Blank Toyota 86 canvas awaits fans' touch

DAVE MOORE
Last updated 07:20 04/12/2012
Toyota 86

NEW ZEALAND SPECIFICATION: In Godzone, we get the 16-inch alloys whether we want them or not.

Toyota 86.
JAPANESE SPECIFICATION 86 RC: In its home country the model even does without alloy rims, making it even less expensive.
Toyota 86
STRIPPED OUT: There's not even a stereo system or radio.

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For those wanting an out-of-the-box, straight- to-the-imagination Toyota 86 for customising, the new 86 RC (Race Competition) model gives fans the chance to craft their own special signature.

The model arrives box fresh and ready for customisation at an incredibly low entry price that Toyota fails to include in its press material.

Without metallic paint and without any paint at all on its front and rear ends and without a sound system, the car in manual form could feasibly sit at about $38,000 if we're lucky. We would have been even luckier, however, if Toyota could have left out what appears to be about $1500 of alloy wheels, too, as they do with the RC in Japan.

Some steel wheels will do nicely until one picks out a custom set of alloy rims that suit the car better.

Otherwise, as Toyota puts it, the RC concept presents a "blank canvas" to refettle, uprate, paint and accessorise to taste.

The 86 RC has already been met with massive enthusiasm in Japan and New Zealand fans will get their turn early next year.

"Cars are hugely personal things, so this is an amazing opportunity for 86 sports car fans to take this head- turning coupe and customise it to suit their individual style," says Toyota New Zealand general manager of product planning Neeraj Lala.

He suggests the entry-level 86 price will be pitched within the reach of individualists wanting to heavily accessorise their car, or even take it racing at weekends.

"The RC is an 86 through and through, but we know performance specialists and stylists are also keen to get their hands on it to see what they can achieve with it."

With the same 147-kilowatt, 2.0-litre, four-cylinder format of the already established 86 models, the RC is a six-speed manual that removes superfluous items and probably quite a lot of weight too. Air-conditioning is also missing from the RC, and this is a heavy device once all the plumbing is taken into consideration. We'd say the RC saves about 90 kilograms from the conventional base model.

If the RC buyer isn't a racer per se, then a special sound system is going to be high on the "must-have" list. Toyota explains the 86 RC model's unpainted front and rear bumpers by saying a personalised paint job would be high on prospective owners' custom checklist.

We think steel wheels would have been a good choice, too, as the fitted 16-inch machined-graphite alloys are certainly too small to remain on the car of a serious customiser.

A low, almost vestigial boot spoiler is fitted to the car, and we can only hope its presence will deter less tasteful owners from putting on the giant looped wings that some cars have already been seen with.

"Before the keys are even handed over, the owner can customise and upgrade the 86 RC however they see fit," says Mr Lala, acknowledging the range of available TRD parts and local Toyota performance accessories, such as wheel upgrades, exhaust systems and suspension packs.

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Third-party components are also encouraged, and it is possible that Japanese tuning company HKS' supercharger kit will be among the first on many checklists.

The kit boosts power and torque by a claimed 30 per cent and boosts power from 147kW to 180kW with the only structural modification required being the moving of the radiator frame to allow space for the car's extra plumbing. For those who want even more power, it is thought the unit could be opened up to 300kW with additional modifications.

Toyota New Zealand has built a prototype version of an 86 racing car named TR 86 (Toyota Racing 86), which is fully loaded and race ready.

Not limited to just the track, the TR 86 will be legal to drive on the road, enabling plenty of applications, from Targa events to rallying.

"While the prototype has been developed to explore the possibility of a one-make track series, customers may find it's equally suitable for other racing interests on or off road," says Mr Lala.

Built from locally developed race components, the TR 86 is the ultimate turnkey race car. It features an FIA compliant homologated roll cage, race-tuned suspension, performance exhaust system, ECU map upgrade, racing brake package and an 18-inch wheel and tyre package.

The cockpit's features include customised race seats, steering wheel and six-point seatbelts.

Both the TR and RC 86 variants go on sale early next year.

- Stuff

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