Most of Japanese car magazines talk about Toyota 86 (Hachi-Roku, Scion FR-S in USA). The magazines talk about the difference between 86 and Subaru BRZ; 86 has different bumper, headlights, tachometer, seats, shift knob and suspension. 86’s suspension setup is softer front, harder rear; BRZ’s suspension is harder front with softer rear. So many pro race drivers have driven both and they said it is hard to feel suspension difference. I’m not sure if Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ US-spec will have same suspension as JDM-spec—Japanese road condition is different from America’s. Basically, 86 and BRZ is mostly same car. In Japan, we can buy different grades of both car: 86 RC and BRZ RA—they are for motorsport and are around 2,000,000Y (about $25K USD). The cars have no air conditioner, aluminum wheels and audio equipment; 86 RC has unpainted black bumper. Some tuning shops bought these and built demo race cars; they don’t care about the exterior because they will change or remove the parts.
Tuning market for 86 and BRZ is growing now. HKS, Cusco, Endless, Amuse, Signal Auto and Tanabe are developing parts now. I think we can see many 86 and BRZ at next year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, and the US will see a lot at SEMA this fall. Three 86 take part in D1GP now—NOB Taniguchi’s HKS 86, Manabu Orido’s M7 86 and Tetsuya Hibino’s Droo-P 86. HKS 86 has supercharged FA20 motor, M7 has Lexus IS-F V8 motor and Droo-P has US-spec Cosworth EJ25 motor. Swapping motors is not easy; Orido and Hibino spent long time for building D1 cars. If someone wants to swap the motor for their car, they must go to a shop that has good skill for building cars. Here is the suprising thing: R-magic and Type One are famous tuning shops in Japan. R-magic builds many RX-7 and RX-8, and Type One is part of Spoon Sports, which is famous for Honda guys. Both shops bought Toyota 86 and are tuning the car now. Interesting that non-Toyota shops like the 86, which means the 86 has charm? How long will it be until Honda and Nissan take after the 86 and BRZ movement?