QotW: What would Bunta drive in an Initial D prequel?

With the Initial D series winding down those craving more tales of the touge will have to wait for the feature film reboot this August. However, some JNCers have suggested the idea of a new story instead, one focused on the background of Takumi’s mysterious guru of a father.

What would Bunta drive in an Initial D prequel?

According to MyAnimeList, the sleepy-eyed chain-smoker is 43 or 44 years old during the series. That means he would have come of age smack dab in the middle of Japan’s automotive golden era. A TE27 Sprinter Trueno seems like the logical predecessor to the hachiroku, but then again Bunta doesn’t seem like the brand loyal type.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of the last QotW, “Which JNC is the rarest coelacanth?” 


Ryan Sennesky wins the week with his comment about the rarity of the Mitsubishi-built Plymouth Sapporo. Though we’ve seen a few mint ones at JCCS and at least one beat-to-hell specimen still trawling the streets of Koreatown, Los Angeles, Ryan made us chuckle with his kicker.

1978-1983 Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Sapporo which is a Mitsubishi Galant Lambda. I have merely seen pictures of them. Never in real life, and I know it exists because I found a grille for one of them at a Swap Meet. These were thought of as total S**t by disenfranchised rednecks everywhere who thought that this would be a first-generation Challenger with a smaller body so most of them had been junked by 1997. If I ever found one I would trade my rust free CRX with nearly no hesitation.

I saw a unicorn once and thought I had seen a Plymouth Sapporo.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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34 Responses to QotW: What would Bunta drive in an Initial D prequel?

  1. cesariojpn says:

    “…..but then again Bunta doesn’t seem like the brand loyal type.”

    You’re forgetting in the series, he gets a Subaru Impreza WRX after Takumi gets the Hachi. Aside from one formal technicality, Bunta isn’t really brand loyal canon wise.

  2. max says:

    you guysat JNC are always stating the obvious when you’re posting a question! On that JNCarticle about initialD final stage some guy named Nigel stated we need a prequel and we had some great comments. Lai pictured Bunta in a blue subaru XT or a celice 2000gt.And i was like:”i think if bunta would own any car before the hachiroku would be a classic TE27″.
    Sure they’re awesome ideas, the te27 and ta22 are both light and agile cars much like the ae86 but we’re talking prequel here, and it’s about a young Bunta. Being a total badass he is he should have like over 9000times more radical during his youth. So what if the fellow in this prequel liked Toyotas for family reasons like his dad owning a van and some great classic toyotas involved with family tofu stuff or buisiness, but being the rebelious street racer he was, maybe he wanted something diferent…something like a rotary powered mazda RX3! rotary powered,carburated and turbo charged driving on the toge all while smoking a cigarette! That’s how badass i think Bunta would have been. But unfortunatly rotary engines are real gas guzzlers and their engine needs a little bit more attention and Bunta doesn’t know anything about rotaries and he needs something that still fun and sporty but more on the practical and fuel econmy side so he buys a ae86 hatch and delivers tofu andd street racing and stuff. Years pass Takumi is born,mother is dead or something or dont care and we know the story of that famous hachiroku

  3. j_tso says:

    Bunta does have some history driving the 86; in the first episode the gas station manager thought Bunta was driving it. I would think a straight prequel would be the rivalry between Bunta and Kai’s (2nd gen MR2 driver) father.

    For a younger Bunta in the late 70s, I’d say a 510. Like the haciroku, it has a great base to work on while being understated i.e. not an all out sports car.

  4. kev says:

    My vote goes to a Butaketsu Laurel. The Laurel seems to have been the bad-boy car, the one driven by the bank robbers in the movies, so would have had a more sinister vibe on the streets compared to say a 280ZX.

    In the 70s, Nissan L-series was pretty much the only show in town in street (drag) racing circles, so a TE27 might have been like bringing a knife to a gunfight.

    Yes the Corolla is nimbler, but I don’t think the chassis advantage would naturally have fallen Toyota’s way, since it’s a leaf spring solid-axle car vs the Nissan with its independent rear, and the Laurel is hardly a big and bulky car.

  5. bert says:

    “the sleepy-eyed chain-smoker is 43 or 44 years old during the series. That means he would have come of age smack dab in the middle of Japan’s automotive golden age.” This sounds just like Smokey Nagata of Top Secret fame! And Smokey drives this http://www.superstreetonline.com/featuredvehicles/130_0705_1975_toyota_celica_top_secret/ So…..question answered, where’s my JNC stickers?

  6. Fuel10922 says:

    Agreed..Bunta is not brand loyal. For some reason I see him owning an early Datsun 240Z…… Inline 6…..side drafts…rwd…..yea that’s the ticket! Then as his priority’s changed like most of us he then opted to go with the AE86 for the family and buisness needs. But like most car guys he makes his choice wisely knowning the capability’s of the AE86.

  7. Rhyzo says:

    Bunta strikes me as the type of person who typically likes to drive cars with deep-rooted rivalries with other cars. If you take the AE86, back in the day the rival was between that and a Civic EF track wise (if I recall), later on he buys a WRX, obviously rivaling with the Evos.

    He also seems to choose cars that are smaller than normal, nimble and have a racing pedigree behind them. With that said, he probably would’ve owned an RX-3. No questions asked.

  8. Derrick Stikeleather says:

    Bunta seems to prefer the physics of the vehicle over all else. He would drive something light weight that could take on mountain passes with the least resources applied.

    Honda S car. I’m still not sure if it would be a 600 or early 800 with chain drive and independent rear end, or a later car with live axle and disk brakes, but I know for sure it would be a coupe.

  9. Jim-Bob says:

    I would think he’d be rocking a PL510 Bluebird SSS. With both of the vehicle choices he is seen to have made in the series (AE86 and WRX), he gets a 4 seater small sporty car that is reasonably priced and attainable for an average person of the time. The PL510 was a more sophisticated car than a TE27 as it had perfect weight distribution and 4 wheel independent suspension. Since he seems to prefer handling and balance to outright power, it would be a sensible choice for him to have. As he seems to have no issue with doing an engine swap, I think it would have had the FJ20 DOHC 4 from a Skyline installed in place of the original L series, along with an FS5W71 5 speed. This would be in keeping with him being in his prime during the early to mid 80’s, when these parts and vehicles would have been readily available.

    • pstar says:

      Basically, with your reasons for Bunta getting a Bluebird over a TE27, why the hell would he have gotten an AE86 then? You do know 86s have live rear axles, don’t you?

      • Jim-Bob says:

        Yes, I do (it shares the same basic architecture as the same year RWD Corolla). But then again, what other choices were available for a newer car during that time period that were also light weight? The only other cars were more sports car oriented than the AE86 (S12 Silvia, Celica/Supra, etc.) and heavier as well. All I am arguing is that he would have chosen the most optimal car available at the time within a certain budget. I have nothing against the TE27, but think it’s chassis is not as good as a PL510. I would love to own either car, but I give the edge to the Datsun.

  10. Mike McDonald says:

    With tongue firmly in cheek,” Initial D ” should have a Datsun, complete with the Initial D center grille piece!

  11. dickie says:

    it was an interesting conversation that sparked this QotW, and i’d like to offer an equally interesting response.

    Bunta definitely isn’t a brand-loyalist. he’s a pragmatist, selecting his cars to serve a specific purpose – nothing more, nothing less. the chose the Sprinter because it was an excellent platform to learn the fundamentals on. his next car was a high-spec Impreza, purchased solely to develop his son’s skills vs. opponents equipped with AWD.

    his “keep it simple, stupid” approach also applies to his tuning method. he only touches the parts of the car when absolutely necessary, but when he does it’s to great effect. his decision to use a Formula Atlantic 4AG to replace the blown stock unit seems to contradict this notion, but it’s later revealed that he chose such a ridiculous powerplant specifically to teach Takumi about balance; upgrading one aspect of the car’s performance necessitates attention to other areas in order to maximize the benefit.

    if a race car built for the circuit is a scalpel and your average street racer’s vehicle is a butter knife, i’d wager Bunta’s car is something like a utility blade… razor sharp in the right hands but practical and adaptable enough for daily use. considering his ties to motorsports and apparent relationships to big name drivers and mechanics, you would expect these influences to be represented in the parts bin.

    there were some great cars coming out of Japan in the mid 70’s through the early 80’s, the period that Bunta would likely have gained his reputation for terrorizing the Tōge before the AE86 was released. not all of them seem to fit his particular personality though, and the Corolla/Celica of the time seems a little too obvious to make a good QotW answer. the Fairlady and Skyline don’t fit the paradigm of unassuming giant-killer. Bunta doesn’t strike me as a rotary guy for some reason. do I even need to mention why Honda wouldn’t be included?

    I’m left with only one car that ‘fits’ in my mind: the 510 series Bluebird. the car enjoyed some notable racing success overseas that would have caught his attention, and it wouldn’t have been a stretch to see him putting a larger displacement L-series or even an OS Giken TC16 under the hood. betting that he’d have the little box running circles around all sorts of ostensibly faster machinery on Akina’s downhill before Takumi was even a twinkle in his perpetually squinty eyes.

    semi on-topic, it would be interesting to see how he made his connections inside the motorsports world… was he a promising rookie on the verge of success before his son was born? or did he eschew a seat on a pro team for more philosophical reasons? you could definitely fill another decade telling those stories…

  12. rockabillydude says:

    as i see it the legendary chain smoker who drives with his eyes closed could have a few options

    the young bunta fujiwara should drive either a lower grade celica liftback or a
    c130 laurel with a prince g20 four banger that has been slightly fiddled with.
    i think his story would be that of a badboy gone street racer beacause of the way he is discribed in the story.
    a mean machine with boso flavour would suit him fine
    also they say that his car was inferior to the cars his buddies had in the series but he still won so that is why i think the car he uses should be a lower grade model

  13. John M says:

    I have not seen nor read Initial D, but I won’t let that stop me. It is my understanding that Al Gore invented the Internet for people to give opinions on topics they know little or nothing about. Having said that, the answer is a C210 Skyline Japan.

    Like many young people, Bunta went through a rebellious phase and was heavily influenced by his peers. To show their individuality, they all wore the same jeans and T-shirts. A few sported afros that would make Art Garfunkel and ABA players jealous while others rocked a serious Duck’s Ass. Their style may have even influenced the JNC Kaido shirt. The only family member that seemed to understand him was his uncle who had a C210 that ran when parked, but was covered under years of dust. He bought the car with a small down payment and an agreement to work the rest off.

    He was the first of his friends to get a car, so they all piled in, cranked up The Blue Hearts cassette, and started attending informal meets. The weight of the car and his friends actually helped him refine his control as he did donuts in pachinko parlor parking lots and tried to evade police through city streets. At the time, Group 5 racing was popular and he gradually modified his Skyline Japan to resemble the Super Silhouette cars with exaggerated flares and spoilers. Unfortunately, the car attracted too much attention from the police and he was forced to park it back at his uncle’s where it still sits today. If this doesn’t make sense, blame Al.

  14. oner says:

    Datsun u620 with tofu in the bed

  15. AKADriver says:

    I see him in a hakosuka or a kenmeri. Maybe just because of the Keiichi Tsuchiya connection – they were supposed to be friends in their day, no surprise if they had similar cars. Not some wild GT-R mind you, he’s too working-class for that; just a nice 2000 GT.

  16. Yoda says:

    ’74 non-Gran Torino, four door in puke green with matching interior.

    What? OK, 510 then. I’m sticking with the 4-door and puke green, though.

  17. pstar says:

    Most of you seem to like the idea of a static Bunta. The guy has always been in the tofu industry, and he’s always been drifting mountain passes, decades before there was even a scene to give him any rivals.

    But in the early 1970s, young Bunta is in his late teens. All the cool cars that most of you are suggesting are well out of his reach, or won’t even be made until he’s in his 30s. All he can afford are some used Kei cars, Kei cars from the 60s. On the other hand, he can afford the other vehicular pleasure that was really coming into its own in Japan at this time. That’s right, Bunta is into bikes. Takumi’s mother has yet to show up and do whatever she did to get Bunta to park the bikes and never get back on them, he’s got a good 6-7 years before that happens.

    I’d like to see Bunta racing his Honda CB500 Four (giving him a 750 or 1000 would be a little like having takumi start with a GTR or an Evo V) through early 70s Japan. He’s not a Bozo, he doesn’t get along with them. They are one of the primary antagonists of the series, even. Bunta is good enough that he tries circuit racing, but finds that the whole controlled nature of the racing just isn’t his thing. Kind of like Ryosuke. So he blasts down Japan’s new expressways, drag races in the emergent high-rise packed cities, and starts moving into the passes for all out mano-a-mano showdowns.

  18. Dimas says:

    I try to based my idea’s on what Bunta’s like from the way the people around him talk or think about him and the impression he gave from the series;

    i think if memories serve’s The old man from the Gas Station is one of Bunta’s close friend along side the guy that get Bunta his Imprezza.

    And somewhere along side of the story arc they gave an impression that Bunta isn’t a man that prefer car’s with turbos at least in the past (so scratch the turbo’s), and he also isn’t one with a taste for big wings and probably also the 4wd types. There’s also the background family business which pretty much stating that the family is a normal economy not one with the luxury like the takahasi’s, so expensive ride is out of the question, and Bunta also gave the impression that he isn’t one who like to picks car that have a dynamic looks(hence the 86, and the impreza).

    So to sum up well i think that narrows the choice quite a bit. If anything, i think the old man fujiwara’s ride in his golden age is a 1970 toyota starlet.
    Then again well that’s just me going crazy

    • Angelo says:

      Hmmm… great idea, as the Starlet is a very agile all-around car. It’s light, doesn’t drink too much fuel, and is cheap!

      Hmmm, maybe it should be the car that started his tofu business, or at least the delivery duties.

    • Nigel says:

      I was thinking Starlet or b110, both have similar power.

  19. Martin says:

    I’m not gonna lie, I always imagined that younger Bunta would’ve been the badass zokusha type. He’s full of wisdom as a grown man, but people aren’t born wise. I’m sure it took a long while for him to grow up and become the stoic badass he was in Initial D. Younger Bunta would’ve been badass too, just in a different, less experienced way.


    The black/silver C110 Skyline in this picture is actually exactly what I’ve always imaged he would drive. The colors and attitude just seem to fit. Takumi started out not knowing or caring very much about cars, so I doubt Bunta would have cared about handling and stability and technique very much from the very beginning!

    • Power Tryp says:

      I like this idea. Bunta starting out as a bad ass rebel with a hot looking yet lousy driving car. He gets taunted into racing some other kid and finds out just how average his car is and makes it his personal mission to improve both his car and his skills which ends up landing him with an actual race seat going wheel to wheel with Japans best.

      He quits it all when his son is born knowing first hand just how dangerous racing can be.

  20. revlimiter says:

    Bunta was a kid looking beyond his hick town. He listened to Bowie and the Clash. He turned his nose up at the domestic rides and only had eyes for a 1960s Ford Mustang fastback. He was a seventeen-year-old kid who fell in love with Bullitt ten years earlier, and he wasn’t going to settle for anything less than American heavy metal under his butt.

    So he had a cousin on Okinawa who knew some GI looking to unload his old pony, and a deal was made. It probably had the 4.7L double barrel V8, but it hadn’t been well cared for. It was rusty, barely running, but Bunta got it back into shape. He worked at the tofu shop, he smoked his pilfered Camel unfiltereds, and he drove the mountain passes in his Mustang.

    Eventually, he met The Mother. They married, they had Takumi. The Mustang was sold for a Datsun 510 wagon. The Mother has a raging case of undiagnosed postpartum depression. One day, Bunta comes home to a screaming baby and a wife swinging from the rafters. The world goes black for him for awhile. But a couple of years pass and he sees that AE86. It’s fun, but sorta practical? Aw, the hell with practical, he buys it. And so it goes …

    (written by my wife, who just latched onto this Mustang thing during our dinner conversation.)

    • dickie says:

      totally morbid, but very believable from a Japanese drama sort of angle. It would have to be around Christmas that she ended it, explaining both Bunta and Takumi’s aversion to celebrating.

      it leaves a lot of questions unanswered though, so it’s sort of like a comic book movie level reboot.

  21. Randy says:

    Lotsa choices, but: used, RWD and cheap enough to buy and tweak. 197x-something… Mitsu maybe?

    • nihonnotekko says:

      I totally agree with you! I can see Bunta in something like a ’75 Galant GS. Sporty, well designed, not-so-powerful, no-nonsense RWD sports coupe with a 5-speed on the floor to boot. A wolf in sheep’s clothing? With Bunta behind the wheel, definitely.

  22. Gene says:

    I’m going with a Toyota Starlet 4 door or a 2 door bug eye. First racing with a slightly modded 3k engine but after a very heated one sided battle with a far more superior car the engine threw a conrod and was replaced by a 3kr after he accepted an offer to stand as a one time driver for a works team. That’s where he meets Keichi where they begin as rivals first then become good friends. After the race season he debates with himself if he should stay with the team or go back to his touge roots. But a sudden announcement from Takumi’s mother sways him to take the latter.

  23. John says:

    1969 Nissan Fairlady Z432

  24. Harakudoshi says:

    I always figured Initial D took place around the early 2000s. Maybe 2003, that makes the most sense having one of the characters driving an evo 7. With that, that would mean Bunta was born in 1959-1961. So when he was right about that age of street racing, 18-22, it would’ve been the late 70s or the early 80s. That fits with a comment that Takumi made that his father had had the 86 for as long as he can remember. Bunta bought the 86 right before Takumi was born, and again assuming off the 2003 assumption, Takumi was born in 1985 or so. Anyway, when Bunta would’ve made a name for himself as a street racer, there’s only one car I can think of that would’ve been about a decade old, and just seen as another old car. That’s an early Mitsubishi Galant GTO. In about 1980, it wasn’t a valuable collectors’ car, it had just recently been phased out of production a few years prior. So there were more than a few around, and it was new enough to not be rare or valuable, but old enough to be seen as inferior to modern sports cars. Like how the ae86 was seen in the mid to late 90s. So my vote is for a Galant GTO MR (because it’s the highest performing version, and the only that came with a 5 speed).

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