Subaru BRZ: New Video Sheds Light(weight) Details of Development

April 25, 2012

By now, you’ll have most-certainly been exposed to the gradually building fanfare of the joint automotive venture that is the Subaru BRZ/Toyota FT86. It goes without saying that this new vehicle harkens back to a time, not too long ago, when simplicity, affordability and exploitable fun were found within the recipes of modestly-powered sportscars.

BRZ looking gruff and ready at our recent local Auto Show

I recently attended our fair City’s annual Big Motor Show at the newly re-domed mega-plex and besides the usual exotica (and lack thereof) to catch my attention, my main focus was on seeing the Subaru BRZ and Toyota FT86 (well, the Scion FRS – North America and all) in the actual metal. While it was rather annoying that both cars were on lockdown mode preventing anyone from accessing their interiors, they were openly displayed to allow up-close viewing.

Sorry dear, it's locked - slightly frustrating with an exciting new car that is focused on driver-involvement and interaction... just sayin'

Of the two cars, it was the Subaru that caught my attention with its almost demure, yet purposeful presence – a bit more aggressive yet less flashy than the Scion counterpart. It looked tough. It also looked smaller than what I was expecting as well – chalk that up to the internet making everything look larger than it really is… – I liked that.

Looks better up close in-the-metal instead of on my computer screen... Want to drive one, now.

I also liked the small wheels – cannot tell you how refreshing it is to hear a manufacturer placing emphasis on ‘fun’ vehicle dynamics (remember ‘fun’ driving…?) without resorting to the fashionable ‘maximum grip levels’ on massively cartoonish 18″ or 19″ wheels… Heck, I wish it had 15″ or 16″ deeply-dished, lightweight wheels to coax even more exhilaration from the chassis… but that’s the old-school BMW e30-applauding side of me coming to the fore… 😉

If they'll offer a 15 or 16" wheel variant with dish, I'm game...

Anyways, on to why we’re conducting this entry… To share with you the newest documentary from Subaru themselves that offers a detailed view of the development process involved with the BRZ… albeit in Japanese with easy-to-read subtitles. I think it’s safe to say that Subaru knows how to build and engineer a fun car… and knowing now how much effort and input Subaru instilled with the creation and development of this new sportscar, my intrigue continues to fall towards the BRZ over the sister Scion…

Part 1.

Part 2.

-Photos by Blake J.

-Blake J.

The RWD Campaign: Toyota GT86 Twin Drift Session

February 7, 2012

Take two Toyota GT86’s, an empty parking lot and two professional, erm… ‘drifters’ and allow them to easily (and gracefully) demonstrate the benefits of a lightweight, adjustable chassis (devoid of unnecessary computers) on skinny tires… and of how much fun a RWD car with less than 200 bhp can be..!

-Blake J.

2012 Super Bowl Car Commercials: A Collection of…

February 6, 2012

So the Big American Game happened yesterday and to be honest, I couldn’t be bothered to watch this mega-hyped sports-event where ultra-testosteroned, overly-padded/helmeted men rough one another up over the snarling possession of an inflated pig-skin… Said game occuring somewhere amidst the deluge of non-stop adverts reminding us of ‘who brought this to you’, a silly lip-synching girl flashing a middle-finger (oh good heavens) and a washed-up, embarrasingly-painful-to-watch pop-Diva strutting-up her idea of ‘the greatest show I’ve ever done for the greatest show on earth’ … Dear Lord.

Madonna - scary and unfathomable

Not forgetting the idiotic/annoying orgy of streaming banners and flashy camera angles for this ‘show of all shows’ either – Needless to say, for this scribe it’s all, well… a bit much.

Yet, as is the tradition that always outweighs and ultimately gathers more of our collective attention than the actual Game itself, the extended-length TV-spot adverts were what nearly everyone ever talks about in this TV-obsessed western world of ours. Most viewers simply tune-in to the Super Bowl broadcast just so they can catch the expensive Game-Day adverts…. Really..! Car-adverts included, of course.

Clint doing his best to inject a gritty, serious and weepingly patriotic tone to describe America's upcoming '2nd Half'

Here then, is a selection… some of them are even the extended versions!

Volkswagen – The Dog Strikes Back

KIA Optima – A Dream Car. For Real Life (really…? A wrinkly Motley Crue, in your dream…?)

 Acura NSX – Transactions

Honda CR-V – Matthew’s Day Off (not quite sure if a rather bland/boring CR-V would be the vehicle of choice here…)

Chevrolet Sonic – doing human ‘extreme’ things

Chrysler and Clint Eastwood – It’s Halftime America (bit of an anthemic heart-tugger here)

 Fiat 500 Abarth – Seduction

Lexus GS – The Beast (Lexus’ first-ever SuperBowl advert… not bad, not great)

Toyota Camry – It’s Reinvented 

 Chevy Silverado Trucks – End Of The World (quite possibly, the stupidest car-commercial I’ve ever seen – complete with an out-of-place ending stolen straight from the movie ‘Magnolia’)

Audi S7 – Vampires (riiiight…)


-Blake J.

Toyota 2000GT: The Land Speed Record Trials

December 21, 2011

Back in October of 1966, a team of Toyota speed wizards showed up at the Yatabe Test Track in Japan (now long-gone, sadly) with a lightly modified Toyota 2000GT in an attempt to smash a whole load of various Land Speed records. Their aims and goals were set high for this occasion – 3 days and 6 hours of successful, non-stop running would help in achieving those goals.

With the debut of the Toyota 2000GT prototype at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show, four development mules were constructed around the ‘280-A1’ prototype with various racing and speed testing in mind. Some bodies were lightweight versions made from hand-beaten aluminium (for racing purposes) and some were constructed from steel (for the high-speed trials).

The car you see in these pictures (and video below) is rumoured to be the actual prototype ‘280-A1’ that was originally shown at the ’65 Tokyo Motor Show, albeit completely rebuilt and modified after catching fire during testing at Fuji Speedway in ’65 (after its lightweight/highly flammable magnesium wheels erupted in flames… oh dear). With a burnt-out shell on their hands, the Toyota Technocraft team set about rebuilding the car with the aim of obliterating the existing Land Speed records the following year in ’66…

And obliterate those records, it did – The 2000GT ran for 78 hours and in those 3.25 days it broke 13 International records and 3 World records for endurance and speed in the 1500-2000cc class with speeds averaging in the 206 km/h region.

After setting these impressive new records, the same car used to extract those world-record figures/numbers at Yatabe Test Track was eventually converted into a circuit racing car. Sadly, shortly thereafter the car was involved in a horrible crash whereupon it also caught fire and was subsequently destroyed.

An exact replica of the original record-breaking Green and Yellow 2000GT exists nowadays and can usually be seen at various motoring shows and exhibitions throughout Japan.

-Blake J.

Sideways: The 2013 Scion FR-S / Toyobaru GT86/BRZ

December 13, 2011

Fun onboard view here of the new Toyabaru GT86/BRZ (Scion FR-S in North America) being chucked about all sideways and such.

Ignore the can-barely-hear-ya commentary and just enjoy the sideaways antics of a new, lightweight, back-to-basics sportscar free’d from all of the unneccesary modern-day gadgetry and nannying electronics that have become the norm in most road cars nowadays…

(fun fact: This car rides on the same tires as the Prius..!)

-Blake J.

Decision Time: Toyota GT-86 or Subaru BRZ

November 29, 2011

By now, most of you will have gleaned over the Car-show concepts and read through the specs so now comes the question: If you were magically handed the funds to go out and buy one of the two, which one would you have…?

The Subaru BRZ - awaiting your add-ons

I don’t know about you, but I’m still double-taking on the fact that these cars even came to exist nowadays in this austerity-driven age of no-fun … 1200-ish kg, rear-wheel driven sportscars with manual transmissions and a 200 bhp boxer engine that will undoubtedly invite many various performance upgrades. What decade are we in again…?

Toyota GT-86 - a bit gawky...?

Both are near-identical in spec, shape (oddly, the Subaru is 15mm taller) and looks… well, sort of – the Toyota comes across as a bit flashier and almost Celica-ish (makes sense) whereas the Subaru looks more the brute…. So really then, it’s a case of differing headlamps and badge honouring.

Subaru BRZ - optional extras will undoubtedly include a hefty rear wing

The Scion FRS concept (unveiled for the North American crowd) looked the business but, as is the fate with all concept cars, the end product always comes out looking rather bland, watered-down and uninspiring – and that’s the case here as well… at least in these first official pics, that is… All under-tire’d and slightly gawky looking, it’s almost as if they designed these cars with the full intentional knowledge that keen, high-profile owners (and tuning companies) will be spec’ing their cars up with the inevitable big-wheels and splitters and spoilers and slamming them down to the ground.

Toyota GT-86 - perhaps a bit too over-styled (ie: trying too hard) ...?

So, back to this ‘make a decision’ conundrum… Hmmmm… Personally, I do like an underdog – and one with an impressive Rallying Motorsport pedigree at that – so I’d have the Subaru. Plus, both cars are being built by Subaru. But on the flipside, Toyota does have a vast history of mostly-memorable sportscars, even though they haven’t even dabbled within the realm of anything remotely ‘sporty’ in, what seems like decades. So, it could be seen as their smashing comeback, this…. Perhaps the Subaru would be a bit too obvious a choice then..?

Which one would you have…?

-Blake J.

Pic of the Day: Toyota Prius – shot several times!

November 9, 2011

Oh, how badly I wanted to locate some sort of maniacally-charged and highly-entertaining story behind this strategically destroyed Toyota Prius… But after some light internet digging it has been discovered that this bullet-ridden Prius is actually a leftover from the set of the rather-lacklustre movie ‘The Other Guys’ – starring Wil Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg… *pouty-face*

We can all dream though, right…?

-Blake J.


Toyota: Back to Le Mans 2012 with Petrol/Electric Hybrid

October 14, 2011

Back in 1999, things looked rather promising for Toyota with their high-profile Le Mans entry of 3 separate GT-One cars. They were the fastest in qualifying and appeared set to take a class win but come raceday, things didn’t quite pan out; 2 of them expired via accidents and the third remaining car heroically came in 2nd place behind a BMW.


Needless to say, Toyota has some unfinished business with Le Mans…

Enter the 2012 LMP1-spec petrol/electric hybrid racer set to “write a new chapter in the history of the Le Mans 24 hours through our use of hybrid technology,” states Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota Motorsport Chairman and  TMC Senior Managing Officer. Strong words there fella…


The engine development will be handled by Toyota at their home HQ while the chassis know-how receives attention from Toyota Motorsport in Germany… which is near some place called the Nurburgring, or something…

Toyota is aiming for an overall win with this new Hybrid racer, but with Porsche making its (welcomed) re-entry back to Le Mans (most likely with its own advanced Hybrid tech) and the diesels reigning supreme for the last 8 or 9 years, will this new Toyota have what it takes to become the 2nd-ever Japanese car to win top-honours at Le Mans after Mazda’s 1991 win with the 787B…?

-Blake J.

A Rapper And A Toyota Prius – Music Video

June 14, 2011

Gangster’s Revolution. Times have changed from, driving around in gas guzzling beauties, into rolling around in your Toyota Prius. Now it’s about drivin’ down to Whole Foods for a wedge of Humboldt Fog cheese. Check out this music video!


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