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Old 05-06-2012, 01:04 PM   #1
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Project Yozora


(test "render" in Gran Turismo 5 using the Toyota 86 GT)

I've been lurking FT86Club for a loooooong time, so this is long overdue. I'm about to receive what could officially be the 87th Scion FR-S in North America (I put in a reserve back in May 2011, when the first spy photos of the FT-86 Nurburgring mule hit the web). At this point, it's 3 weeks 5 days to June 1st, so I'm finally closing in on taking delivery of a Scion FR-S in Raven. This is a special story on how a childhood dream is being fulfilled, so I'll start from the beginning.

When I was a kid in the mid-80's, I was interested in cars, but I arguably grew up right. Both my parents drove manual transmission cars; my dad had various pickup trucks, but my mom had a 1980 TE71 Corolla liftback (or was it TE72? I need a Toyota chassis/engine code nerd to help me on the difference between the 1 and the 2 there; either way, it's the one with the long sloping liftback and the triangular rear windows). That was a fun car, with the sunroof and the manual transmission, but I almost never got to sit in the front seat, since I was 7 years old when we had to get rid of it due to rust and other maintenance costs of that era. However, my neighbor had an AE86 Corolla SR5 notchback. That car was even MORE awesome, in my mind, with the popup headlights and the sporty boxy look. This was before I even knew about the AE86's motorsports prowess, or of Initial D. When I later did find out about Initial D in the mid-2000's, I said, "Hey, I know that car! That car's awesome! Wow!"

In 2006, I bought a Scion tC to replace a 1999 Corolla, which had been a nice car, but I wanted something with a little more power, and a little more fun. I had rented a 2006 Camry SE with the 2AZ 4-cylinder engine, and that was very nice compared to the Corolla, though I wished it had a manual transmission, a little less weight, and perhaps 2 doors. On recommendations from friends, I took a test drive of the tC. All those pleasant memories of the TE71 Corolla liftback came back, but this time, I was in the driver's seat! Over the past 6 years, I had gotten into car mods, including changing my own instrument cluster LEDs to red, getting all kinds of suspension mods installed, and going crazy with gauges. I'm still driving the tC, which I painted IS300 yellow in 2010, prior to the 2nd-gen tC RS 7.0 coming out in yellow (which I was very happy to see).

I later got into autocross in 2009, which let me safely explore the dynamics of taking curves fast on a closed course. After a number of runs, though, it became obvious that I wanted to get a rear-wheel-drive car, to explore oversteer. Prior to autocross, when I was starting to think about the next car in mid-2009, I thought of the "what would your next car be?" question that one usually has. At the time, there wasn't much that was affordable, and I didn't want to get anything used (in case it needed heavy repairs, or had unrepairable issues), and I wanted a lighter car with back seats (even if humans couldn't sit in them), and I did not want a convertible. That pretty much narrowed the field down to the RX-8 or the BMW 1 series. I didn't like the fuel economy of rotary engines, and later when I drove an RX-8, I didn't like how there was little torque until about 7000 RPM. And BMW was just too high-rent, and most CPO cars probably would've been pretty expensive, and wouldn't have had manual transmission if they came off of a lease.

But looming way in the background was the "Toyobaru Coupe" project, uncovered in spring 2008 with the leaks of the first sketches. Back then, I was thinking about prior Toyota 4-cylinder sporty cars, and the legacy of high-revving engines. The 2ZZ-GE engine in the 7th-gen Celica GT-S, which was also being used in the Lotus Elise. The 3S-GTE in three generations of Celica, and the 2nd-gen MR2. And of course the 4A-GE in the AE86 Corolla and the AW11 MR2. In the late-2000's, Toyota's smaller 4-cylinder engines didn't have anywhere near as much power to make today's 3000-pound cars go fast, and the 2AZ was a nice torquey engine that just felt right in the tC, but had a power curve that fell off at 5500 RPM. At that time, Subaru was tearing it up with the EJ20 turbocharged boxer revving to about 7000 RPM, so that looked like a good engine platform to build on. As the years went on, more details came out, with news of D4-S direct injection to get more power, instead of turbocharging. But probably my favorite representation was the drivable FT-86 Concept in Gran Turismo 5. I drove that thing a lot, and loved how it felt oddly stable while drifting in Clubman Stage Route 5. As more details about the FT-86 production model were coming out, I dialed expectations down a bit, and asked myself, "Would I be happy with these stats?" To which I said, "Hell yes, I would; it's the modern hachi-roku!"

Keep in mind that I had committed to the purchase once the Nurburgring mule pictures leaked out. I stared at them, looked at the body lines, saw the video of it driving by, and said, "This looks like it could be a real production car." I put in a reserve right there with Ted at Wellesley Scion.

Once the production model details started leaking out, I loved what I was seeing. The body lines seemed to mesh so well; far better than the FT-86 Concept, and kept much of the appealing lines of the FT-86 II concept. The power numbers and approximate weight figures came out, so I fired up GT5 and fed in power limiter and ballast into the FT-86 Concept, and said, "Yeah, I'd be okay with this!" The release event happened in November, and GT5 offered the Toyota 86 for free, which I proceeded to drive for hours. I watched the press review events scroll by, with my favorite being the "Chris Harris on Cars" video of driving the GT 86 at Jarama Circuit. Even the engine note seems like an homage to the 4A-GE.

So at this point I'm getting really close to picking up the car. Since the launch event, I've been counting down the approximate months, then weeks, and now... well, still weeks, because I don't know what day, and a single digit number of weeks sounds more optimistic than a double-digit number of days.

After painting the tC yellow, I codenamed it "Sunrise". The codename for this project is "Yozora" (Japanese for "night sky"), and is derived from these things:
- the song "Hiroyuki Oda - Yozora" from the Japanese trance label Otographic: http://www.otographicmusic.com/?p=2078&lang=en (which I fed into GT5 and played during drifting sessions with the FT-86 Concept)
- the theme of the "night sky giving magical power" in the video game Bayonetta (the car is going to be themed after Bayonetta: black exterior, gold wheels, red trim)
- the first word of the intro cinematic in the Japanese version of the video game Catherine (first time I heard that, I said, "Wait, I know that word! What does it mean?... oh.")

Obviously, more details to follow in the next few weeks.

Last edited by arbnpx; 06-02-2012 at 05:03 PM. Reason: Removed "prologue" from title since the car is here
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Old 05-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #2
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awesome
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:33 PM   #3
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Very much enjoyed reading the back-story that got you to this point. Looking forward to seeing your car arrive and the customization journey begin.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:03 PM   #4
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Great read. That render in GT5 makes me question if my choice of Whiteout will look as good or not. :P
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:59 PM   #5
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I've seen Whiteout in person, on the Subaru BRZ, "Satin White Pearl":

(UMass Amherst car show, April 21, 2012)

If you like pearl on white, it looks really nice, and the pearl pops out in direct sunlight (which was the light condition in that picture), but if you wanted flat white, well... this isn't it. For me, since there wasn't a yellow offered, I was flip-flopping between white or black, and I eventually decided on black. I've seen pictures of it ("Raven" on the FR-S, "Crystal Black Silica" on the BRZ), and it looks very nice; dark until you walk up close to it and see the sparkle. There's some up-close pics of Raven on Jack Hollis' FR-S in the Toyotafest thread here: http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showt...?t=5575&page=2

The other nice thing about Raven is how it masks the front fascia transition on the grille opening, and makes the headlights more prominent. This car looks so beautiful in black.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbnpx View Post
I've seen pictures of it ("Raven" on the FR-S, "Crystal Black Silica" on the BRZ), and it looks very nice; dark until you walk up close to it and see the sparkle. There's some up-close pics of Raven on Jack Hollis' FR-S in the Toyotafest thread here: http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showt...?t=5575&page=2

The other nice thing about Raven is how it masks the front fascia transition on the grille opening, and makes the headlights more prominent. This car looks so beautiful in black.
Have you seen it in person? I can't tell if Raven or Asphalt looks more like your GT5 render. It's probably the lighting in GT5 that makes it look like that, but that shade of black/grey looks amazing .
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Old 05-07-2012, 08:29 PM   #7
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When I read the title first thing came to mind was...



Anyways, good read!
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Old 05-07-2012, 10:27 PM   #8
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Hahaha, nice. I saw your blog post about the Carrera GT. There was a college student at the UMass car show who had an Audi R8 V10, so I figured he wouldn't be that enthusiastic about me getting the FR-S, but he said, "Wow, I love that car!" At that point, I thought, "Whoa! I didn't think he'd bat an eye at mentioning the FR-S."

Another litmus test is going to be the local cruise night. Mostly American cars and classic cars there, so that's a good subsection to judge from. There's a guy who always brings his pristine but daily-driven 2005 Camry. I always park the 2006 tC next to his Camry, since they're basically cousins. Some weeks, we're the only Japanese cars in the entire gallery. I'll keep close notes on the reaction to the FR-S.

I was able to test drive the FR-S at a gala event at Wellesley Scion today. That transmission is a work of art. I hit the gate on a 2-3 shift, but that was all me, not being accustomed to the shift feel. The clutch pedal reminded me of the 7th-gen Celica that my mom has; I think MotoMiwa said that the clutch feel was a dead-on match to the AE86. That engine feels great at all speeds; even sitting in the passenger seat before the handoff, I felt something euphoric when the rep was revving the engine up to head toward a traffic light. And in the corners, it didn't roll at all; it stayed planted on the ground. This is a truly magical car, which makes the Bayonetta homage far more appropriate.
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Old 05-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #9
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I was there too

Quote:
Originally Posted by arbnpx View Post
I've seen Whiteout in person, on the Subaru BRZ, "Satin White Pearl":

(UMass Amherst car show, April 21, 2012)

If you like pearl on white, it looks really nice, and the pearl pops out in direct sunlight (which was the light condition in that picture), but if you wanted flat white, well... this isn't it. For me, since there wasn't a yellow offered, I was flip-flopping between white or black, and I eventually decided on black. I've seen pictures of it ("Raven" on the FR-S, "Crystal Black Silica" on the BRZ), and it looks very nice; dark until you walk up close to it and see the sparkle. There's some up-close pics of Raven on Jack Hollis' FR-S in the Toyotafest thread here: http://www.ft86club.com/forums/showt...?t=5575&page=2

The other nice thing about Raven is how it masks the front fascia transition on the grille opening, and makes the headlights more prominent. This car looks so beautiful in black.
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Old 05-26-2012, 07:16 AM   #10
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If you don't leave the parking lot blasting
you will not be forgiven.

props on planning on theming the car on the best action game in the last few years

(hope you played the 360 version tho)
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:42 AM   #11
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Actually, I was planning on playing the "Fly Me To The Moon" remix, then skipping to that one. I bought the original soundtrack CD set, and already have the best drivable tracks on the iPod.

I played the PS3 version first, fighting through the framerate slowdowns, and then when I had enough financial justification to buy a 360 arcade (i.e.: Forza 4 as well as Bayonetta), I started playing the 360 version.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:07 PM   #12
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She's here:




Unfortunately, that's about it for pictures at this moment; it's raining a lot today, and it's going to rain a lot the next few days. At the same time, I'm driving to get past the break-in period.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:15 PM   #13
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Sorry it's been a while since I posted pictures; last couple of weeks of shows:



More updates to come... I'm finally about to make some progress on mods.
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Old 07-02-2012, 10:44 PM   #14
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What are your first mods?
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Old 07-03-2012, 05:21 PM   #15
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I have a Pioneer DEH-80PRS headunit getting installed soon, along with a Defi DIN-Gauge, and the TE37 wheels. After that, I'm going to be taking it easy, saving up, thinking of what to put in next.
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:05 PM   #16
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Updated interior: DEH-80PRS is installed, and there's an open bay waiting for the DIN-Gauge.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:05 PM   #17
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Items coming soon:

- Volk TE37 wheels (yes, still on their way, arriving any week now)
- Defi DIN-Gauge (LHD, black gauge faces with white scales and red needles, to match the instrument cluster's color scheme)
- Greddy SP Elite exhaust
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:19 PM   #18
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I think it's funny that in the before and after pics w/ the headunit you've got the same track playing.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:37 PM   #19
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I got the Team Voodoo shift knob installed. Very nice; it makes the shift feel a bit sharper (I have to get used to it; I found myself slightly chickening out on some shifts), and it looks very classy in black. No pictures yet because it's dark and gray. The stock shift knob looks like it has a plastic connector holding the top disk with the shift pattern diagram; I wonder if there's a market for alternate design top disks.

Exhaust, gauges, and wheels still on their way.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:30 PM   #20
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New picture:


Last edited by arbnpx; 08-01-2012 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:45 PM   #21
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nice car...go opticoat,black is a pita to keep clean
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Old 08-05-2012, 08:50 PM   #22
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Greddy exhaust installed:


It sounds very nice. Not objectionably loud, keeping it classy with the sound level. All of my audio impressions are from inside the cabin; I'll have to have someone take a video, or at least stand by as I drive past. The idle tone is very prominent, letting you know what the engine's doing at low RPMs (which is what I was missing; I found myself stalling out once or twice when backing into parking spaces at car shows, because I couldn't hear the engine note). At mid to high RPM, it sounds very complementary to the intake sound being piped into the cabin through the sound conductor. What I was hoping for was a way to "share" the interior cabin engine note with the world, and I think this achieves it nicely.
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