Name: Ben Phillips Lo­ca­tion: Auck­land Oc­cu­pa­tion: Spray painter

NZ Performance Car - - News - PHO­TOS: MAR­CUS GIB­SON

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.

EN­GINE: 4U-GSE, 1998cc, four-cylin­der

DRIV­E­TRAIN: Six-speed man­ual

IN­TE­RIOR: Fac­tory

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

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