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Toyota's manga-inspired concept adds new GT86 to old world of Initial D

Frankly, I'm surprised this manga-infused mashup didn't happen sooner.

Toyota UK

As an old Initial D geek, this makes me very happy.

Toyota UK

Initial D is a Japanese manga held in high regard in car-enthusiast circles. It follows Takumi Fujiwara as he transforms from lowly tofu delivery boy into a mountain-pass-driving legend, all while piloting an AE86 in a black-and-white livery. Toyota's built a modern recreation of this car, using its GT86 as a model, and it commissioned a UK manga artist Sonia Leong to put it into action scenes from the comic.

When Toyota unveiled its GT86, which came to the US first as the Scion FR-S and then as the Toyota 86, enthusiasts considered it the rightful successor to the AE86 generation of Toyota Corolla, which featured a rear-wheel-drive layout and was the star of Japan's Initial D manga. Now, Toyota's blending both Initial D and the GT86, and the result is pretty grand.

Of course, it wouldn't be an Initial D concept without a few mods, and Toyota delivers. The concept has RS Watanabe F8 wheels, a Fujitsubo exhaust, loads of carbon fiber dressings and the ubiquitous "panda" print livery. Under the body lie a TRD suspension setup and a Cusco Type OS front strut brace. If I had to guess how this thing drives, "awesomely" seems to be a good bet.

There are no plans to bring this to production, but I'm sure if the company did, it would sell like gangbusters. Hell, I've already got a car, and I'd find a way to buy one. Now, finding a suitable mountain pass in Michigan is a different story entirely...

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