I’ll start this one off simply by saying Malaysia is totally unique when it comes to automotive tuner culture. Yes, Japan is great, but Malaysia takes it the extra mile in more ways than one.
You may remember my last story in which I covered an Initial D-inspired AE86 in Texas. Now you’re looking at a life-size diorama of the famous Fujiwara Tofu Shop building from the famous manga, on the other side of the world.
The brainchild of three AE86 and anime/manga enthusiasts – in that order, by some separation – this movie-set-like building is actually a fully functioning restaurant and museum, serving all of our favorite Japanese staple meals. Think rice bowls, curry, ramen – you name it.
In addition to the restaurant, the building also houses a personal, unofficial collection of Initial D paraphernalia, including a replica of another familiar car from the series – the Red Suns FC3S Mazda RX-7.
On top of a plethora of posters, photos, models and other Initial D collectables, you’ll notice orderly piles of car parts – mostly wheels and AE86-related equipment – and not one, but three fully-functioning Initial D arcade machines. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to have a go on one, but I look forward to that on my next visit.
Now, for my fellow AE86 enjoyers, your eyes probably darted instantly towards the Black Limited parked out front – but we’ll cover the tofu shop replica car first. This Trueno belongs to Lim, one of the three founders, and is the result of 10 years of blood, sweat, tears, and a whole heap of brand new, old stock OEM parts.
It started out life as a kouki (facelift) Trueno, but was backdated to a zenki (pre-facelift), keeping it true to the manga. Outside of the accessories shown on the famous Fujiwara Tofu Shop car, this AE86 is completely standard; the magic resides in the nut and bolt restoration, making Lim’s Trueno virtually brand new.
I’ve known Lim for quite a few years now, so it was great to catch up and finally see his car in the flesh.
The Black Limited is also owned by one of the founders, but hides quite a few more modifications. Apart from a set of RS Watanabe wheels, the exterior is relatively standard. The drivetrain, however, is anything but.
A lightly-worked 20-valve 4A-GE with open velocity stacks on its ITBs and a custom exhaust manifold propels this Corolla at what I would assume to be a relatively fast pace. Whilst this car is relatively tame by modified AE86 standards, it’s certainly a dream-spec Hachiroku – for me at least.
My Corolla bias has never been subtle, and if I’m honest, it’s probably been abundantly obvious as of late. But a fan-created tribute to a tofu shop from a Japanese manga is certainly not something you’d expect to see in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, so I just had to share it with you.
Malaysia was quite an eye-opening experience for me in the context of automotive culture, and if a real-life Fujiwara Tofu Shop wasn’t enough to convince you, don’t worry, there’s some more crazy stuff headed your way shortly.