Injured Hachi goes under the knife

But of course, you do remember those few stories (see below for Related Articles) about the brave little Hachi aka Toyota Corolla GT AE86 and its/his/her rallying adventures. Driven by Croatian drifter turned rally driver Josip Žagar Zax, this fantastic car endured some hardships, rolled on its side, broke a bone (suspension/strut tower) but aside from that, it was a fun car to drive and observe. Because rally stages and rear wheel drive go hand in hand, as many of us don’t know these days, sadly.

After the last injury, sustained in a jump during Martinski Rally in Croatia, Hachi went below the radar, so to speak. In petrolhead lingo that means that the car got its internals exposed and parts removed, surgery style. Zax contacted me the other day with some news and photos and I’m happy to report that Hachi is on the mend. Yes, it still looks a bit wounded and bruised, but Zax is a good car doctor, he’ll fix it. Not only that, he will also strap a few upgrades in, because why not. When you crash or damage your car, best way to fix that is to repair the damage and install upgrades. I believe that’s how the tuning was born.

Back to the story and the Hachi at hand. Here is what Zax had to say about the ongoing process of repair and upgrade-ation. Like the word? I do.

“As you know, our suspension tower sort of collapsed after the landing during a rally, but then came summer so I took a break from the car and the garage for as much as I could. With summer out of the way it’s now time to get back to garage and get my hands dirty. To be able to fully fix the damage I removed the 4A-GE engine together with the gearbox. Upon inspection I realized that I’ll need to replace the clutch. Well, might as well do it properly then.”

“The T50 gearbox will be rebuilt using the original Toyota parts, although I wouldn’t mind using a TRD with the longer first gear. Bearings and synchro meches will also be replaced in the gearbox. Movin on to the steering system – steering column is going to be rebuilt, from bushings and bearings to the new Quaife quick steering rack. This is a good time to slap in one more addition, steering rack spacer to allow for more driftey steering angles.”

“Chasis, I plan to reinforce it with spot welds and metal plates. In general, more or less, that should be it. Car should be ready for the next outing which is Sv. Nedelja Rally Show, a gravel-only event I plan not to miss.”

Zax’s message on Facebook was all greasy and had engine oil stains, so I guess he is permanently in his garage, working on the car. I’ve heard rumours that he doesn’t even eat or sleep, but according to some sources he takes delivery of local fast food once a day. His friends say he will not be happy until that car is fixed. Let’s just hope he did not actually name his car and that he does not refer to it as “she”.