In the old days unlicensed toys used to be somewhat janky, but in recent years in China, where manufacturing prowess and the wild west of intelletctual property law intersect, a lot of it has gotten quite good. Case in point: this incredibly detailed non-Lego, non-Initial D Toyota AE86 tofu delivery car.
Though the little plastic bricks that make up the car look like they would fit with Legos, they are not official Legos. Instead, the kit is made by an outfit called Cada. It doesn’t look like there’s any official Toyota licensing or Initial D either. Yet, it’s clearly not just any random Toyota Sprinter Trueno, but meant to be the one with which Takumi conquered all the underground drift teams of central Japan.
How do we know? Because the kit even includes a crate of tofu in the trunk, and not just any tofu, but “Classic Fujiwara Tofu”! Gaze upon those perfect white cubes of soybean curd in their wooden delivery box.
The kit is more advanced than your typical Lego kit. It’s more like something you’d find in the big-boy Lego Technics line, with its opening panels, working steering linkage and rear wheel suspension. The latter is even advertised as “non-independent”, just like on the real car.
And if you needed further proof that this is the famous AE86 of Mt Akina, the highly detailed interior features a cup of water that Old Man Bunta orders Takumi to keep in his car and not spill a drop. There’s also a 3-spoke steering wheel, shifter, and all-important hand-brake. There are a few imperfections, though, such as the gauge cluster from a newer car, the lack of rear seats, and we’re pretty sure Takumi’s car had a burgundy interior.
The engine is a pretty good representation of the 4A-GE. That flywheel-looking thing is part of the steering linkage, and the headlights can be swapped to those in the down position.
The kit also comes with modification parts like a spoiler or V8 engine that were never part of the Initial D Hachiroku. At least if you squint, you could say that it was a Lexus 1UZ and not an LS swap of some sort.
Last but not least, you can power it with a battery box servo motors to perhaps turn it into some kind of R/C car. The kit has 1,234 pieces altogether and costs, amazingly, as low as a USD$41 if you buy enough units. Or, if you aren’t really into buying unlicensed things, the great news is you can pretty much make your own with individual Lego pieces.
Thanks to Danny M for the tip!