First off, I would like to apologize for all our readers for the lack of content for the Car Feature section. I know I haven’t been active lately and have been greatly busy with life especially being a family man and a father to my precious L.O. (Little One)….. ehem! Well, enough about that!! Anyway, I do want to make it up to you guys and gals by supplying you with a great amount on info and photos from my recent coverage. So without further adieu…..Let me introduce to you our next Car Feature.
This time around, the feature belongs to a fellow who’s been in the AE86 scene for a long time. His passion for the AE86 is fueled by the obsession to create the best out of this aging platform. He can be seen on car shows, track events, and car meets. But don’t mistake this person as someone high and mighty just because he got all that…and then some! This lad is rather humble and down-to-earth. He’s willing to share his knowledge and experience with the AE86 if you ever want to know it more.
Back in the day he owned two AE86 platforms; a hatch and a coupe. I met this guy back in 2004 when Super Autobacs was still in its hay day. We had an impromptu meet where all the Corolla guys had gathered. He had this beautiful and clean black AE86 hatchback with the JDM Trueno conversion and a set of rare SSR Star Sharks wheels. My first encounter with this person was rather a pleasant one as he was friendly and approachable. Unfortunately his AE86 Hatch met an untimely death at a track event. His car got hit when he came off the tarmac and hit dirt. Then another fellow racer lost control of his car and pummeled his car on his AE86 hatch….OUCH! Because of that he only got one Corolla left in his arsenal…..his O.M.P. AE86 Levin Coupe.
This article is somewhat a tribute to his old AE86 hatch as some of its parts have been integrated to his Levin Coupe. I guess it’s his way of putting in the AE86 hatch’s soul into a new body to continue on the journey..
Let me introduce to you Mr. Shannon Kobashigawa. A long time fellow enthusiast and AE86 aficionado.
Picking up the pieces from the past.
Here we have Kobashigawa-san putting in a different engine in his AE86 Levin. This orange engine is from his AE86 hatch.
The other engine is coming off.
AE86FC: Please tell us something about your self? Like your name? What do you do? What are your hobbies?
Shannon: I am a paralegal. I work in the field of securities law. I enjoy working out and being active. I try to work on my car on the weekends when I have the time.
AE86FC: You mentioned about paying tribute to your old hatch; tell us something about your other AE86 Corolla and what happened to it?
Shannon: I bought it from a guy in Buena Park back in November 1996. It was completely stock with 118k. I slowly converted it over to a track car. Unfortunately, I was rear ended at button willow.The result: One Mean Panda Levin with a soul of a Trueno hatchback!
AE86FC: So from your old AE86 hatch to this Panda Coupe, what did you do to
it; any mods and changes?
Shannon: New paint job, suspension, I try to keep oem parts and upgrade old parts with aftermarket stuff if I can. My main goal is to make it as comfortable as possible while still maintaining is fun driving abilities.
AE86FC: Do you work on your own car or do you have a shop that you take it to have it maintained and/or do mod services?
Shannon: In the past I took my car to Pass Racing for specialized installations like trd suspension bushings, rear diff rebuild install. Recently, I have been doing all work myself.
AE86FC: In a couple of words, how would you best describe your AE86 Coupe?
Shannon: It’s a beautiful mess! Lol
Shannon’s Levin sits one a set of Greddy Type-S Coilovers. Nice!!!
AE86FC: While several people got their AE86 inspiration by seeing them in a
car shows, going to a drift event, or simply watching the anime like Initial D; what was your inspiration in getting one?
Shannon: my good high school friend had a 1986 gts two tone blue hatch with power windows and a sunroof. I had recently gotten into an accident. I was looking for another car to replace it and he convinced me to buy one. At the time in 1996 I didn’t know much, if anything about drifting, initial d or rear wheel drive. In those days Hondas were really popular! I guess I was lucky to be introduced to the car so early.
AE86FC: What other cars were you driving before you got into the AE86 scene?
Shannon: My previous car was a 1986 Honda Accord hatchback. That’s it!
AE86FC: What makes the AE86 different from the other cars that you’ve driven before? It’s not a high performance, high powered car. As a matter of fact is actually quite the opposite; it’s under powered and it’s basically antiquated compared to the newer cars of today.
Shannon: It’s completely raw and unforgiving. No ABS or traction control. I think that’s what makes it fun to drive. Modern technology in cars make people better drivers by covering up their mistakes. Since the ae86 has zero tech, I believe it teaches people to be better drivers. So when you drive the ae86 better and faster than modern cars, it’s highly rewarding.
The panda coupe sits on a set of beautifully restored Watanabe wheels.
AE86FC: What part or parts on your car that you considered rare and special to you?
Shannon: Jeez… I think the car as a whole is getting rarer by the year. I have a non-power steering a/c compressor pulley, oem center console arm rest, Watanabe falcon steering wheel, jubiride monocoque center bar, beat rush trunk bar, oem zenki coupe center garnish, jdm tail lights.
(The plate that you see on the center console is the chassis tag from his AE86 hatchback.)
AE86FC: Do you have any future plans for your coupe? If so, please do share them with us?
Shannon: I plan to drive it and enjoy it as much as possible. I don’t really have any real plans for it but as my plate reads “All Pau” which is sarcasm for all done – we all know it’s exactly the opposite. There will always be something to fix , change or modify. It’s never ending.
AE86FC: Any families, friends, and/or shops you’d like to thank for making your dream car a reality? If so, this is your chance to give a shout out!
Shannon: Thank you to all my friends and family for your support. I’m sure there are a few people who are absolutely sick of hearing me talk about the work I do on my car. Special thanks to Oliver, Ronny and Tony for helping me work on my car and answer questions. Without your knowledge, I wouldn’t have been able to do this engine swap on my own.
Shannon Kobashigawa’s AE86 Panda Levin Coupe Specs:
Toyota 4.5 final gear
Shannon’s Black AE86 Trueno Hatchback RIP 2014
Shannon took the VIN tag from his AE86 Hatchback and made it into a keychain together with the Levin Coupes ignition key. “Gone but never forgotten”.
Text and Photos By: Ed Nueva