Kansai Auto-Otaku: Visiting Carland86!

While chasing automobiles was not a high priority on my Kansai vacation, there was one particular shop i really wanted to drop by. A shop that for one reason or another, i’ve never visited. Since this was my fourth trip to Kyoto (and with no idea how long it will be until my next), i jotted down a short Auto-Otaku detour towards Carland86 into my itinerary.

While most of Japan’s top automotive workshops set up base near Tokyo, Carland86’s Kyoto locale makes it somewhat of an oddity, but perhaps, Kyoto’s more scenic and laid back atmosphere is part of the charm.

For the uninitiated, Carland86 is, you guessed it, a workshop/tuner specialising in the World’s most famous tofu delivery mobile. Those in the know regard them as one of the top shops to go to for all AE86 work and they are also the people behind the “Toyota Levin and Trueno” Mooks (A combination of book and magazine).

Fun fact: Carland86 built three AE86 ‘Fujiwara Tofu’ Trueno’s for the live-action Initial-D movie.

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Getting up and out on a crisp winter morning, getting to Carland86 was surprisingly easy (perhaps easier than many of the tuners in Tokyo). All it took was a quick rapid train ride from central Kyoto towards Kamitobaguchi station followed by an easy ten to fifteen minute walk.

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Walking out of the train station, you will soon see a bright yellow sign beckoning you to AE86 life!

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See anything you like?

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Security was quite friendly. As we arrived rather early shortly after their official opening time on a cold winter morning, we decided to just have a quick look around and not bug the proprietors too much.

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I’m guessing with so much interest in AE86s now from around the World with ever increasing values to match, Carland86 have decided to do away with displaying most of their prices.

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This track-prepared example was an exception though. Would you?

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Personally, i prefer cars geared for street use and for some reason, i kept going back towards this Levin. It looked perfect. The wheels, the sideskirts, the color, the pristine interior, everything just clicked. Except, maybe, the price.

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Another one for the garage bucket list.

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I’ve read that connoisseurs from Carland86 are so particular about keeping the original decals in place that instead of removing them when repainting a car, they’d rather painstakingly mask off the original labels bit by bit when prepping their cars.

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No need to mask off this window decal i guess.

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You can have them in any colour as long as its Panda!

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AE86s (almost) everywhere. Some in better shape than others.

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This one had a rather interesting digital speedometer…

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…while this had the coveted paper cup option.

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Looking like it needed some TLC.

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DK sticker for the win!

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For those who just can’t get enough Hachiroku love with a visit to the shop, Carland86 also offers a rental 86 for you to tour around Kyoto in. Unfortunately its an automatic, but we’re pretty sure it’ll still be fun!

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With pictures taken and my inner nerd satisfied, it was time to say goodbye to all them lovely AE86 ladies and head back into central Kyoto for some non-automotive sightseeing. I hope you’ve enjoyed our short detour!

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