There’s a lot of things that are disappointing in life. Missing out on that job opening you had your eye on, finding out that the girl you have a crush on now has a boyfriend, even pouring cereal in a bowl in the early morning only to find out you don’t have any milk (put some water on it) are definitely a few examples of being disappointed. We’ve all been there. But one thing that really annoys me are internet cars or “e-famous” cars that disappoint you when you actually see them in person. I won’t name any specific cars, but if you’ve ever seen cars online and said to yourself “damn! That’s so clean!” and then saw that same car at a meet and didn’t see all of the misaligned body panels, curbed up wheels, missing interior pieces, then you know what I’m talking about. It’s all about the details that people seem to miss. I’ve experienced this too many times to count. Thankfully, Shannon Kobashigawa’s AE86 Corolla doesn’t disappoint.
Let’s rewind for a minute.
Earlier this year, JohnP and Mikeyy went on a venture to Japantown, CA for this year’s Wek’Fest. This is when me and Khiem gave Mikeyy a crash course in digital photography (which I’m happy to announce he’s gotten a lot better), and he was a man on a mission, capturing pretty much every car he could point his lens to. When he came back to Houston, I quickly uploaded his pictures onto my computer so we could review them together. One car that I kept going back to was a super clean Toyota Corolla, sitting pretty amongst a sea of other ricetastic cars, to me, it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Unfortunately, despite giving Mikeyy lots of advice on how to shoot a car in a dark parking garage, the pictures came out dark, so we didn’t really get a good glimpse of what the car had. A couple of weeks later, I get an email in my inbox from a guy in California that loves our blog, and wanted to see if we’d be interested in shooting his car. Low and behold he attaches two pictures in the email, and it’s the same AE86 I had seen at Wek’Fest a few days earlier! Of course we’d shoot the car! But wait a tick, he lives in Cali, and we’re stuck in Texas! I hit him back and promised we’d shoot the car next time we were in Califor-nigh-ay.
Fast forward to early October as Team MaydayGarage planned a trip/vacation to southern California to cover FormulaD at Irwindale. I didn’t forget my promise to Shannon and hit him up via email to see if he was still game for us to take pictures of his Levin. He agreed, and then it hit me. If we were going to be in Irwindale for all of Formula D and fly out afterwards, how and when would we be able to shoot this Corolla? There was only one time frame that fit both of our schedules. Early as balls on a Sunday morning.
How early? Getting up at 4:30am the morning after staying out late wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Driving at 5am to Santa Monica Beach in two separate rental cars while it’s still pitch black outside for an hour is even harder. Thankfully, Team MaydayGarage consists of hardcore ricers, and while half of us covered the Saturday Formula D event, the other half (including myself) set out to find a place to shoot Shannon’s car to do the it justice. One thing you’ll notice about our photography is that we hate picking out obvious spots to shoot a car. You know, the parking garage, graffiti wall, run down building, in an industrial park thing has been done to death, and we love interesting backgrounds as much as we love cars.
We met Shannon at a gas station over by the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Santa Monica. Before he showed up, some of the other guys had no clue what the AE86 looked like. They just knew it had to be something special for us to be getting up at 4:30am and driving an hour away to shoot it. When Shannon pulled up, I was PRAYING that this car would not be another e-famous car and have a bunch of flaws that we would avoid getting on camera. My fears were put to rest as the bright lighting from the gas station lit up the super glossy paint on this immaculate Toyota Corolla. The guys did a few walk arounds as we waited for the sun to come up. Everyone agreed. This was by far the cleanest AE86 we’ve ever laid eyes on. It was totally worth it.
As we drove to our first spot, a neighborhood that overlooked the beautiful coastline, Shannon parked the car and while the other guys were shooting it, I got a chance to talk to Shannon face to face about his car.
Words by Shannon Kobashigawa:
“I purchased the car back in April 2007 with the intention of rebuilding it as a show car and weekend warrior. Just something to cruise around with and take to shows and meets. I collected parts for about a year and it took me another thirteen months to complete. This was my very first build/project that i wanted to do myself, of course with the help of a few friends it was possible. I basically learned as I went tearing apart my car and putting it back together again, not having any prior experience. I definitely hit some highs and lows but I learned so much more than I ever did owning my other Corolla for the better part of 12 years!! It was a daily driver for about nine years and I never had the balls to work on it in fear of royally screwing something up and not having transportation to work and school.
I always post up on Club4AG and I try to attend auto-x and grip events one to two times a year with my second Corolla which is used mainly for track events now. I have a group of Corolla friends that I hang out with and I help advertise for my friend’s wheel company infinitwheels.com.
For now I want to focus on enjoying my car and just driving it (with a positive attitude that ‘something else’ won’t break or without my car falling apart). I’ve driven it from San Fransisco down to San Diego. I’ll cruise around, drop by car meets and attend a few more car shows.
I’m probably gonna build another motor keeping it close to stock specs since my current one has about 190k with an annoying oil leak. Over the past year, I’ve picked up two complete blue top big port heads, one 20valve st short block and one 3 rib short block. We shall see what comes of it! Perhaps i’ll build two motors at once!
If I do ever get the motivation, I’d like to work with fiberglass for my audio system to make kick panels, speaker pods and a spare tire subwoofer enclosure. I also need to be a bit creative on how I’m going to hide an additional two channel amp to help push another pair of speakers in the front for my goal of six. Yes, SIX SPEAKERS — while ‘relatively’ hidden. Probably something like 6.5 kick panels, 5 1/4’s door pods and the weak 4 inch stock speaker location. Nothing in the rear deck. Should be FUN!
Those I want to thank………..
My family and friends for all of your support! Mari, Chung, Hiep, Anthony from Infinit Wheels & the Infinit crew, the knuk knuks for all of your guidance time and effort, Oliver, Tony, Ronny, Junior, Matt, Ed, Karlo, Chunks, Jackie, Simon and Maxwell from Pass Racing, Club4AG and of course Mayday Garage for taking the time to shoot my car when they could have been fast asleep at 4am!”
I wish all cars could be as clean as Shannon’s. And when I say clean, I mean literally. So the next time you look at a modified car online and it looks “clean”, think to yourself, is it really “clean”, or is it truly, Shannon clean down to the last polished bolt. Remember: it’s all in the details.
Shannon’s Official Mod List:
Custom 2-tone Paint by AutoExplosion: Gardena, CA.
Brand New OEM Toyota Levin Front End
D-Max Carbon Fiber Hood
Billet Aluminum Hoodpins by Hoodpins.com
Carbon Fiber Overlay Gas Door
Origin Stream Body Kit
Zenki Coupe JDM OEM Spoiler
Zenki Coupe JDM OEM Trunk Garnish
Solex Barrel Locks
Brand New JDM Rear Tail Lights
Cusco Tow Hook
Carbon Fiber Custom Window Visors
A’PEXi Bomber 3 Catback Exhaust With Titanium Tip
Hella Air Horns
Carbon Fiber Kevlar Timing Cover
-Water Heater Valve Control
-Exhaust Manifold Heat Shield
Koyo 2-row Aluminum Radiator
Dual Flex-A-Lite 12 Inch Fans
DIF Fan Controller
Setrab 12-Row Oil Cooler
-10an Steel Braided Oil Lines
Greddy/GREX Thermostatic Oil Filter Sandwich Plate
AE86 Manual Rack
Aluminum Brake Stopper
Beatrush Aluminum Underpanel
Battle Version Lateral Bar
Tension Control Rods
TRD Bushing Kit
Rebuilt OEM LSD
Bride Zeta III
Bride Ergo I
Jubiride Rear Monocoque Bar
Cusco Rear Strut Bar
Beatrush Trunk Bar
SK Engineering JDM Cluster
RS Watanabe Falcon Steering Wheel
NRG Quick Release
C’s Short Shifter
Greddy Water Temperature Gauge
Auto Meter A/F Ratio Meter
Auto Meter Voltage Meter
Custom Carbon Fiber Bulkhead Divider
Eclipse Navigation CD/DVD Player
Eclipse XA500 5 Channel Amp
Custom Fabricated Amp Rack
4” Focal Front Speakers
5.25” MB Quart Component Rear Speakers
(2) 10” Solo Baric Subs
RS Watanabe Type R Custom Painted Gold
Front: 14×8 -6
Rear: 14×9 -19
RS Watanabe Center Caps
Falken Ziex 912 185/60
All photos were taken by Khiem Pham, Danh Phan, Andrew Machac, John Peterson, and David Do exclusively for Mayday Garage. For all 114 (yeah, 114) pictures in HIGH RESOLUTION, click HERE!!