Initial D and Keiichi Tsuchiya Collab for Toyota’s Awesome GR86 Ads
Eight. Six. Two seemingly random numbers to most, but when together represent one of Japan’s most iconic rear-wheel drive cars to bless the road with its glorious presence (I may be a bit biased here).
The Hachi-Roku ハチロク (Japanese for “eight-six”), or AE86, is the machine that started it all for the 86 legacy. Championed by Keiichi Tsuchiya in the winding mounting tōges of Japan, this humble underdog of a car kickstarted a movement that led to the creation of an increasingly popular manga and anime series (Initial D), motorsport (drifting), and new generations from Toyota and Subaru (FRS, GT86, 86, BRZ, GR86). With the recent release of the 2022 Toyota GR86, Toyota is capitalizing on the car’s heritage by collaborating with Shuichi Shigeno’s fan-favorite Initial D series.
In classic Initial D fashion, the series of three ads feature Takumi Fujiwara testing his driving skills in his AE86 when he runs into a mysterious Track bRed GR86 piloted by none other than the Drift King himself. Complete with a eurobeat soundtrack, Keiichi Tsuchiya makes his anime appearance as a recruiter for FasterClass, a new Project D-esque organization focused on gathering drivers who endlessly pursue becoming faster.
“Mastering the Craft” – Episode 1
“Pursuit” – Episode 2
“The Challenge” – Episode 3
As lightweight, rear-wheel drive, and manual transmission equipped agile sports cars, both the AE86 and GR86 are great learning tools for new and seasoned driving enthusiasts alike. The collaboration with Initial D and Keiichi Tsuchiya seems like a smart move – especially considering how long Tsuchiya-san, who inspired the creation of Initial D and Takumi Fujiwara, has championed all iterations of the 86 as balanced and approachable driver’s cars.
As a former FRS owner who’s knee-deep in a full on AE86 project, I feel Toyota has done well by the 86 legacy with the new 2022 GR86. If you’re thirsty for more Hachi-Roku content, my ongoing YouTube series of my AE86 project car may help scratch that itch. The AE86 has been feeling quite lonely… maybe it’s time for a younger brother? Toyota’s new ads sure are convincing!