In 1982 and 1983 Masahiro Uchida and Masaru Kubota joined the Paris-Dakar rally in a Toyota Carina ST A60. The year after they chose a different beast: a Toyota Corolla Levin AE86 coupe. And they stuck to that formula the next two years as well.
I have no idea who is posing next to the AE86, but surely that is neither Masahiro Uchida nor Masaru Kubota.
This is a zenki Levin, so it is not the same as the kouki the team used in their famous 1986 video.
Now there are a couple of things odd in this photo: first of all the exhaust is modified in a way that became fashionable in the mid 90s on Opel Calibras and Volkswagen Golfs. Probably they tilted the exhaust tip upwards to prevent it hitting rocks and bumps.
Second of all the rear axle appears if it is IRS and leaning on the stack of tires. Could it be they converted the live axle to IRS to increase ride height? I watched the 1986 video two times in a row but could not see a similar modification on the kouki Levin AE86 they used in 1986…
Almost seven years ago I posted about Masaru Kubota’s and Masahiro Uchida’s Toyota Carina ST joining the Paris-Dakar rally in 1982 and 1983 and today I stumbled upon this amazing photo of the very same Carina:
To be honest: I’m speechless here. So much awesomeness being pushed out of that boxy four door sedan by team ACP!
I think the photo is part of an unknown Toyota and/or Carina brochure as it states “…across the burning sands of the Sahara…” and underneath that “turn to center pages”. This indicates there are some center pages (brochures?) with more of this. I hope I will somehow uncover this in the future.
As you can see in the catalogue of S57-6 (June 1982) the Carina A6 featured in the Paris-Dakar rally. According to the Carina page on the Japanese Wikipedia it featured in 1981 and 1982. However I could not find any reference that they actually did attend in 1981, especially not on this list. I did find a Toyota Starlet attending Paris-Dakar.
I did find that Masaru Kubota and Masahiro Uchida joined Paris-Dakar in 1982 and 1983 with a Carina, and Kubota was driving the Starlet in 1981. They became 34th in 1982 but did not finish 1983.
They entered as a private team (no factory backup) in the normal unmodified class, so their Carina was almost bone stock!!
Perhaps the Japanese Wikipedia page is mistaken about the years, maybe the conversion from Japanese years was done wrongly or maybe they traveled to Paris before 1st of January and of course counted it as 1981. We’ll never know.