LIMELIGHT | Jonas Velasco’s 86 Trueno Hachi-Roku


People build cars for different reasons; some for looks, others for performance. There are people who want something no one else has, or could afford. Some people create cars to win shows, something to see or to be seen in, while with others looks take a back seat to raw power.


But, there is another breed, those who build their car solely for themselves without any mind to what others may think of their creation. Ironically, these, more often than not, are the ones who build something everyone can appreciate.


Jonas Velasco is one of these people. This is his 86 model, Hachi-Roku and it is perfect.


Jonas would be the first person to tell you otherwise, he is quick to point out that the car needs this or that. That it is a work in progress, that he needs to fix a squeak or noting that the body damage is held affixed with zip ties or that the diff needs new seals.


In fact it took two members of our team (Martin Cunningham and myself) to convince him to do the shoot with us at all.


Now let me point out right away that this is not a show car. In fact it’s so highly tuned, that to most it would not even be a street car. What it is, is a race car.


Of any type of car out there a purpose built racer will always be my favorite. Race cars aren’t like other vehicles, they take effort. Effort to build, effort to drive and even effort to love. It is easy to love a Supercar, or to love the ride of a new high end luxury vehicle. But when you love a race car it’s personal.


They become a part of you and you, a part them; especially at the grassroots level. When you decide to build your own racer anything goes. They are a blank slate for your style and personality.


From the choice to run mere inches off the ground year round or to fit custom carbon wrapped fender flares. It is instantly recognizable that every inch of the car has been thought out and executed by the person who was meant to drive it.


Look inside the cabin of the little Trueno and you know it was not made by a team of designers for mass appeal but by an individual to fit his own tastes.


Take for instance the the custom, extendable hydraulic hand brake made from a Wilwood master cylinder and the re-purposed shaft of a medical crutch.


Or the Aqua colored Grant steering wheel and custom housing for the Autogauge and Motorsport gauge cluster.


Custom is a bit of an understatement for this car. A quick look under the hood and you will see the high compression 4AGE mated to twin 44mm Mikuni carburetors.


Forefathers the modern ITBs, side draft carburetors like Mikuni and its Italian counterparts were the benchmark of the inline race engine well past the introduction of fuel injection. In fact a well tuned set can be every bit the equal or a modern fuel delivery system. There is nothing that can match the sound of an unfiltered set of these race carbs at WOT.


Pry your attention away from the obvious performance upgrades such as the full engine swap, carbs and headers and you will start seeing more signs of the “tree shade” engineering, as Jonas calls it. Such as the modified coolant system, the front mount oil cooler which returns via the valve cover breather port or the sealed off distributor; no longer needed thanks to a the retrofitted coilpacks so generously donated by a Toyota 1MZFE. The glorious mismatch of parts synergistically coming together to create an entirely unique performance machine. Not bad for a car bought randomly off a little old lady at the grocery store for seven hundred bucks. And, yes that really is how he came by it. Just goes to show, ask you shall receive.


This modern day hotrodder mentality is what drives innovation. Jonas has used his 86 as a testing platform for numerous designs all in hopes of inspiring people to appreciate the little Toyota for what it is.


A unique Japanese classic and a capable performance car and a competitive competition vehicle.


But then, what else would you expect from the founder of 86 Garage Magazine? The quarterly print magazine he started in 2012 dedicated to furthering the notoriety of the beloved Corolla.


So in the end, yes there are cars whose numbers may be bigger. There are cars whose bodies are straighter. There are cars which have been restored to factory spec and have never seen rain. But you would be hard pressed to find one that is more innovative, or one which has had more fun than this squeaky panda.


This is Jonas Velasco’s Hachi-Roku and it is perfect. Check out the Spec list below.
Words & Photos: Hunter McLeod


  • Make
    • Toyota
  • Model
    • Corolla Levin
  • Engine
    • Small port, Hi-comp (10.3:1) 4AGE 7-rib block & 42mm rod wrists
    • 278 in/ex colt cams (@.050 237 w/ .326 lift)
    • I gently massaged the valve joggles in the combustion chamber to N2 recommendations
    • stock valves & springs
    • stock bottom end
    • NST adjustable cam gears
    • NST underdrive crank pulley (Ford Escort 36:1 trigger wheel custom mounted by NST)
    • NST Alt & H2O pulleys
    • NST radiator shroud
    • Fuel “management” handled by a pair of Mikuni 44PHH carbs
    • Paradise Racing DCOE intake manifold
    • Megajolt Lite Jr. programmable ignition by AUTOSPORTLABS
    • Coil On Plugs from a 1MZFE
    • “tree shade” engine torque dampener
    • Cusco engine mounts
    • 2 row rad out of a Del Sol Si
    • re-purposed NASCAR Setrab trans oil cooler
    • GREX thermostatic oil cooler adapter
  • Transmission
    • NST short shifter
    • NST stainless steel shifter bushing
    • Cusco trans mount
    • factory 5 spd
    • factory 4.3 diff w/ a full spool & Weir “crush” sleeve
    • clutch master cylinder out of an ’87 FJ60
    • Fidanza lightened flywheel
    • Competition Clutch
    • OBX TRD knock off 4-1 headers
    • Buddy Club Spec II catback w/ test pipe
  • Chassis
    • BC Racing Camber plates and adjustable front & rear suspension
    • DMZ front upper strut brace
    • Whiteline adj. front & rear sways
    • Custom e-brake “Screwed” button by Aaron Rue
    • Paradise Racing adj. 4 links & panhard
    • “tree shade” traction brackets & trunk carriage brace
    • Techno Toy Tuning adj. tension rods
    • Battle Version NCRCAs
    • Battle Version steering spacers
    • rebuilt factory manual rack out of an ’85 SR5 w/ power steering knuckles
    • NST brake master cylinder stopper
    • hydraulic handbrake w/ re-purposed adjustable crutch leg
  • Wheels
    • 14″ x 7 (-9 offset) Konig Rewinds
    • 5mm spacers up front & 50mm spacers in back
    • Federals 185/55 14s (preferred soles dictated by pocket book)
  • Interior
    • AJPS dash cover
    • no name carbon kevlar seat
    • Grant “California Colors” series aqua steering wheel
  • Exterior
    • Seibon carbon fiber drop vent hood
    • Toyota factory kouki rear bump skin and brackets
    • Shine Auto J-Blood style front bumper
    • Shine Auto J-Blood style rear bumper add-on spats
    • Shine Auto CBY style skirts
    • Shine Auto TRD style wing
    • Cusco frp hatch
    • Do Luck style rear floor brace
    • lexan hatch & quarter panel windows
    • “tree shade” rear over fenders
    • Raybrig headlight housings
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