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Toyota FT-86 brings Initial D back to life

After years of churning out dull but worthy cars, as well as the odd hybrid or two, Toyota is looking to add some sizzle to its line-up. Like Ford, Chevy and others, Toyota's mining its past to do so.

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Derek Fung

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A classic, reborn

After years of churning out dull but worthy cars, as well as the odd hybrid or two, Toyota is looking to add some sizzle to its line-up. Like Ford, Chevy and others, Toyota's mining its past to do so.

Apart from the Prius, Toyota's current line-up doesn't really get the synapses firing. And even then there's certainly nothing in the company's range that gets the blood pumping. So, for its home town motor show, Toyota will be bringing out the FT-86 sports coupe concept car as a precursor to a future production model.

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Blue sky mining

The concept car's name, FT-86, clearly links it to the last rear-wheel drive Corolla coupe, which had the internal model code AE86. That car vaulted to cult status thanks to the

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With a little help from my friends

Like the AE86, the FT-86 is a front-engined, rear-wheel drive, two-door coupe with seating for four people. The new car, however, will be powered by a horizontally-opposed (or "boxer") four-cylinder engine. That's because much of the car's underpinnings are shared with an, as yet, unrevealed Subaru coupe.

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Let's speculate

Rumour has that the FT-86's engine will displace about two litres and pump out anywhere between 150 and 180 kilowatts of power.

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Flight o' fancy

While the FT-86's exterior looks almost production ready, the interior is filled with more than its fair share of concept car whimsy.

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Zippy, part I

Out there instrument and control pads are par for the course, but we weren't expecting zippers; they're everywhere. We presume the red zippers allow the ventilation pods to be moved around, but we worry that the DVD drive's zipper will scratch our precious discs.

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Zippy, part II

The storage compartment in the door is also opened and closed with the aid of our friend Zippy.

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Sitting on seashells

From a purely aesthetic point of view, the front seats look wonderful. Our derriere would want a bit more padding, though.

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A good sign

We're heartened by the car's six-speed manual transmission, as well as the switches for the ABS and stability control systems.

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AE86 Corolla hatch

It mightn't have been much to look at, but the AE86 Corolla hatch — sold under various names, like Sprinter Trueno, Sprinter and SR5 — had a reputation for sweet, balanced handling.

(Toyota Corolla SR5 hatch image by IFCAR, public domain)

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