Toyota designers pay tribute to iconic manga comic strip car
WITH perhaps a little too much time on their hands, the designers at Toyota’s special projects department in the UK took the 86 Initial D concept to re-imagining Japan’s iconic comic book car AE86.
Called manga, after the cult comics from the land of the rising sun, the vehicle not only copies the manga car’s distinctive panda-style monochrome livery, but uses new versions of the same Japanese market components that were featured so successfully on the original.
First published in 1995, the Initial D manga comics told the story of a young fuel station attendant who delivers tofu for his father’s business every night in an old Toyota Sprinter Trueno on the twisting roads of the local Mount Akina.
With years of practice before he is even of legal driving age, the protagonist — Takumi Fujiwara — is the fastest driver on the mountain.
As the series develops, several drivers from across the country descend on Akina to challenge young Takumi.
The series was so popular that it was later adapted into an television series in 1998 and thanks to the increasing popularity of drifting the series has since become a worldwide phenomenon.
It also made the Toyota Sprinter Trueno — known as a Corolla Levin in Japan and Corolla GT in the UK — a cult hero.
On its launch in 2012, the current generation Toyota 86 was instantly recognised as a spiritual successor to the rear-wheel drive Corolla GT Coupe of the mid1980s.
That connection has now been re-emphasised with the creation of a one-off 86 Initial D concept, liveried and kitted to match its comic book Corolla predecessor.
To emphasise the new concept’s roots in pop culture, Toyota commissioned UK-based manga artist Sonia Leong to design a series of panoramic backdrops that effectively put the real 86 into comic strip action scenes.
The Toyota 86 Initial D concept will be attending motoring events around Britain throughout the summer.
— Wheels Reporter.
The car of Japan’s original comic book drifting hero has been remade.