You know, life is a funny thing…always circular. Friends come, friends go. Lives change direction. People die. Some things change. Some things never change.
In 1993, I had my first run in with the internet. Two years later, I had taken the online “handle” ae86boy in a weak attempt to connect my aspirations with my age and inexperience. Fast forward five years to 2000, and I had build one of the cleanest Corolla’s around, started at least three automotive websites, two ae86 related car clubs, helped found the ae86 webring and was one of the dominant sources for ae86 information online. I grew into my name. Go forward another five years to 2005, and I had virtually disappeared. The internet filled itself with wannabe’s, copy cats and fanboys. The name ae86boy became an uncreative handle used by many, developing a billion different spellings, permutations and combinations as others flooded the party looking to identify. People started using ae86boy as their own website addresses, email names, bbs handles and blog fodder. One of them even copied my webpage verbatim and posted it as his own!
ae86 running free
I’ve owned the ae86boy.com URL for several years now…and I’ll probably never let it go because I want to protect it. It has become me, more than I ever thought it could. It’s not some nickname, some bullshit title or something I created to stroke my own ego. It’s how I identify myself with my car, and I’m not about to let that be even more misused than it already is. I really do wish that people out there could just get on with it and find their own niche rather than dive bombing all over those that belong to others. I’m tired of seeing cars in magazines that all look the same! Be yourself, have creative thoughts and stand by them! Become a pioneer in the automotive field like Junior Asper, Matt Hotch, Dave Shih, Chip Foose, Weyland Yung, Eric Hsu, Smokey Nagata or Keiichi Tsuchiya. Don’t rush to do what everyone else is doing. I had my ae86 and started modding it so long before it was cool that watching it catch on with others was almost painful. It was like people were showing up for the dinner party right after desert and coffee were served, wondering if there were any leftovers.
Dan's photo shoot, colour
At the end of 2005, things started to change. I lost a fiancé, gained a house and a better job and moved off line. Not having an internet connection has really cleared my head and refocussed my car hobby. I never realized just how tired the internet can be….everyone pretending to be something they’re not because they think it makes them special. It might work great on dating sites…but on car sites it’s aggravating. Add to that all the personal conflicts that I was having with several people who were supposed to be my friends and look out for my interests, and suddenly the peaceful escape from the land of the fanboy was welcomed. Either way, they know who they are, they know what they did or didn’t do. Some of it can be forgiven. Some of it can’t. The truth was always documented, I’m not sure there’s much point in others trying to rewrite it? Oh well, people can believe what they want. I never wanted the limelight and attention…but to see someone else take things of my creation and pretend that they did it all…that is infuriating. I guess I should be flattered that someone would go through all the trouble to try to steal that from me…it must really have meant a lot to them. Hope they like being posers.
Hibernating in the ambulance hall
This webpage was originally created as a low-buck DIY page. I had gone online looking for information about the car and found…well…nothing. It frustrated me so much that I decided to fix the problem by putting online what I knew. I managed to keep it step by step, and low-bandwidth in the world of 9600bps dialup systems. The majority of the mods and tips were what I would call “ghetto mods”. Modifications that required little or no money that could be done with basic hand tools at home…and usually didn’t require buying parts, or very few dollars worth of parts. They also had the fit and finish of a smashed loaf of whole grain bread. Its one thing to make a cold-air intake for $60 in parts when they sell for $300+…it’s another thing to have it look like it cost $20 and was build in some kind of low budget cold war laboratory. It was a cheap way to make a fun car…it just wasn’t always reliable, cosmetic or optimum. A cheap intake was good…but it’s just not as good as a ceramic coated, wheel-well mounted aftermarket cold air system with an integral velocity stack. It’s 4hp versus 7hp. It doesn’t seem like much, but if you make the cost sacrifice enough times, things start to break, and you get passed a lot on tracks. Needless to say, I decided this wasn’t good enough anymore.
Posing on a crab run
I was a ghetto modder mostly because of lack of funds. Few parts for the ae86 existed back then…and those that did were expensive! Having a Kraft Dinner diet while trying to build a car and going through university…there just wasn’t money around for a $350 TRD shifter or $700 Addco sway bars. But things were about to change. I met a machinist with an artistic flair, a love of cars and a “never say die” mentality…and after brainstorming a bit, we started fabricating parts. Using my designs and understanding of the car coupled with his ability to manipulate media, we began to prototype various ae86 parts that weren’t available on the continent at the time. Thanks to a Japanese magazine called HyperRev we had all the pictures and ideas we needed. Soon, I started selling the parts online for reasonable prices…soon only to get undercut by the rising wave of bandwagon fab shops. That idea fizzled all together when the machinist I was using moved shop to a town 6 hours away. I’m proud to say that some of those parts have never been matched in the aftermarket for their quality, materials or ingenuity.
Molson house shoot, colour
As the money got easier, the parts came easier. The market place flooded with Japanese brands looking to make their mark on the exploding import scene. Now that most parts were available, it really became a question of niche. At this point, my webpage had taken on many revisions, upgrades, downgrades and lateral moves…none of them to my satisfaction. Once Initial D popularized the eccentric art of drifting around the world, demand for the ae86 exploded. Websites popped up everywhere. Everyone was an authority. This is where things went sour. It always seems inevitable…but when something cool goes mainstream, all of the biters wreck it. I had guys stopping me everywhere telling me everything they thought they knew about my car, or telling me what I should do to it because they saw it in some magazine full of half truths, never bothering to find out who I was or what was already done because they couldn’t see it with their own eyes…it was right in front of their faces the whole time. It’s like the whole idea behind the car got lost and people starting believing the hype that they’d seen in movies. Just because the stunt driver in Dukes of Hazzard can jump a river in a Charger doesn’t mean that you can. If you saw Keiichi Tsuchiya smoke an R34 in his ae86…that doesn’t mean you’re going to. Its not that it’s impossible…it’s that the average person doesn’t possess the tuning skill or driving ability required to pull it off. Street racing went from two guys lining up and having it out to a hundred teen wannabe’s hanging out in a parking lot with the car mom and dad bought them, talking about how fast they think they are. There’s a reason those cars are covererd in wings and decals people. Having a tuner car has become a fashion accessory, an image requirement that makes you look like you know what’s going on and can back it up. When all of this combined, that’s when it was time to walk away. I think it really hit home when I was driving up a local street and had a rocket cycle rider circle my car and then give me his “approval”. Five years earlier and he wouldn’t even have known what it was.
Quality time: A bench over the River City
I’ve wanted to redo my webpage for quite some time. I just never had the time to do it. Time is the new currency of success…the more you have, the richer you are. It’s not about dollars anymore…anyone can make money. Do you have the time to use it? Either way, I finally have the time and tools to make this webpage something more than it was. I’ve already renovated it once, almost entirely, only to have my computer’s power supply explode, shoot fire and destroy all of the hardware and software. Funny enough, the only thing I didn’t have backed up was…you guessed it…my webpage. Several people have asked me exactly what I hope to gain from journeying back online. My thoughts are simple…I’m still doing what I’m doing, and I think the car has earned its place online. It deserves to have its story told. Despite the fanboy-ism of the 86 world, my car remains fairly unique in its approach and style. I wish I could actually put up its entire history, as it happened, but I’m sure there are many people online who wouldn’t like what I had to say. There are many knights in shining armor in the ae86 community that are quick to look good for the masses, yet behind closed doors are essentially child molesters out for their own interests. They lie, cheat, manipulate, hoard, whine and outright use anything or anyone they can find for their own benefit all the while pretending to be your friend. It’s even more fun when things don’t go their way! Better to be on the outside, looking in, in my opinion. The wolves are inside the walls, and in ae86 circles they’re rarely recognized for who and what they are. I’ve got nothing to prove to anyone…I never did…and I’m not one to put up with hero worship of those who haven’t earned it the hard way.
Dan photo shoot, black and white
This webpage is here as a testament to the love and devotion I have for my creation…and that is something that will never change. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy what you see, or learn something from it that you didn’t find elsewhere.
Proof it's a labour of love
So, here we are with a new look, a new link, new space on a new server in the middle of nowhere on the internet. Funny how things can come full circle. I got started on the internet in 1993/1994 as a student at a local university. At the time the internet was in its infancy...nothing like it is today. Flash was a word that didn't exist, Honda's were running 13 second quarters and Detroit was still fabricating junk cars like Cavaliers and Dodge Shadows. It was in this automotive wasteland that I started to forge my online identity. It all started innocently enough...a friend of mine had recently bought an aw11, and I talked him into getting some speed parts for it for fun...just to see what we could do to the car. Around the same time, I purchased an ae86 for various reasons and we both started tweaking away. I don't think either of us ever realized where it was going to go.
Dan photo shoot, colour
Few houses back then had internet, much less a full DSL or Cable system. Well, the University had cutting edge Sun/Sparc stations and everything to go with them, so I was far ahead of the came in terms of bandwidth and other software. Hell, they even had a NExT lab! So, putting these resources to their obvious uses, I started wasting them on searching for mr2 speed parts. One day I stumbled upon the Toyota Mods InfoServer. Its basically a mailbot server with a link site, but at the time it was the best the internet had to offer...and all the Toyota gurus went there. I found a link on the site that would alter my course, Aric Shen's mr2 site. Aric was at the forefront of the import scene in California, and still is to this day. So were all of his friends, who he generously connected me with for anything and everything I could ever need. Suddenly, a kid from backwater Canada was thrust into a world where connections were everything...starting at the top. It made for some interesting phonecalls and emails, let me tell you...and I was incredibly priviledged to have been put in that situation. Unfortunately, I have lost track of Aric as his professional life and family (congrats dude!) have taken over. The sense I'm trying to convey here is that, were it not for him, I'd still be doing stupid things like everyone in my home town does to cars. Lets just say we have a well-earned reputation for being a bunch of clueless idiots when it comes to speed. Anyway, Aric was my window to the information I needed to get started.
The Toyota Mods InfoServer led me to all sorts of Toyota "been-there-done-that" gurus. Household Toyota names like Gerald San Agustin, Stephen Gunter, Yasin Ali, Antonio Alvendria and hundreds of others subscribed to this mailbot. All you did was email your question/comment/reply to a generic email address, and it would forward it to everyone on the server. It did this either in individual mails, or in one giant email broken into sections. You can imagine how much email traffic this would generate, and my poor Hotmail account could not handle the flood. I wound up leaving the Server because I couldn't keep up either. It was around this time that I noticed there was a distinct lack of anything relating to a corolla online.
So, my life took a twist, and I decided to fill the void that I saw. It was a cavalier plan, to say the least...take all the modifications that I was doing to my car, and document them online. There were a few small catches. 1) I had no digital camera, so everything was text. 2) All the internet was slow, so I tried to keep everything text. Basically, bandwidth was the issue of the day...for a lot of people. This really hampered the site's ability to convey anything...it was all good information, but the lack of photographic backup made it extremely tedious to read, as well as hard to understand without a visual representation. Fortunately, we found ways around it...Ascii drawings and borrowed Digicams were the rules of the day. As the site progressed, emails started coming, and more people joined into the new ae86 online presence. This was around the time that Club4ag.com came along and changed all the rules.
Motohide Miwa walked onto the internet in 1996 or 1997 with a mission that he has totally understated. Moto's an understated kind of guy, and every single ae86/4ag fan online owes him a debt of gratitude that is unpayable. Moto bridged the language gap for everyone, and because of this, popped the cork on the bottleneck of japanese ae86 wisdom and mysticism that was kept from the north american market for so very long. He single-handedly kickstarted the hearts of literally thousands of people in terms of their vehicular enjoyment, and provided them the resources, answers and guidance necessary to keep that alive and going. Essentially, he was the bringer of hope...and he still is to this day. Club4ag.com has become the ae86 online resource, housing at least a dozen bbs's, at least a hundred links to sites and manufacturers and the most complete technical section for ae86 and 4ag material in the world, barring none. This brought enthusiasts in a flood, like a moth to a flame, and unintentionally, Moto did a lot of damage to a lot of other people's sites as a result. My hits dropped over time from 100+ a day, down to its current 1-2 over a period of about 5 years because everyone just went to club4ag.com. And you know what happens when something becomes "cool"...all the idiots come along.
In 1999, a small group of enthusiasts in Canada, based on the effect of Club4ag.com and the people who were moving into the scene, created a response. We wanted somewhere unifying for us, that kept out all the bandwagon riders that were showing up online. Essentially, we wanted an online Canadian community. It all sparked from a conversation between myself and Jover in Toronto one night over country-fried-steaks at the local Chilli's Steakhouse, and grew from the two founding members into something...well...spectacular. Despite everything everyone wanted, DoriKaze turned into a wonderful online meeting place full of good hearted people and tons of information. I can say that while I may have minor issues with the way the community has gone, I am very surprised as to how well it got there and has maintained its online presence. I would almost say it was the gem of the internet for what it does. My hats go off the members of the community for running with our stupid-impulsive-hairbrained-idea and turning it into something amazing.
Around the time this was all happening, drifting started to become the "thing" in the import scene. This is partially because of Moto and his japanese cross-cultural efforts, and partially because at the time everyone in California wanted to be Japanese so bad it hurt. Initial D, a Japanese anime cartoon about a kid using an ae86 to take down all the local midnight rocket dancers in his neighbouring mountain range becoming the most popular show on Japanese television didn't help too much either. Because the ae86 was the old, faithful car that "started it all" back in Japan, it became one of the band wagon cars for the wannabe drifter to jump on in north america...and that ruined the ae86 scene for a lot of people. But, once the wagon was rolling, it was unstoppable. Soon, a lot of us were getting emails about what shift knobs were best to drift with, and our advice was sought dozens of times on what colour supra wheels should be painted. Fortunately, not everyone who came along at this time was like that, and together, they held the communities up against the pressure of the common bad. These are the people who deserve a pat on the back more than anyone...they largely saved the car's reputation and the communities from the avalanche of wannabes.
So, where do I fit into all of this now? I don't. I'm just a bystander. Dorikaze has flown without my involvement for years. My website has been taken off the Toyota Mods Webring and the ae86 Webring, so I get no traffic. Geocities cut their bandwidth limit to 2megs per hour of data transfer...so anyone finding my site and reading it would get 1/10th through it before it crashed and they never came back to read the rest once they find Club4ag.com. There's a whole new breed of enthusiast out here now...almost a hybrid of sorts. A lot of the kids now don't understand mechanics, have no respect for their elders and get lost when it comes to anything other than whats "hot". They have no history, and no understanding based on that history. Its a sad state of affairs, and I hope it swings the other way for no reason other than these kids are missing the whole point. My friends and I have gone from being ghetto-modders to parts buyers to personal installers and constructors. We have pretty well seen and done it all, and did all the work we could ourselves until we either ran out of time, or tools to get it done. Most importantly, we went from being reckless streetracers to track monkeys/hashiriya. Now we believe that we drive to preserve. We're not doing it with trailer queens persay, but we do want to maintain the quality and condition. We put hours of time, tons of money and over a decade of research into making what we have...wrapping it around a lamp post or scratching it just isn't in the cards anymore.
This website has been online now for 10+ years. It was started as a means to show everyone else how they could modify their ae86. Today, I've gone away from the 'how to' emphasis I placed on everything, and I'm leaning more towards a page that tells the story of my car, where it started, how it came to be and some of the trials and tribulations associated with doing things that have never been done before. I hope you, the reader and purpose for the page, find it interesting and enjoy all the pictures.
Thanks for coming,