Before Facebook or Instagram, and when an influencer hadn’t even been invented yet there were forums. These were a place where people could talk about things that interested them and this, AE86irl, was our forum. A place which for a time was the heart and soul of the AE86 and retro Toyota community in Ireland. But it was much more than that, it was a place where knowledge and jokes were shared in equal measures, there was of course the occasional bust up but most importantly many life long friendships were formed here.
It was last week that I was reminded of one of these friendships when I got the news that a pillar of the AE86irl community had sadly passed away. John Paul O’Driscoll or to everyone on here simply “Fatman off the site” was one of the true ambassadors for AE86irl, not only was his knowledge and passion for old Toyotas legendary but he had the unique ability to just tell it like it is which he did in all of his 8,150 posts on this site.
For those of us lucky enough to have met John in person he was one of the most genuine and charismatic people you could hope to spend time with, he wore his heart on his sleeve but could have you doubled over in pain from laughing in an instant with his wicked sense of humour. He was an important part of our community and his passing has left a big hole not only for those who knew him but for the AE86 scene in general.
When I got the news I felt it was important to recognise his contribution to AE86irl by bringing this creaking old website back to life and paying tribute to him. I know that this place was important to John and he was proud to be part of the admin team.
If you would like to remember John I feel like the forum which he loved is the right place to do it so I have set up a thread where we can share memories and stories here;
It was a privilege to know you John, share good times with you and be able to call you a friend.
From all at AE86irl,