We’re used to Japanese carmakers launching restoration and heritage programs these days, but here’s something we didn’t expect. Toyota is launching a factory refresh program for the first-generation Toyota 86. The announcement came from the Tokyo Auto Salon and the program rolls out nationwide in Japan this year.
The original Toyota 86 and its Subaru BRZ twin are 11 years old now. In Japan that’s a long time for a car that, hopefully, gets driven hard on lots of touge runs. When minor things that wouldn’t garner a second glance in the US can fail a car in Japan’s notoriously strict Shaken inspections, having a factory-authorized refresh program can be quite useful.
Toyota calls it the 86 Re:Project, and is rolling it out at GR Garage dealers across Japan. Customers bring their cars in for an inspection and are advised by technicians on whether any parts need to be replaced and on a menu of services. These can include what Toyota’s calling an Engine Refresh Course or a Rubber Mount Replacement Course.
A video accompanying the program’s launch shows technicians de-carbonizing the valves and ports using borescopes and an amazing fluid IV drip. There looks to be some kind of engine cleaning service using a Seafoam-like product. In this case it’s likely Toyota’s own blend, specifically formulated for the FA20 engine or whatever.
After the work is done cars are put through the Certification Course, in which a test driver makes sure performance falls within a certain range. It’s all digitized on fancy computers that look more advanced than the panels on USS Enterprise. If everything measures up to spec, the owner gets a certificate showing that the services have been rendered.
To US owners this may seem like overkill for a decade-old vehicle, which in Japan could have only 60,000 miles on it. On average, Japanese drivers put about 5,800 miles a year on their odometers. But the culture is such that having a precision, factory fresh car is something customers are willing to pay for. All in all, it’s a good thing that Toyota offers this service if it helps keep affordable, fun sports cars on the road.