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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Toyobaru GTBRZ86-RS Now Available In Serious Flavour

Subaru BRZ Type RA
Stepping away from Formula 1 for a moment, I assume by now you know about the Toyota GT 86 and Subaru BRZ. Together they could well reignite the small FR sports coupé as a genre and bring back cars to appeal to enthusiasts from mainstream companies that can build them properly. Since the dominance of Japan fell in the '00s, such cars have all but disappeared, the only "JDM" survivor being the Mazda MX-5, but now we have these two, and this new version is a sign that they really mean business, because it comes standard with...... nothing. See those black steelies in the top picture? That's exactly what you get. No foglights, no air conditioning, no stereo (!), no cupholders, no door lights, no nuthin'. Even the Torsen torque-sensitive electronic differential has been chucked out and replaced with a simple mechanical one, and the ventilated rear brakes are no longer ventilated. If you want the definition of "bone-stock", here it is. I love it.

The reason I love it is partly because it's simple, and because it's nothing more or less than a basic driving machine, which means it has a "bone-stock" price tag too. It's not on sale outside of Japan (although importing JDM cars is still kinda cool), but comparing the price to a normal version you notice that it's £8795 cheaper (equivalent in yen). Assuming the difference were to stay the same, and going on the fact that Toyota GT 86 prices in the UK will start at £24,995, that would make it just £16,200. Excellent! But that's not really the point. This isn't an "emerging markets" version or anything like that. No no, it serves a much more serious purpose than that. You see, this car is designed to be modified.

Toyota 86 RC Spec
When I say modified, I don't mean in the way that cheap Japanese cars are normally modified by Western folk who like The Fast and The Furious, I mean modified as in the £16,200 is just the top of the pile of money you're going to spend making it into your very own racing car (or drifter, which is entirely likely of course). That's why the Subaru BRZ Type RA and Toyota 86 RC Spec don't come with alloy wheels, fog lights, metallic paint, or in the Toyota's case even painted bumpers and mirrors, because they know you're just going to throw it all away. Those piddly steel wheels are going to be swapped for some BBS racing wheels or white Volk TE37s (for drift monkeys). The front bumper is going to be swapped for one with big air intakes and room for an enlarged intercooler and a big front splitter on the bottom, while the rear one will be swapped for one with a big diffuser or holes for gigantic exhausts. The interior will be stripped out and fitted with a rollcage (on that note, why did they leave in those tiny rear seats? They've missed a trick there...), the list goes on and on. The new 2.0 boxer engine was always designed to be tuned up, but with Subaru mounting points some might just cut to the chase and put a Group N Impreza rally engine in there, or something similar. Tetsuo Tada, leader of the Toyota half of the project, said in an interview that he expects about 90% of owners to lower the suspension, which is something every version of this car could do with IMO, even if it's just a little bit. Basically, it's sold as a basic tuning base for you to spend all your savings on and go mad turning it into the racer or drifter you want it to be. If you needed a sign that this is a serious sports car for serious grease monkeys, here it is, shining as bright as unpainted steel.

As a tuning base, this car appears to be a very good choice, partly because of what you've just read, but also because the chassis you get for your small outlay is better than that of any other comparable car this side of a Porsche Cayman. If you've got time, here's evo's Chris Harris doing what I want to do:

Uploaded: 8/2/12
Running Time: 11:06
Views When Posted: 71,814

Yup. Loaded with your basic creature comforts and on Prius tyres (for extra slidey-ness), it's clearly quite a driving machine. A purely-focused version that's 40kg lighter with no frills at all, sports tyres and lowered suspension, perhaps with a boosted engine in it, could be something very special indeed. The MX-5 dimensions mean it would be an agile little racer, the chassis and balance are designed to make it a good drifter - exhibit A in the video - and like any cheap Japanese car, before long there will be more tuning parts for it than there are parts in the car. That's what these bare-bones versions allow you to do, and no other car company does that. Well, Mitsubishi used to do it with the Evo (because Rally Car), but I think they stopped doing that. People outside of Japan might not get it at first, which is perhaps why they won't sell these versions in Europe or America (whaddya mean no hubcaps, a/c or stereo? What is this, 1947?!), but as I say, it's targeted at pure and dedicated car-tuning fans, aspiring racing drivers and wannabe Dorikins. Of course, you could also put an aftermarket stereo in and go all Pimp My Ride, but if that's what you would do instead, step away. This is not for you. This is for driving enthusiasts.

And of course, if you want the thrills of the kind Chris Harris is clearly getting, but you want a radio and a/c, you can always have one of the normal versions. It's the same focused sports car, made liveable. All I need is £30k this June, assuming insurance is under £5k...

For more 86 drifting action, see this thread in the FT-86 Club forum, including some drifting action from project leader Tada-san himself. On mud!

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