For the past couple of decades car enthusiasts have been cultivated by several media influences to get them into the hobby. For those in tune with Japanese culture, Initial D has become the gateway which allowed young enthusiasts to begin understanding the ins-and-outs of cars and motorsports.
Penned by Shuichi Shigeno, the story of Takumi Fujiwara and his Panda AE86 Sprinter Trueno have stuck to the hearts and minds of a generation; So much so that the prices for this otherwise unassuming ‘Corolla’ have skyrocketed over the past decade. But while Initial D concluded the manga sometime in 2014 with the anime also bringing the story to a close a bit later, Shigeno has begun another manga to follow the footsteps of Initial D for this day and age: MF Ghost.
The story of MF Ghost is set in the not too distant future where the majority of transportation is now operated by autonomous driving vehicles. In this time, motorsports has become a more exclusive sport for skilled drivers, and only the MFG Series caters to the allure of racing through mountains with high performance vehicles. Races in the MFG Series are run like a targa rally, with each driver trying to get past one another throughout the mountain course to reach the checkered flag.
All competitors are driving high powered exotica from Ferraris to Lamborghinis to Porsches… except one. MF Ghost focuses on the adventures of Kanata Livington, a young half-British half-Japanese driver that trained in UK and has joined the MFG series. Being a surprise entry to the competition, he has been provided a car that’s a bit underpowered versus his opponents: Yes, a humble Toyota 86.
The car you see here is a fairly accurate replica of the MFG 86 in the manga. Dubbed the MFG Concept 2020, the project was spearheaded by Young Magazine, the publishers of MF Ghost, and was handled by the professional hands of Gazoo Racing Garage themselves. With the goal of improving handling and overall balance, several aftermarket pieces went onto the stock 86 without having to resort to forced induction to make more power.
Footwork is the key point of this build, and it all starts with a proper set of wheels. A custom set of RAYS TE37 SAGAs in 17x7.5 wrapped with 215/45/17 Advan AD08R rubber makes sure there’s enough traction while keeping unsprung weight to a minimum. Conservative sizes sure, but these will most definitely give the proper feedback the driver will need to tackle any course.
Behind the TE37’s signature six spokes a set of teal calipers and rotors find themselves home; Anyone worth their JDM salt will know that this is a big brake kit from Project Mu. Four-pot calipers and oversized rotors, as well as a two-pot rear system, allows the driver to fully lean on the pedal during braking.
Any proper performance vehicle will have coilover suspension under its guards, and for the MFG Concept 86 Exmotion’s Athlete’s Orange kit takes care of keeping the grip on the pavement. On the aesthetic side of things, a SARD LSR Wing is the only addition to the exterior apart from the wheels and livery of the 86.
To allow the engine to breathe freely, Fujitsubo comes in with their Exhaust Performance Unit for the 86. This is effectively a full exhaust system consisting of headers, a high-flow cat, overpipe, midpipe, and catback all the way to a single-exit muffler. To keep engine temps under check, they’ve even gone so far as to fit a Blitz Oil Cooler kit to ensure longevity on spirited runs.
While not much in particular has been done to the 2.0L FA20 flat-four boxer itself, the power it will give will certainly be delivered to the rear wheels thanks to a lightweight Ogura Racing Clutch. Engine vitals are monitored via a Defi-link Advance ZD Club Sport Package. It is a digital display that shows water temp, oil temp, and oil pressure all on a single screen. With the potential cornering capability this car has, a Bride Zeta IV bucket seat is tasked with keeping the driver in place.
The MFG Concept 2020 86 is by no means the ultimate 86, but it carries on the spirit of the original Fujiwara Tofu Shop AE86 with its shortlist of functional modifications that bring out the potential of the driver behind the wheel.
Should you wish to follow the story of MF Ghost, English scans of the manga are available online for your perusal, no word on an animated release has yet to be announced.