Daisuke Miyazaki’s Toyota FT86
Issue 31 – Written by Wooley Photography by Jean-Christophe Pepino
I sit here and I overthink how I’m going to write this article – nothing new there. And looming over my head, is the fact that this car is from a world, that is literally a world away from me. Clear on the other side of the globe. It couldn’t be further if it tried… without getting closer in the other direction. The man who owns this car, Daisuke Miyazaki, has had entirely different influences & experiences than I ever will. When I wind down, he is winding up. When he sleeps, I am awake. A translator was necessary for this article… just to be able to put pen to paper. But on second thought – was a translator really necessary for this??
Not reeeally. Because see – one of the things that I love about the automotive fixation… is that it’s humanistic & global. It unifies us, when a lot of other made-made things in this world only serve to divide us. Boarders divide us. Governments divide us. Politics divide us. Religious beliefs divide us. It tears me up inside that we live with a global ‘us versus them’ mentality. And we accept all of this – as the real world that we live in, the way it is, and the way it has to be. But just because it’s all we know, does not keep it from smelling like bullshit.
The truth is – if you could look at the world from outer space, you won’t see the dotted lines separating ‘us from them’ on a map. Those boundaries are made up… like children drawing lines in a sandbox. And what is real – is that there is land, there is water, and there is ONE human race. It doesn’t matter where you are on the planet, those 3 factors don’t change. And we’ve said it before in this magazine… but cars, as seemingly ‘materialistic’ and petty as they are, have a bonding property among us. They have a way of bringing enthusiasts together through our character… over our nationality. A way of communicating common ground & understanding. Consider it a language of our own.
So while I may need a 3rd party translator (who is actually French) to give me the specific details on this Japanese dude……. we can ALL look at Daisuke’s face… and know exactly what this guy’s about. No words needed.
His photo is identification of his legitimacy, and this FT86 build is proof of his devotion to the cause. Most of us share a kindred spirit with him right off the bat.
But get to know Daisuke, and you’ll quickly learn that he is not a business man type. He is not a social media self-promoter. He is not caught up in his own hype. On the other hand, he is old school & authentic. A simple guy, with honesty, integrity… and street driving skills that come from many years of muscle memory training. The type of guy to turn his phone off, and take the scenic route home at 3am after work – just to hit a couple of corners. He takes the time, and the interest to teach what he knows to the younger guys in his community… to pass it on. Back home in the Kansai area, Daisuke is known for, and associated with an SR-swapped AE86 Levin. But this is the new machine on the block. And it is exciting to be able to see a veteran take interest in mountain-sliding a new chassis… as if it were a worn in, comfortable pair of shoes.
In Japan, Toyota offers what is called an RC model of the FT86 – geared toward the tuners & the aftermarket. The RC is a factory stripped-down version of the car – that comes without the fancy fabrics, useless plastics, acoustic sound deadening, radios, etc. Only the bare-essentials. On the exterior, the RC is quickly spotted by the black bumpers & steely wheels. The goal of the RC model, is to get the price down, and it allow enthusiasts to buy the NEW car that they want… without having to waste money on parts that they’re soon going to remove or replace. The black bumpers have a couple of interesting points. 1) Not sure whether it was on purpose or not, but they’re reminiscent of the old 86. 2) They’re designed to be replaced easily & cheaply, with no paint or downtime involved… should one brush a guardrail. 3) It’s almost factory encouragement of aftermarket aero & widebodys. Why the RC model doesn’t make it to America, I don’t know. Maybe our buying habits wouldn’t support it. But it sure seems like such an option would have a strong impact on the import tuning culture, stateside.
Daisuke admits that the FT86 in stock form is not slow… but it’s not really fast either. And Dai wanted the car to be able to show more teeth. So the solution you’re looking at here in the engine bay, is an American-grown LS1. And bolted to the top of that LS1 are individual throttle bodies on long, crisscrossed runners – which allow for better throttle response, and more power throughout the entire RPM range. Internally, the motor is factory-stock. The original plan of attack, was to upgrade the cams in conjunction with the ITBs. But after a few initial trips out with the LS… it was decided that the car was already crazy-fast, and didn’t need any more juice squeezed.
Aesthetically, Daisuke has used this car to launch his own aero brand for the 86 (designed with Kei Muira) called KMO. So far, they have created widened front fenders, and a roof spoiler – both of which are featured on this car. With the wide front fenders, the chassis is now able to clear the Work D9Rs in 18×10.5 +15 all around. For more info on the aero, check out the japan-based website todoroki2222.com.
For me, there is legitimacy found at every corner of this car. It marries the most righteous parts of obnoxious American brute power… with the raddest parts of obnoxious Japanese fighter styles. All while keeping the fit & finish on point, and the soul of the 86 intact. Being an American, a lot of times, I see the LS1 swap as the Nickelback solution for power. That’s probably because the LS1 is commonplace for me. In my suburbs, LS1s are about as exotic as Waffle Houses.
But to Daisuke, the LSx is exotic. It’s hard to source. It’s big-balls American displacement. It’s attention-hogging. It’s wild & untamed. And when I see the LS through his eyes, it sheds a whole new light on it. Picturing this car thundering through the moonlit mountains of Japan puts a huge smile on my face.
Toyota 86 RC – LS1 @ 382hp
KMO front fenders (todoroki2222.com)
KMO roof spoiler
WHEELS / BRAKES / SUSPENSION
Stance GR+ coilovers (14kg front, 16kg rear)
Work D9R (18×10.5 +15)
Subaru STI brake calipers
Project Mu rotors
Project Mu pads
Flatwell rear pillow arm
OMP steering wheel
Bride Low Max seats
Flatwell race pedals & handbrake
Trust oil pressure meter