Toyota 86 drifts back to its roots with Initial D concept
When it teamed up with Subaru to create the GT86, Toyota hoped it would act as a spiritual successor to the AE86 Corolla GT. This connection to a legendary past has now been made even stronger by a team within Toyota UK, which has channeled the AE86 from Japanese manga series Initial D to create a monochrome GT86 concept.
The Initial D comic book series follows the adventures of Takumi Fujiwara, a gas-station attendant who moonlights as a tofu delivery-driver for his father's business. While he's running these deliveries, Takumi hones his drifting skills to the point where, despite his indifference to the world of illegal street racing, he's able to defeat a rival race team trying to show up some locals on their home turf.
To cut a long story short, Takumi becomes a legendary downhill drifter behind the wheel of the family Corolla. This series, combined with the success of the AE86 in professional drift events in the real world, helped cement its status as a bona-fide legend in the automotive world.
Looking to capture the spirit of this legend, the Toyota UK team has tried to mirror Takumi's car – the Legendary Eight-Six of Akina – both on the outside, and under the skin. That means the exterior is finished in the same black-and-white as the Fujiwara Tofu Shop AE86, with special mud flaps and yellow-lensed fog lights to complete the look. Under the hood, there's a unique engine cover to match the one eventually fitted to Takumi's car.
To improve performance in the Akina Mountains, the new GT86 sits on TRD suspension attached to 17-inch RS Watanabe F8 wheels. There's a front strut brace attached, while the team has also fitted a Fujitsubo exhaust for a bit of extra growl.
"Right from the start, the Toyota GT86 was developed as a car that would appeal to enthusiasts, whether in standard trim or as an exploitable base for further modifications," says Toyota special projects team member Joe Clifford. "With this Initial D concept we not only acknowledge how important the AE86 was in influencing Toyota's modern approach to sports cars but also demonstrate how the GT86 can be aesthetically and dynamically improved with relatively simple aftermarket accessories. But perhaps most of all, we just thought it was an achingly cool idea."
The modified GT86 will be doing the rounds at UK motor shows throughout the coming months.