My Reward after Teaching

by Kevin R Burns
(Kanagawa, Japan)

My Reward after Teaching, after many years of teaching and turning 50, was to buy myself a Toyota 86 sports car. It is a beautiful, well balanced car. It is so fun to drive, that when I dream, I sometimes hear the rev of the engine and feel the pull of the torque as I accelerate in my dreams!

The Toyota 86, the Car of my Dreams

If you too, have lived and worked in Japan for many years, I applaud you. I write that sincerely because I know from experience you have given up many things to do so - your friends and family back home, and a life in your home country.

It took a certain person to do that. Not many can!
So you need to reward yourself sometimes!

When I turned 50, I decided that I had accomplished something, and deserved a nice car in reward. Seriously, a number of people never make it to 50. So I felt I had done something right.

We needed to replace our aging, 15 year old, Mitsubishi Chariot van, that had served us well. It had brought home two of our children, as newborns, from the hospital, and it had been reliable, after some initial software tinkering by Mitsubishi to get automatic acceleration problems, and things like that fixed. The van would sometimes rev by itself, which reminds me of some of the stories about the mishaps on Toyotas.

The kids are bigger now, and don`t need to be driven as much anymore. They can take the bus or train on their own. So I thought if we actually only live once, I want to have another sports car before I die.

In past years, my wife and I drove a twin-turbo charged Nissan Sylvia. Boy that car could go when the turbos kicked in. And if any law-enforcement officials read this website, I only mean theoretically. Really!

In my twenties, I owned a beautiful, charcoal grey, Volkswagen Scirocco. That was one of the few cars I have ever owned that people would come up and ask admiringly, what kind of car is that? I think they though it was a Porsche or some other exotic sports car.

I vowed I would own a car, that would get some looks, yet again. But what to buy? I had some money saved up from years of working, and our bills were mostly paid. Japan is a haven for buying used goods, be they cars or refrigerators. Japanese are famously clean, and take care of things very well. Buying new is silly unless you really have to, or really want the item and it is only available new.

So I spent a lot of time at checking out all the used cars available from Ferrari - TVR. I looked at American muscle and exotic cars like the Mitsuoka Orochi, which though it looks European, is actually made right here in Japan.

What were my priorities? Realistically, no one needs a sports car. It was a want more than a need. I needed a reliable car that would get me to work on time. So that rules out Italian cars, French cars, and anything British to my mind. Those three countries are not famous for making reliable automobiles. Germany, Japan, even some of the American cars, struck me as more dependable. I looked at American muscle cars - Mustangs, Camaros all used and at competitive prices, but none really sold me. I liked them all, but I could only choose one.

Almost all sports cars are beautiful to look at, however I have always liked the ones with the long front. The Jaguar XK-E is absolutely stunning. But it is unreliable.

You can get a used XK-E in Japan for around 5 million yen or so. The previously mentioned Orochi is around 6 million yen. Ferraris are more expensive, and Porsches vary a lot by type. But many Porsche owners said their car was unreliable.

The Datsun 240Z was a beautiful car. You can get one used, with a rebuilt engine and new paint for around 5 million yen as well. But again, in such an old car, I would think reliability would be suspect. If I ever make it BIG in Japan, maybe I will get one of the above cars as a hobby car. But not as an everyday car.

What had beautiful Italian styling, but would get me to work on time?

I discovered the Toyota 86 at a car show in Tokyo. It was actually the Subaru BRZ, but they are almost the exact same car - (with variations on suspension and such). If I bought an 86, I thought if anything goes wrong, I just go to Toyota - no expensive parts or repairs. In North America, the car is called the Scion FR-S.

My wife took pity on me, seeing my gut and aging body, and allowed me to buy any car I wanted within reason. I chose the Toyota 86, and it gets looks everywhere we go. It is a beautiful car.

I got it in Midlife Crisis Red!

No actually, it is fire engine red.
(a friend quipped that her grandfather had actually driven a fire engine), so that trumped my car somewhat. But in spite of that I like the chrome, spoked rims, Medallista Package, TRD suspension and leather interior. 6 speed manual transmission 2000 CC engine with plenty of power! It even sounds great as you accelerate. The car wants to go fast. You can feel it every time you speed up. The sound system is top notch too, and I am in love with the lady that speaks to me as I start her up. (Don`t tell Ikumi!) I got the GT Limited version which is the top of the line one. The damage? 3.9 million yen. But it is a car I really, really love. The acceleration and
handling when cornering is fantastic. Maybe the best I have ever experienced.

There are many reviews on the internet, that sold me on this car before I ever got to drive it. I highly recommend it! Also you don`t have to spend as much as I did. I wanted all the bells and whistles.

As it is lowered, and that makes a huge difference to the look of most sports cars, I have to back in when I park much of the time. But I love the low slung, longish look to the car. No it isn`t a Jaguar XK-E. But no I have not been stuck at the side of the road waiting for a tow, as my V-12 overheated on Japan`s crowded streets. I will take this car, any day, as an everyday, beautiful sports car.

If Japan ever gets serious about making sports cars, I think the Italians will find themselves in trouble. Or they will need to hire some Japanese engineers to improve their reliability. If Toyota continues in this vain, they will be number one in the world again soon.

Toyota AE86 vs Toyota GT 86

Toyota 86 Forums

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May 16, 2015
Great Car! NEW
by: Jassi Smith

It’s a great reward my friend. You have managed to buy a Toyota 86 after struggling for so many years. It’s really a good achievement. The videos you have uploaded here are excellent. It’s look is just awesome. I enjoyed reading your whole article. It was really interesting. Thanks for sharing. For Toyota servicing you may visit:

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