When news came about that an original Filipino comic series will be adapted into a Netflix animated series, people got hooked and became curious. Set in modern-day Philippines, the comic series combines Philippine mythology, detective work, action sequences, and supernatural elements. Think of it like John Constantine meets Grimm.
But why are we talking about Trese when it has nothing to do with cars? On the contrary, it does. With Metro Manila serving as the backdrop, there are also plenty of notable cars seen in the supernatural world of Trese. But what cars did the animators actually put in the animated series?
Let's start with the hero car (or in this case, the heroine car). Painted in dark silver is Alexandra Trese's personal sedan. Driven mostly by his personal bodyguards, the Kambal, it looks like Trese's ride of choice is based on the fourth-generation Lexus GS, with some elements from its smaller sibling, the IS. From the headlights to the grille, as well as the distinct shape of the sedan, it's quite apparent that it was inspired by Lexus' midsize luxury sedan. There are even distinct features on the inside that reflect the real car's aesthetics.
But Trese doesn't only take the Lexus when she needs to go to an investigation. When her silver sedan "broke down" in one episode (not spoiling it for anyone), she is also seen riding on a classic American car owned by her good friend, Hank Sparrow. Based on the looks and design, it appears that it's based on the first-generation Lincoln Town Car. It also appears that the animators borrowed some styling cues from an '83 Oldsmobile Cutlass - particularly the grille, and the headlights. We're not fans of the DOM/pimpmobile paint job, but this is Hank's personal car, not Trese's.
Another notable vehicle that made an appearance is an old-school Nissan Fairlady Z. Borrowing inspiration from a certain 'Devil Z', it features a similar front lip spoiler, Watanabe eight-spoke wheels, and wide wheel arches. What's different, however, is that this particular Fairlady has a huge rear wing instead of the traditional ducktail spoiler, a different set of taillights, and a hood scoop up front. Clearly, the animators wanted to pay tribute to Wangan Midnight by having the car appear in a street racing event. Yes, there's racing in the Trese universe, and this Fairlady Z runs on a special kind of 'horsepower' if you get what I mean.
Other Japanese tuners also made their presence felt in the Trese universe. During a street race, several customized vehicles can be seen on the sidelines. From the EG and EK Honda Civics to the much-revered Nissan Skyline GT-R R34, as well as the DSM-era Mitsubishi Eclipse, the tuner scene was well-represented in Trese.
Also worth mentioning is what appears to be an Acura (or Honda) Integra. Initially, we thought it was a Type R, but it looks like it's a mix of both the former and the GSR version of the Integra. We're not entirely sure of the go-faster stripes, but if it helps, then sure. Other familiar vehicles present include what appears to be a Toyota Hiace, Nissan Urvan NV350, and a Toyota Vios.
Strangely though, we weren't able to spot any Toyota Innovas in the world of Trese. Despite being the 'pambansang photobomber', it looks like the animators weren't able to incorporate the MPV in the animated series, just yet.
Serving as the sole car hailing from The Old Continent is a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, particularly the W140. The distinct headlights, wide grille, and huge doors are a dead giveaway that it's based on the flagship sedan of the three-pointed star.
The world of Trese may be filled with aswangs, tikbalangs, nunos, duwendes, lamanlupas, tiyanaks, and even manananggals. But we would like to give props to the animators of the show for actually using cars based on real-life automobiles. They could have easily made generic cars that would have looked bland and uninteresting, but they went the extra mile and made sure the cars are presentable and recognizable.
Should Trese be renewed for another season on Netflix, we wish to see more cars become a part of the Trese universe. Maybe they can even add the Toyota Innova as part of the series to make it look and feel like Manila.