I’m Gonna Need You All to Be More Accurate to Canon in Your Initial D Replicas

I’m Gonna Need You All to Be More Accurate to Canon in Your Initial D Replicas

This is a 1986 Toyota Corolla. But the world can’t be normal about rear-driven mid-’80s Corollas, thanks to a little show called Initial D, so this one is done up as a replica of Takumi Fujiwara’s Ghost of Akina 86. Only, it’s not a replica — not really.

See, if I were to replicate an Initial D car, I’d pick an iteration of it and work from there. Maybe I’d go with Takumi’s near-stock Trueno from First Stage, or perhaps I’d go for the Formula Atlantic-engined, carbon fiber-bedecked final form it reaches in Fifth Stage. Either way, I’d be replicating a specific example of a car. All this 86 replicates is a vibe.

Photo: Cars and Bids

Looking at the Initial D timeline, how the panda Trueno evolves over the course of the show, there are some extremely key components that are missing here. The blacked-out hood is meant to evoke the carbon hood that the 86 acquires in Fourth Stage, meaning a proper replica should have every mod acquired on the way to that point, yet the bucket seat from all the way back in Second Stage is notably absent. Credit where credit is due, though, on what appears to be a brand-accurate strut tower brace.

This also isn’t an issue of funding for the build. Sure, the hood is black rather than carbon, but that doesn’t matter — car parts are expensive, and if you can get that close for less money then you do it. I don’t care that it’s missing the Formula Atlantic engine, either. But this car could actually have been made more accurate by spending less money. Just leave the hood white, and you’d have a perfect-as-possible-with-a-LHD-chassis First Stage replica.

Not that this was a cheap build, either. The wheels are genuine RS Watanabe, the front end is genuine Trueno, the engine is a genuine DOHC 4AGE. Why someone would put that effort into a 38-year-old Corolla with a salvage title is beyond me, and I had a panda Trueno on my keychain for years. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money on tires for a drift event?

If you want an AE86 you can drift, don’t call it a replica. Spend that money on seat time instead. If you truly want the Initial D car, though, build the Initial D car — don’t just pick and choose the things you like. That’s not a replica, that’s a tribute, and a much better tribute to Takumi Fujiwara would be to just go out and drive.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.