After a few months driving this Toyota 86, the owner came to us looking to spice up his ride and make it that much more exciting and enjoyable to drive. The 86 platform which includes the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ is one of the best new cars to modify as the aftermarket support is virtually unrivaled for any car made in the last decade.
We started off with the basics by replacing the factory Display Audio system that is clunky to use and doesn't offer much as far as advanced audio and connectivity features. We changed this to the Sony XAV-AX5000 and retained the factory backup camera with an appropriate step down converter. Not only does this head unit have a more responsive touchscreen but it also offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, features that still aren't available on most Toyota vehicles in 2019 and even the 2020 model year.
On the dash cam front, we went with a basic Thinkware FA200 1-channel setup. This compact dash cam packs a decent punch with good video quality and an excellent parking mode feature. It's one of the most energy efficient dash cams on the market so it'll offer longer parking mode recording than other models which is important for a car with a notoriously small and weak battery. The only real drawback to this camera is the fact that it only has a 720P rear camera but since we were only doing the front camera in this application, that is a non-issue.
Aero and Exterior
To give the exterior a more aggressive look, we went with a front lip and side skirt kit from Maxton Designs. This kit looks great and plays well with the lines of the factory bumper. That being said, at the front corners it does stick out a good 3 or 4" more so parking blocks and ramps will require some degree of caution. The owner wanted a large GT wing and picked a model from NRG with upgraded end plates for a very sporty look.
Suspension and Footwork
To match the aggressive bodywork, we had to lower the vehicle. For that we chose the EZ street coilovers which come with their own pillowball upper mounts. There is no camber plate on this coilover but there is adjustable damping which makes a notable difference in ride quality. We took the car for a quick test drive on the factory tires after getting the wheels aligned and the difference is night and day. The body roll is virtually eliminated and the steering feels just that much more precise.
To further improve handling, we gave the car proper Summer tires and wider wheels. We went with a 18x8.5 +35 Super-speed RF03RR which gives over an inch wider stance compared to the factory 17x7 wheels. For the tires we went with the Firestone Indy 500 in a 235 section width. We've track tested this tire before and found that it's more than capable for the type of street driving our customer will do.
We loved the way the car turned out. It had come to our shop fully stock with only red Alloygators on the factory wheels which were mounted with winter tires and the car left driving completely differently. There is a bit of extra harshness with the suspension and tire setup but the trade-off is well worth it as soon as you throw the car into a corner. The coilovers were our favourite part and were actually reasonably affordable for the style and performance gained.