TGIF[R-S]: Toyota Details GT86 Development Speedbumps

This week’s installment of TGIF[R-S] isn’t about me, or my car, but about how the 2013 Car of the Year came to be, thanks to a post I stumbled across on the Toyota UK blog.

The blog quotes Toyota’s chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, who let out a few new details about the creation of the fun-to-drive coupe and just how hard it was for the company to convince Subaru to co-create the BRZ/FR-S twins.

“We built a prototype based on a Subaru Legacy and that’s when the mindset seemed to change at Subaru,” Tada-san says. “We lent them that car and the Subaru management came back to us and said, ‘this is such an interesting car. Every time we lend it out, it comes back with the rear tyres worn out!”

Toyota used a Legacy-based prototype to show Subaru how much fun a naturally aspirated, rear-wheel drive car can be. Prior to this prototype, Subaru had been stubborn about working with Toyota on the project.

As rumors of this early Toyobaru concept leaked out, it prompted speculation that the Subaru version would still come with the brand’s all-wheel drive. As it turns out, however, the Legacy underpinnings never made it through to production.

SEE ALSO: How the Scion FR-S Almost Never Happened

A rear-drive Legacy did, however, get the collaboration back on track, but it wasn’t without some speed-bumps along the way. Direct-injection was an issue of concern for Subaru, with the company saying the technology caused problems in the past. Toyota too had some reservations about handing over the blueprints for its D4-S direct and port injection system, which was made with some help by the Lexus LFA’s chief engineer.

“Yet out of these feelings and the wall of reluctance, we made a prototype [in 2008], which had 190bhp,” Tada-san says. “It started to dissolve the antipathy and marked the start of a mutual respect between Subaru and Toyota engineers. We had heard that Subaru engineering had been concerned about the potential for Toyota one-upmanship in this relationship. But after the prototype was built we all got together and felt that we were all on the same team.”

While the product turned out to be‘s first ever Car of the Year winner, and also our Readers Choice Sports Car of the Year,  it’s clear that development and testing wasn’t without some speed-bumps.

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