Toy­ota de­sign­ers pay trib­ute to iconic manga comic strip car

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

The car of Ja­pan’s orig­i­nal comic book drift­ing hero has been re­made.

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