PROJECT D: 1987 Toyota Corolla Initial D Replica


Restorations are not to be taken lightly. It’s sometimes argued that a restored car isn’t a “show car” by regular standards, because the end product is maybe something that looks closer to factory original than “heavily modified”. Restoring a car to look exactly like something out of a comic book is another story altogether. Long story short, we were approached to replicate the Initial D Fujiwara Tofu Shop AE86 as faithfully as we could, so we accepted.

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Meet the project donor: a 1987 Toyota Corolla GTS! Some of the people reading this are probably frowning because the Initial D replica is a 1985 Toyota Sprinter Trueno. Don’t worry, we know! We’ll touch on that a bit later. Let’s just have a look at this beautiful specimen of an AE86 first. As you can see, the body is mostly clean. A little bit of bodywork is necessary, but certainly nowhere near as much as your standard Ontario AE86. Underneath is impeccably clean however, due to the previous owner meticulously spraying the car down with oil on an annual basis. It did make a bit of a mess that needed to be cleaned up, and maybe doesn’t look very pretty in that picture, but the results speak for themselves. An perfect example of the immaculate condition underneath the car is that we were able to use the factory original brake lines. It was that clean. Also, this car was originally a car with factory Air Conditioning, so it was decided that we would keep that in there for good measure.

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With a build of this scope, finding parts is half the battle! Not only were we making the car into what is basically a 1985 AE86, it was also being converted from a USDM Toyota Corolla into a JDM Toyota Sprinter Trueno! Lots of rare, hard to find stuff went in to making this car as true to the comic as we could!

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As much as this car was fairly clean compared to most other cars of this vintage, it still needed some work to be perfect. All of that oily undercoating would need to come off, some minor rust needed repairing, and of course we would need to get rid of the ugly USDM marker lights and antenna.


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We’d love to show you every step in the process, but that’d make for a 400 photo post! Needless to say, plenty of work went into making this car not only as true to the comics as possible, but also a car that looks and feels brand new. The results speak for themselves!

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As the number of functional Corollas continues to steadily decline here in North America, it’s good to know that there are still enthusiasts out there who love them and are devoted enough to go the extra mile in restoring them, and we’re happy to help turn that love and devotion into something special!