"This was the only suitable next step, since I like how the old Levin was and wanted to leave it as is."

Name: Ben Phillips Location: Auckland
Occupation: Spray painter

NZ Performance Car: Hi, Ben. How long have you owned the 86, and what made you pick it up?
Ben: Hi, NZ Performance Car. I’ve had it for a year and a half now, and originally bought it after getting to the point with my AE86 [NZPC Issue no. 207] where it was either restyle the whole car, or start fresh with a new chassis. This was the only suitable next step, since I like how the old Levin was and wanted to leave it as is.

Logical choice then. How does it compare to your old AE86 as a daily driver? 
The AE was a neat vehicle. It was hard to let go of it, and it’s not possible to compare the two vehicles fairly. It would be 1983 tech, compared to 2012. Air conditioning is the main thing, compared to being stuck in a sweaty little Bride seat — the floor would heat up and heat would come up through the shifter. Not my favourite in summer. 

That’s the joys of owning older cars right there. So, where did you draw your inspiration for the styling on this one?
I took the styling from my old car. Red paintwork with gold wheels, wide arches, a roof spoiler, and a duckbill sort of spoiler. It’s just my later version of the old car. I chose the KM4SH kit simply because it didn’t have the cutouts in the front guards like all other Rocket Bunny kits do, which means stone chips up the doors etc. Also it’s less common, and as Speedhunters are notoriously hard to order from, there won’t be any knock-offs on Aliexpress. 

The resemblance is quite uncanny. Do you plan to chase power, or are you happy with what it’s got?
I’m not overly impressed with the current power, but satisfied — the car lives in traffic jams. I have just had to put a new motor in it though, since the boxer is such a sack-of-shit of a design, so I won’t be doing anything to it in the near future. I have other vehicles that are more interesting, which take priority of the spare funds.

It’s a hard choice where to funnel build funds, that’s for sure! Thanks for sharing her with us, Ben.

2012 Toyota 86
ENGINE: 4U-GSE, 1998cc, four-cylinder
DRIVETRAIN: Six-speed manual
EXTERIOR: Volkswagen red by GT Refinishers, Rocket Bunny and Speedhunters collaboration KM4SH bodykit,
custom boot spoiler, Buddy Club tail lights, custom front splitter, roof wing, gold mirror tints
WHEELS/TYRES: (F) 18x9.5-inch Work Meisters, (R) 18x10.5-inch Work Meisters, gold metal flake centres
SUSPENSION: BC Gold coilovers, Cusco arms

Jaden Martin

Growing up inhaling paint fumes and bog dust at his old man's panel shop, Jaden is a qualified word bender that has obtained a 'brofessional' diploma in car building from years of trial and error. He's currently trying to finish his creation of Australian-based debauchery crammed with Japanese- and Euro-inspired goodness. You'll find him writing for NZ Performance Car and producing content online.

Instagram — @jaden_nzpcmagazine