|The search for "the" driver|
|"The one, who conquers Kanagawa, conquers the country." In the early 1980s, there were 2 youngsters who stood out in the crowd, in the kingdom of rally; Kanagawa. They were Hakaru Ichino and Yoshio Fujimoto. A co-driver and a 4driver, who actually started out as rivals from different teams. They were very aware of each other. Without a word, their runs and speed fiercely attracted one another. "Where can I find that incredibly fast driver named Fujimoto?" As Ichino's rally activity shifted to all Japan events, he was told to find his partner; "the" driver. Without hesitation, he found out through his friend how to reach Fujimoto and called him. "Why don't we compete in all Japan events together?" Of course Fujimoto immediately agreed. There was absolutely no reason for him to turn down such offer from Ichino, for whom he had sense of reverence. "Mr. Ichino always stays cool, and is great at gathering information. I can leave everything to him!"
This was where it all began.
|Shock absorbers by Ichino & Fujimoto|
|"No suspension works for us!" Ichino and Fujimoto faced a big problem competing together in rally races. "There is NO shock absorber that can withstand our aggressive run." At that time, there were no shock absorbers available for their rally car, and they could only do so much by using parts from other vehicles. They thought about it for a while and finally made the decision; "If there is nothing on the market, let's make our own!" With excitement, Ichino started a new company and named it "TEIN". Fujimoto quit the company he was working for and eagerly joined Ichino. From that point on, they would share the same destiny.
They recall, “We did everything on our own; visited shops that entered rallies, persuaded managers, drew blueprints, purchased materials, machined the parts, and completed assembly.” Their factory/office was a small triangular shaped room, which was less than 25m2 (250sqft). Day after day they talked about their dreams and aspirations, “soon we will be competing in lots of rally events around the world!”. “There are some guys building some awesome shock absorbers.” It wasn’t long before news about their products traveled all over Japan.
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