The roads are used by many kinds of delivery vehicles, from FedEx trucks delivering parcels to armored cars delivering money. There are sleek delivery machines featured in films, such as the BMW 7-series and Audi A-8 in The Transporter, the Minis that delivered gold bars in The Italian Job, and even James Bond’s Aston Martin, which delivers world-saving weapons as well as world-class women. But the ultimate delivery car must be the old Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86 with the Japanese lettering "Fujiwara Tofu Shop" written on the right door. It doesn’t deliver weapons or gold bars, but rather the most common and least expensive cargo in Japan: tofu. However, millions of people know about the car, and it has inspired hundreds—perhaps thousands—of copycat replicas around the world. And yet, the actual car does not even exist in the real world. It is only featured in the serialized “Initial D” manga comic books, which have sold more than 40 million copies in Japan, spawned several television series, and recently became a new animated film, “New Initial D: The Movie—Legend 1: Awakening.”
The car itself looks uninspiring. The Sprinter Trueno AE86 is a 30-year-old design based on the then-Toyota Corolla and intended to appeal to budget-minded shoppers looking for a small, sporty commuter. They were once ubiquitous on the roads during the mid-1980s, but are today becoming quite rare. The story created by manga author Shuichi Shigeno around a fictitious tofu delivery car and its young driver, Takumi Fujiwara, turned the humble Sprinter Trueno into a cult icon attracting a strong following from a huge fan base in Asia and the USA.
The new animated movie depicts Fujiwara, a 13-year-old teenager working for his father’s tofu shop, as he starts to develop his racing skills while delivering freshly made tofu to the lakeside hotels near Mount Akina in Japan’s Gunma prefecture. Fujiwara’s route routinely takes him through the twisty mountain roads every morning in an old Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86. Because the texture of tofu is soft and fragile, young Takumi needs to drift the car very smoothly through the bends in order to deliver the tofu in good shape. To enhance Takumi’s driving skills, his father fits a cupholder on the center of the dashboard with a cup filled with water. Takumi must learn to drive and drift without spilling. Eventually, by the age of 18, he becomes one of the fastest drivers in the Kanto area.
AUTOart has now crafted a Sprinter Trueno as a “New Initial D: The Movie—Legend 1: Awakening” special movie edition. This precision-made scale 1/18 die cast model car represents Takumi’s first attempts to modify his AE86 from the standard car. The modification includes:
- black 8-spoke wheels
- front fog lights
- special exhaust pipe
- rain deflectors on the doors
- strut-tower bar
- sport steering wheel
- analogue meter
- special roof lining
- cup holder with a cup
One special feature of this model is the inclusion of a stack of tofu trays with tofu inside, placed at the rear trunk of the model car. The license plate featured in the new movie is also faithfully replicated on the model.
The model will be launched in November 2014