is truly a car guy. He says, "Well to be honest, I can see myself in any car, as long as I see potential in the car. Whether It's a Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, VW, BMW, Mercedes, Mazda, Subaru, Lexus or a Toyota. But, I am by all means a Toyota guy, lol. But, if I had to choose, it would be between two cars: the old Toyota 2000 GT or a 72 Nissan Skyline, lol.... They don't make [them] like they used to; that goes for all brands."

But we all know that I love beautifully abused and well punished automobiles. That is a sports cars calling in life. Much like a pig's true calling is to die graciously to make wonderful, tasty bacon, a sports car's point in life is to gloriously die on the battlefield of speed; whether it be the Wangan, the Touge, or a race track, it makes no difference. Battle damage is expected to be on a sports car. If it isn't, then it's probably owned by a hard parker. Just sayin'.

His other car, the focus of this article is the beater car, as I call it, his 1987 Toyota Corolla GT-S. When I rolled up to his house, my eyes glowed. I loved this thing. It just looks so raw, like it's ready to march to war against Tantalus, and it's amazingly fun, winding road.

 Al relayed the story of how he came into possession of  the hatch. "In particular, I offered to trade with a friend of mine, for my 2002 Lexus GS300. I just asked him and we came up with a pretty good deal. I traded my GS300 for his GTS hatch and his SR5 hatch, [which came] with a Runfree front bumper,  OS Giken Super Single clutch/flywheel combo, a set of Potenza RE-01R's, Cusco RS 2-way Kouki diff, and a full Zenki Levin front.

Al tells me through an e-mail interview that the car is "basically stock." The suspension has a basic but respectable modification list starting with polyurethane bushings all around, and a Megan Racing Pan-Hard Bar to help stiffen up the aging chassis. Tokico Blue shocks and struts smooth out the ride, and TRD Springs (8k front, 6k rear) bring the car down to earth. All of the body's movement is put to the pavement through 15x7 +0 Enkei 92 mesh wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza RE-01Rs.

Simplicity is also the order of the day under the hood, with a stock blue-top 4AGE pushing exhaust through a TRD exhaust and out through a HKS WindMaster exhaust. After a quick check on the ole' intra-webs, it appears that the exhaust is a pretty rare item. Definitely a nice find. The power from the engine is shifted out through the transmission via a T-3 short shifter.

Exterior mods consist of a fiberglass hatch and unnamed "whale tail" spoiler, all painted flat black to match the car.

This car, to many, isn't what you would call "pretty." Which is why I like it. It's not a lover, it's a fighter.

Al likes to take it to 13 Corners, Tantalus, and Norfolk. And this part was the best part: He likes "bombing off ramps if given the chance, which is almost every time I drive the car, lol." Yes. YES. Somebody gets it. Drive your cars, people.

I mentioned earlier that Al also has a very clean Hachi. When I asked him if he ever drifted that car, or only the beater, he had this to say: "[The beater is] more of a daily driver. I do slide it though, if and when I feel like it. That goes for... the cherry one, too, lol. I like driving the two as much as possible; both have their pluses and minuses, but I like both... equally. They both put a smile on my face when I drive them."

His future plans for the beater include stripping "it down, and transfering parts from the GTS hatch to the SR5 hatch, 'cause the GTS shell is rusting away, and there's no way I can fix them all. It sucks, but [I] might have to put this one down in the future. But, its had a good life from his previous owner [and] then to me."

I really hate to hear that, and from the sound of it, even Al is a little reluctant to do it. We all know how rare the 80s Japanese sports cars are becoming; particularly cars that are intertwined with the drift scene. A lot of this is simply because "people just buy them, then trash them after they crash it. It's really an unappreciated car. Only a select few understand what its all about.

Lastly, Al sent me this photo of his pristine AE86, sharing the spotlight with the ever lovely Eva Skye.

"HachiRoku life. The HachiRoku is a road. You could have chosen a hybrid, or a luxury sedan, but you didn't; you chose the HachiRoku, and are about to embark on a journey. Not just to drive your life, but to challenge your way through..."

And in case anyone is curious as to what Tantalus is, it is a mountain in Hawaii. Here is a video clip of Masa taking me for a drive down the hill. No speeding, no drifting. Just chilling in his Juke enjoying a relaxing drive. Hawaii really is Heaven on Earth. 

Also, be sure to check out the CANIBEAT article on Al's very nicely built Hachi Roku, here.

1 comment:

  1. I get it as i also drive an unwashed joyful sports car from the 80's my renault 5 turbo hasnt been washed in months and i dont think it will enjoy the scottish winter much but it wont give out on me it wants to boost hahaha



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