Could the 86 Coupes Replace the Miata as the Answer?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Apr 1, 2022 | Subaru, Toyota, BRZ, 86 | Posted in Features | From the Oct. 2020 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by David S. Wallens

Perhaps this could be the next Spec Miata, muses longtime pro racer Robb Holland. The car is easy to build, easy to drive and easy to race. The chassis is already popular among enthusiasts, whether the decklid reads Subaru BRZ, Scion FR-S or Toyota 86.

The BRZ feels like a bigger, more powerful Miata,” Robb says. “It still has the same nimbleness that a Miata has but is a bit more stable at the limit. It’s easy enough to drive for beginners but still a lot of fun for even the way more experienced drivers.”

While racing this chassis is nothing new, this particular car, built by Colorado’s NRG Motorsports, represents a glimpse at a potential future series. Call it a look at what’s possible–a simple, DIY-friendly build, all thanks to a seed planted in Europe. 

Easy to Build

One of my friends over at the Nürburgring was Oliver Kröll, who worked for TMG,” Robb recalls. The year was 2015, he thinks, and TMG stands for Toyota Motorsports Group, the brand’s factory-backed, German-based motorsports department. 

TMG, now known as Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, ran Toyota’s Formula 1 effort and currently operates the brand’s World Endurance Championship program–you know, the team that finished 1-2 overall at Le Mans last year. 

“TMG was starting the new Toyota GT86 Cup series at the Nürburgring and wanted a bunch of team owners and drivers to come out and test the car and give feedback,” Robb continues. “I could tell right away that it was an amazing package and that it would do incredibly well in the U.S. 

“Even though it didn’t have the power that a lot of other cars racing in the VLN had, its handling was simply amazing. Through the fast, flowing section of the Nordschleife, between the Karussell and Brünnchen, the 86 would leave every other car in its class–and many faster cars–in the dust. It wasn’t the power of the car; it was the handling. You could just float the car into the corners at such high speed for a production car on skinny tires.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe continues to offer GT86 turnkey race cars, with the current lineup featuring one rally-spec machine and a pair of road racers. The CS-Cup car, the quicker of the two track models, has become a staple in Europe’s VLN series–the group that calls the Nürburgring home.

While the SCCA now offers a successful spec autocross series for the Toyota 86 chassis and a group called 86Cup sanctions a one-make West Coast time trial program, the U.S. never got a spec road race series for the car. Robb reports that he nosed around but just couldn’t find the right corporate partner to make the concept a reality–even though Toyota displayed a CS-Cup car in its 2016 SEMA booth and fielded it in Pirelli World Challenge competition the following year for just two races. (Craig Stanton drove that car to third- and fourth-place finishes.)

Aside from an exhaust header and oil cooler, the engine bay remains quite stock. The interior’s big changes all pretty much relate to safety. 

Eight years after the car’s launch, however, Robb argues that it’s still a strong candidate for a spec series. Take those benign track manners and add in the fact that more than 116,000 units have been sold to date in the U.S. 

Aside from the small horsepower and gearing tweaks introduced for the 2017 model year–which, as even our own testing showed, didn’t significantly impact performance–this model has been relatively unchanged since its unveiling for 2012. The only real option has been the transmission: six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

“It’s been the same car for eight years now,” Robb stresses. “All the parts are stocked by the dealer.” 

And the high production number means there are lots of cars out there that would make perfect starting points for track car builds. “The great thing about these is that they’re coming up on the salvage market for five grand,” Robb adds.

Alex Nelsen, owner of NRG Motorsports, built this one–perhaps that future spec racer–from two such salvage cars. “I bought this car and a ’14 BRZ,” Alex recalls. “$8300 delivered for both.”

The pair had been caught in a flood. The 2016 Scion FR-S, the car shown here, saw the water rise halfway up its doors. The engine wasn’t running at the time, though, so it didn’t ingest any water. That wasn’t the case with the Subaru, though, so it donated the parts needed to convert the FR-S from an automatic transmission to a manual.

“Mechanically, it’s not a big thing at all,” Alex says of the swap. “Or electronically.”

The conversion involves transplanting the major hard parts–transmission, clutch, pedals, driveshaft–plus the engine and dash harnesses. All of the control modules also need to be swapped. “You can switch one module, but if swapping more than one, then you need to start from scratch,” Alex says, as the immobilizer starts to become an issue at that point. 

Since both cars had been flooded, Alex replaced all of the modules. “There’s a pretty solid aftermarket of guys dismantling these cars,” he explains. For about $450, Alex purchased a matching set of control modules with keys. Problem fixed. 

One thing Alex learned during the swap: Keeping it Subaru to Subaru or Scion to Scion makes the process easier. The Subaru starts with a push button, while the Scion uses an old-school key. The harnesses are similar but not identical. 

The actual race prep was fairly simple, with the biggest upgrade being the suspension package found on those Euro-spec 86 Cup series cars: a set of two-way-adjustable Bilstein dampers fitted with threaded body coil-overs and camber plates. That’s about a $6000 setup, Alex notes.

The brakes, engine, gearbox and differential are all still stock. Even the bushings remain original, and the stock anti-roll bars are perfect, Alex says. A 6x18-inch Setrab oil cooler can be found in front of the radiator. 

“We haven’t even tuned our motor,” Robb notes, calling this one of perhaps a few modern cars that can be easily converted from road to track use because its stock electronics don’t get in the way. 

The header was developed in Europe and helps eliminate the torque dip found around 3500 rpm. Alex is looking to having something similar built stateside.  

Then add in the usual race car setup, meaning a gutted interior, full cage and all the safety equipment. The tires are the long-wearing Hankook Ventus R-S4 wrapped around 17x9-inch Enkei wheels–a model found on the Tire Rack website.

The cost of duplicating this car depends on who’s doing the labor, Alex notes. He figures $30,000 to $35,000 to deliver one to a customer; budget less if you do the work yourself. 

In this trim, the car’s power-to-weight ratio lands it in the World Racing League’s GP3 class. “The WRL format, I think, is great for motorsports in general,” Robb says. “It’s some of the most accessible, inexpensive racing that you can do. 

“Their endurance format, with a lower bar to entry, has the ability to draw in people who might not otherwise have an interest in the sport. Additionally, it’s just good, fun racing that mixes some top pros in with the amateurs and gives everyone a ton of seat time.”

Easy to Race

The build was simple, but there’s still one question we haven’t answered: Is it fast? At this June’s World Racing League 14-hour enduro at Daytona International Speedway, Robb qualified with a 2:21. 

Toward the end of the race, while taking it easy to secure a second-place class finish, he ran about a second or so off that pace. “There’s at least a 19 in it,” he says of the car. 

Compare those times to the Miata benchmark: The top SCCA Spec Miatas–which run on the faster, stickier Hoosier SM7.5 tire–can turn a 2:19 at Daytona. Budget at least $30,000 for a turnkey build from a known shop.

The beauty, both Robb and Alex note, is in the 86’s reliability and undemanding maintenance. During the 14-hour Daytona race, the car suffered just one issue: An axle failed as the nearby exhaust pipe got it just a little too hot. 

“It basically burns the grease off,” Robb notes. “You have to run motorsport grease and motorsport boots.” Alex is having some race-spec axles built. He figures they’ll last a season or two.

“The cars are light, so they don’t eat up brakes,” Robb continues. “They don’t eat up tires.” The Daytona tally: 14 hours on one set of Hankooks and just a single set of brake pads. 

The underside is still fairly stock, too, aside from a set of Bilstein coil-overs developed for the Nürburgring. The key to the car’s success: simplicity and good bones. 

Alex’s shop has long campaigned Spec Miatas, and last September he entered the World Racing League’s 24-hour contest at High Plains Raceway with two cars: one of the two 86 coupes in his stable and a 1994 Miata. After the race, he spent just one day servicing the 86. “The Miata, on the other hand, for the same level of prep took five days,” he recalls. “Everything on that car is, for us, 26 years old.”

As Miatas get older, he continues, finding good parts for them becomes tougher. He cites alternators as an example: Today he can only get them from aftermarket suppliers, and they only last for one enduro. In fact, Alex’s data shows them slowly petering out even before that single competition is over. And that lifetime warranty doesn’t help if the unit burns out mid-race, he notes. “We were getting very frustrated with the Miata with the level of maintenance in order to keep the car reliable.”

He compares that to the coupe. “The 86 has been stellar,” he reports. When Alex purchased the Scion, it had about 11,000 miles on the odometer. After four major endurance races to date covering about 4000 miles total, the engine still puts down the same dyno figures–about 165 horsepower at the wheels. Over-revs haven’t hurt the engine, either, he notes. “All we’ve done is change the oil.”

“They’re very elegantly put together,” he continues. “This is like an Asian Porsche as far as its simplicity and elegance.”

Easy to Organize?

In addition to the Pirelli World Challenge held here in the States–the series now known as SRO Motorsports Group America–Robb has raced around the world thanks to time in the British Touring Car Championship, World Touring Car Championship and TCR International Series. He also makes regular appearances at the Nürburgring. 

Get a pack of 30 or 40 of these spec coupes together, he says, and it should be exciting. Plus, it’s a current car still supported by both Subaru and Toyota dealer networks. “It makes too much sense to me.”

Two fans of the simple 86 build: car builder Alex Nelsen (seated) and pro driver Robb Holland (suiting up).

The trick, he says, is finding someone to apply the necessary muscle to develop and support a series. Robb envisions something like the original Spec Miata, where multiple sanctioning bodies adopted a single ruleset. 

He muses that the formula could even be expanded into multiple classes based on prep level: mild, medium and radical. The parts and technical support already exist. 

Robb’s part in this plan, he says, is to simply get the idea off the ground. “I’m just into seeing good racing,” he says. 

“This could be the next Spec Miata,” he continues. “The cars are newer, quicker, better-looking.”

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Comments
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captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/30/20 3:26 p.m.

My question is how many frisbees have been sold to date versus how many NA miatae were sold. That will dictate how far down the depreciation curve they slide, which will make them more appealing as a starting point, it'll also dictate how many are available for spare parts and components. 

 

I love the idea of spec frisbee and spec Miata and feel that both would be excellent at driver development. 

Vajingo
Vajingo Reader
11/30/20 3:27 p.m.

But... but no convertible. 
 

If they stopped production right now, frsbrz prices would soar out of control and it would enter STI/EVO status. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
11/30/20 3:50 p.m.

In reply to Vajingo :

I gotta agree with this one. This is the 240Z of today and is going to become legend once it is no longer made. The (relative) rarity will help the cause.

 

I was an early adopter of both the Miata and the FRS so have some idea what the initial market reactions were....I don't see the FRS displacing the Miata because it is a very different owner experience and there were not enough of them made; Everyone knows what a Miata is even if they are just some random hairdreser-non-car-person, the FRS does not get a second look, and few non automotive fans would know what it was.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
11/30/20 3:54 p.m.
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

My question is how many frisbees have been sold to date versus how many NA miatae were sold. That will dictate how far down the depreciation curve they slide, which will make them more appealing as a starting point, it'll also dictate how many are available for spare parts and components. 

 

I love the idea of spec frisbee and spec Miata and feel that both would be excellent at driver development. 

Between the FR-S, GT86, and BRZ, I think it's in the 100k range. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/20 3:59 p.m.
NOHOME said:

In reply to Vajingo :

I gotta agree with this one. This is the 240Z of today and is going to become legend once it is no longer made. The (relative) rarity will help the cause.

 

I was an early adopter of both the Miata and the FRS so have some idea what the initial market reactions were....I don't see the FRS displacing the Miata because it is a very different owner experience and there were not enough of them made; Everyone knows what a Miata is even if they are just some random hairdreser-non-car-person, the FRS does not get a second look, and few non automotive fans would know what it was.

The worst thing Mazda ever did with the Miata was keep making them :) It kept them from reaching iconic status, they were just Miatas.

The article is a little odd - they're saying that the big advantage to the Frisbee is the fact that it's not all shagged out like their old race NAs. Fair point. Trying to keep an old chassis running at peak condition is definitely difficult.  But what about using one of the NC Spec Miatas, how do they compare? Or an ND GCC? Does Subaru/Toyota have the same sort of racer support that Mazda does?

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
11/30/20 4:05 p.m.

I like the body on the FRS better.  I don't like rag tops, really do like the miata retractable hard tops, but the soft top is a killer for me.  i guess I got that all out of my system when I had jeeps.  I don't like the flat 4.  It needs small turbo inline 4.. 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
11/30/20 5:00 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

I like the body on the FRS better.  I don't like rag tops, really do like the miata retractable hard tops, but the soft top is a killer for me.  i guess I got that all out of my system when I had jeeps.  I don't like the flat 4.  It needs small turbo inline 4.. 

Solved the convertible conundrum by building my own Miata station wagon! No more pesky convertible to muss my hair.

I fully agree on the flat 4 thing. I have never warmed up to the Subaru engine. Nothing specific, just prefer a real engine. It should not require four cams and two cylinder heads for a 4 banger.

 

MrChaos
MrChaos GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/30/20 5:20 p.m.
NOHOME said:
Fueled by Caffeine said:

I like the body on the FRS better.  I don't like rag tops, really do like the miata retractable hard tops, but the soft top is a killer for me.  i guess I got that all out of my system when I had jeeps.  I don't like the flat 4.  It needs small turbo inline 4.. 

Solved the convertible conundrum by building my own Miata station wagon! No more pesky convertible to muss my hair.

I fully agree on the flat 4 thing. I have never warmed up to the Subaru engine. Nothing specific, just prefer a real engine. It should not require four cams and two cylinder heads for a 4 banger.

 

same, not a flat 4 fan. I am really close to buying another ND in the next 18 month likely a ND2. i am not a big convertible fan but i have owned an NA and a ND RF.

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/30/20 5:22 p.m.

How much of this really comes down to the 86s not needing to source from a dwindling supply of trackworthy used Miata hardtops?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/20 5:28 p.m.

It's not a dwindling source, you can buy one new. 

Comparing availability of parts for a platform that first showed up 31 years ago to one that's still in production is reasonable. It makes sense that TODAY it's easier to get Frisbee parts. Will that be the case in 10 years? Or will it be easier to get the Mazda parts?

The article mentions the difficulty in sourcing alternators that last. Seems to me that this is a solvable problem - underdrive them (if allowed) or have them rebuilt by a local shop. If they used to last 15 years ago, they can last today if you don't just buy the cheapest crap you can find at an auto parts store.

Mazda is fantastic at supporting racers. Serious question, is Toyota/Subaru? What happens when this is a legacy platform, who will be supplying parts? Engines from Subaru (obviously), but will the mixed part bin be a liability?

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
11/30/20 5:29 p.m.

No it won't be the answer..............................Heretic.

Jesse Ransom (FFS)
Jesse Ransom (FFS) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
11/30/20 5:47 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

It's not a dwindling source, you can buy one new.

That's good to know!

I was under the impression that the new ones weren't as nice and/or not legal for Spec Miata. Which is what I get for taking the gist of discussions on the Internet... Took to heart too many discussions where a reasonably priced Miata was regarded as a steal because the included hardtop was half the value of the car on its own.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/20 6:07 p.m.

Well, they cost actual money. That's probably why people think they're not available :) But you can get a proper OE unit from Mazda for $2600. It's the cheaper "race only" stuff that's not as nice or legal.

Used hardtops have been about the same price for 25 years, funnily enough.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/30/20 6:16 p.m.

No. Because too many people hate the Subaru flat 4. 

350z247
350z247 New Reader
11/30/20 7:39 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

While I don't foresee a passion to restore FA20s in 20 years, the Miata doesn't have an inspiring engine either (current ND excluded); I put them on even ground in the engine category. I think the BRZ is a much better platform for big power engine swaps than the Miata with more weight, wheelbase, and the fixed roof, but that bumps you from a spec series. I would rather start with a coupe than a convertible to build a race car, but that's just one variable.

In reply to NO HOME:

The difference is the 240Z could take on a 911 while the BRZ can't even handle a base Cayman. I don't foresee the BRZ ever reaching the status of the 240Z, especially from a restoration/collectability standpoint.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/30/20 8:15 p.m.
Vajingo said:

But... but no convertible. 

 

You also don't have to find a $1000 hardtop if you want to actually do anything with it, though.

 

MrChaos
MrChaos GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
11/30/20 8:49 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
Vajingo said:

But... but no convertible. 

 

You also don't have to find a $1000 hardtop if you want to actually do anything with it, though.

 

$1750-2k or more at least around here

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
12/1/20 3:01 a.m.

In reply to 350z247 :

No one saw the 240Z reaching 240Z status 40 years later. Only time will answer. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ PowerDork
12/1/20 6:25 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Mazda is fantastic at supporting racers. Serious question, is Toyota/Subaru? What happens when this is a legacy platform, who will be supplying parts? Engines from Subaru (obviously), but will the mixed part bin be a liability?

At least in the US rally world, Subaru has the best contingency program in the form of entry fee discounts.  In terms of older platforms, people are still successfully racing plenty of 20+ year old GC Imprezas so assuming parts supply doesn't dry up any faster the Frisbees should still be totally viable in 10 years.  The part bin isn't particularly mixed, almost everything on them is Subaru.

That's not to say the support is or will be as good as Mazda, but it might be better than lots of other popular brands (looking at you BMW) that people still find a way to race.

MrChaos
MrChaos GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/1/20 9:19 a.m.

In reply to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ :

and the rear dif is the same rear dif toyota has used since the 3rd gen supra. 

maj75 (Forum Supporter)
maj75 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
12/28/20 9:10 p.m.

Had multiple Miata and FRS.  The FRS will never be the Answer.  Mazda built a classic with the NA.  They just made too many of them.  Given the choice I'd take an NA Miata over a FRS.  Cheaper to mod, great transmission, proper suspension and the sound of a well tuned 1.6 revving sure does it for me.

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/28/20 10:47 p.m.
Vajingo said:

But... but no convertible. 
 

If they stopped production right now, frsbrz prices would soar out of control and it would enter STI/EVO status. 

That's funny, I think just the opposite. Miata has never been the answer for me because no fastback (and that targa doesn't count)

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/28/20 10:49 p.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:
Keith Tanner said:

Mazda is fantastic at supporting racers. Serious question, is Toyota/Subaru? What happens when this is a legacy platform, who will be supplying parts? Engines from Subaru (obviously), but will the mixed part bin be a liability?

At least in the US rally world, Subaru has the best contingency program in the form of entry fee discounts.  In terms of older platforms, people are still successfully racing plenty of 20+ year old GC Imprezas so assuming parts supply doesn't dry up any faster the Frisbees should still be totally viable in 10 years.  The part bin isn't particularly mixed, almost everything on them is Subaru.

That's not to say the support is or will be as good as Mazda, but it might be better than lots of other popular brands (looking at you BMW) that people still find a way to race.

lol, support for BMW????? Certainly no support for old BMWs from BMW itself in terms of motorsports. Thankfully, so many older BMWs are driven and raced over in Europe, I would expect the parts pipeline to remain pretty strong for the foreseeable future. 

billstewartx
billstewartx New Reader
8/28/21 6:25 p.m.
NOHOME said:
Fueled by Caffeine said:

I like the body on the FRS better.  I don't like rag tops, really do like the miata retractable hard tops, but the soft top is a killer for me.  i guess I got that all out of my system when I had jeeps.  I don't like the flat 4.  It needs small turbo inline 4.. 

I fully agree on the flat 4 thing. I have never warmed up to the Subaru engine. Nothing specific, just prefer a real engine. It should not require four cams and two cylinder heads for a 4 banger.

 

yea, that flat four is just the bastard son of the Failburu 4 

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
8/29/21 7:06 a.m.
MrChaos said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:
Vajingo said:

But... but no convertible. 

 

You also don't have to find a $1000 hardtop if you want to actually do anything with it, though.

 

$1750-2k or more at least around here

That's the going rate in Ohio from what I've read.  And I thought I read an article last week that said the Spec Frisbee autocross class in SCCA has been doing well.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/29/21 8:07 a.m.

In reply to Jerry :

I don't know about autocross, but I did notice that there were a lot of Frisbies at the last SCCA HPDE I attended. Noticably more than I thought I had seen in the past, although not quite as many as Miatas, but getting closer.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/29/21 8:54 a.m.
BoxheadTim said:

In reply to Jerry :

I don't know about autocross, but I did notice that there were a lot of Frisbies at the last SCCA HPDE I attended. Noticably more than I thought I had seen in the past, although not quite as many as Miatas, but getting closer.

There's a lot of them in autocross, they even have their own spec class in Solo Spec Coupe. 
 

I haven't checked since the event started, but SSC was the biggest class at some point during registration for nationals.

I'd rather own a coupe than a roadster. I have a Miata because it's the best bang for the buck for autocross, and in E Street there's usually lots of competition at our local events. 
 

Eventually the value delta will disappear between good condition frisbees and my 99 Sport. I'll have to consider what to do when that happens. 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/29/21 9:33 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

I like roadsters, and I like Miatas - after all, I owned enough of the dang things.

But for track driving, I do think that I prefer the Frisbee, even though a Miata always feels like an old friend on the track, mainly because at least NAs and NBs don't get along that well with me wearing a helmet and a roll bar.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
8/29/21 11:20 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

Yes, the track driving is one of the reasons I would rather have a coupe. I won't put a roll bar in my Miata for various reasons, so no track driving. Some places will let you run on the track with just a hard top, but I wouldn't consider it.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
8/29/21 11:27 a.m.

TTNats had a healthy frisbee showing in the SSC class. 

Not that anyone asked me, but I think at this point you can K swap a frisbee.

https://kpower.industries/blogs/news/kpower-ft86-swap-faqs

lnlds
lnlds Reader
8/29/21 2:31 p.m.

I think it'd be more likely to displace spec3 spec E30 or other bmw based classes. The new gr86 seems pretty similar to an E36 M3 while the other ones seem close to an E36. 

For a lot of people having double wishbones up front is a big deal.

350z247
350z247 Reader
8/30/21 9:38 a.m.

In reply to lnlds :

I think switching from a very strong BMW brand loyalty to a Toyota is going to be a harder sell than transitioning from Mazda, especially giving up the sound of a straight six for a flat four.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
8/30/21 11:50 a.m.

I have always wondered why the Toyabaru twins were never offered in a convertible form even in small numbers. If it was done tastefully, they would have been great Miata competition

eurotechms
eurotechms New Reader
8/30/21 1:03 p.m.

The BRZ is a great platform but will never be in the same world as the Z car. For reasons already stated and because current enthusiasts feel its under powered  not turbo etc etc. The Z was loved off the bat and had performance at a cheap price.

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
8/30/21 2:27 p.m.

This will have me a lot more interested once they get the bugs worked out.

https://kpower.industries/blogs/news/the-kpower-86-swap-is-here?mc_cid=eef8413758&mc_eid=9d528127e4

 

350z247
350z247 Reader
8/31/21 10:24 a.m.

In reply to ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) :

Agreed, pretty much every modern 4 cylinder car is made better by a K-swap. I can't wait for the swap kits for the R53 to get ironed out.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/31/21 10:33 a.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) :

Agreed, pretty much every modern 4 cylinder car is made better by a K-swap. I can't wait for the swap kits for the R53 to get ironed out.

Unfortunately, look at how much goes into making them RWD (and the cost), and look at how many still blow up on track. The complete swap kit for the 86 is almost $10k without the engine. That's a pretty hefty sum and still need to source an engine. And if you want to keep your AC/Heat, the price is $10.5k for the kit.

A used Twin + Kswap, you could just buy a C5 ZO6 and be done with it.

 

For probably a touch more money, you can buy a built FA20 longblock, turbo it, CD009 swap the transmission and have way more reliable power. 

https://www.mazworx.com/mazworx-favq-transmission-adapter-kit-frs/brz.aspx
https://www.maperformance.com/products/map-fa20-built-shortblock-engine-2012-2017-brz-frs-ft-86-fa20-ft86-s2-king-man-man

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/31/21 10:36 a.m.
350z247
350z247 Reader
8/31/21 1:18 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

If I were going to do an engine swap on one (which obviously wouldn't work for the proposed class), I'd buy one with an already dead motor for half the price. The FA20 is an absolute garbage pile of an engine even before you try to add FI; so, I would never put money it one. Engine swaps aren't cheap, but it would certainly be a better car.

Then again, I would never buy a twin because as you mentioned, I can buy all sorts of better options for 15-25K from a 370Z to an E90 M3.

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
8/31/21 1:20 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

OOf.  (Turbo BRZ much fun, many hoons.)

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/31/21 1:35 p.m.
350z247 said:

In reply to z31maniac :

If I were going to do an engine swap on one (which obviously wouldn't work for the proposed class), I'd buy one with an already dead motor for half the price. The FA20 is an absolute garbage pile of an engine even before you try to add FI; so, I would never put money it one. Engine swaps aren't cheap, but it would certainly be a better car.

Then again, I would never buy a twin because as you mentioned, I can buy all sorts of better options for 15-25K from a 370Z to an E90 M3.

Still $12k+ to swap in another used 4cyl with marginally more power, it makes sense in a 125hp Miata with a swap kit that costs half as much. Not a 2L making 200hp. 

370Z doesn't interest me, I traded in my 350Z after less than 3 months because it was so underwhelming. I talked to my Euro mechanic to long about an E90 M3 and the myriad of problems they have to buy one. Broken valve springs and throttle body motors, rod bearings, etc. Then the fact it's 3700 lbs. 

But this is GRM where we ignore realities like maintenance costs and compare prices on 10-year old used cars to new ones. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/31/21 1:36 p.m.
Jerry said:

In reply to z31maniac :

OOf.  (Turbo BRZ much fun, many hoons.)

I wanted to turbo or S/C with the Harrop Kit my '15 BRZ. But I didn't want to spend that kind of money. 

I had no problem with tail out antics with just a cat-back, E85 tune, running 255/35/18 Star Specs. wink

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
8/31/21 1:44 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

I think you're underestimating the power and RPM advantage in even the most mild of N/A builds for K-swaps. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/31/21 2:19 p.m.
accordionfolder said:

In reply to z31maniac :

I think you're underestimating the power and RPM advantage in even the most mild of N/A builds for K-swaps. 

And now we've increased the cost of swap by rebuilding it with cams, etc. I've seen what they are capable of and I've seen how many fresh rebuilds still blow up on the track. From what I've read the Frankenstein K24 block/K20 head makes around 230whp stock. $15k + for 25 more whp doesn't seem like a good return on investment to me.It makes since in an E30 or a Miata that have much lower power to start with and much cheaper swap kits, approx $5k vs $10k+

$15k is LS1/T56 swap territory in a BRZ. Or built longblock, turbo, CD009 making 400whp+.

If that's how people want to spend their money, it's no skin off my back.

It's just my opinion for that kind of money, there are better options. So I've said my peace, I'll leave it alone.

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
8/31/21 2:22 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

The swap makes a ton of sense in most of the competitive classes with displacement/cylinder number restrictions (GLTC and TrackRat, Max4, etc) and it makes even more sense when you remember just how lame the boxer in it is (I've never understood the love for a motor that blows up so frequently)

K-series motors are cheap, cheap. And you don't have to do anything crazy or internal to get those power figures (and in most classes you can't). There's a reason everyone swaps them in. 

Though I will agree, if you're just doing a DD it wouldn't make a ton of sense. LS or LFX would be neat for that though.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/31/21 3:32 p.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

You make a good point about a specific race class. But if it's an occasional HPDE, mostly daily, like for a lot of us...that was the angle I was coming from it not making a lot of sense on a money to HP scale. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
8/31/21 3:40 p.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

Yeah, I wonder if anyone will eventually do an LFX, that'd make an interesting daily for relatively cheap if you got a blown motor twin and a copart crashed camaro! ~300whp and great torque with no FI complications would be a lot of fun. I've been passively considering doing the same in an RX-8 for a while now. I think it'd be a great, reliable daily.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
8/31/21 4:40 p.m.

Experienced the 240Z, Miata and now the FRS as new cars when they came out. Called them all out as future classics and expect the FRS to be the same. The classics become classics for what THEY are, not necessarily for how they might compare to  other perceived cars that will probably not become classics. Such are the optics of rose tinted glasses.

 

As far as swapping a different engine into the FRS, you might as well play to the strenghts of the chassis and go with the Ford Coyote engine. LSx if you like plain vanilla.

 

madmrak351
madmrak351 New Reader
1/30/22 8:59 p.m.

I have owned a NA miata and test driven several twins. I have never driven a later series Miata so the 86 type cars feel like I would expect with 2 decades between them. I personally am much more comfortable with the steel roof. The twin chassis felt much better to me. I do feel like it could use/ handle more power. If the used car bubble ever breaks I could definitely see my buying a twin. I could get by with the boxer engine, however if I found one with a blown motor I would definitely look at K swapping it. The place I see this car at is somewhat similar to where the 240sx used to be: an excellent chassis with a motor that is holding it back. That being said I don’t think they will drop to low on the price scale as a good light RWD car will always be in demand.

Definitely gone now
Definitely gone now SuperDork
1/30/22 9:39 p.m.

Nope. The frisbee will never have the sex appeal of a convertible. 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/30/22 10:29 p.m.

Convertibles are mainly popular because TV shows in the 60s used convertibles as the characters' cars to make it easier to see them on screen, people wanted to be like the TV stars, and the meme stuck.

There, I said it, I feel better.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
1/31/22 2:53 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Convertibles are mainly popular because TV shows in the 60s used convertibles as the characters' cars to make it easier to see them on screen, people wanted to be like the TV stars, and the meme stuck.

There, I said it, I feel better.

This is literally one of the weirdest "hot takes" I've ever read. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/1/22 10:57 a.m.

In reply to z31maniac :

That is an odd take.

Anyway, a white 86 coupe passed by while walking the dog yesterday. I still had to watch it go by. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
2/1/22 11:37 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to z31maniac :

That is an odd take.

Anyway, a white 86 coupe passed by while walking the dog yesterday. I still had to watch it go by. 

7 years in April and I still look at mine every time I walk by.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/1/22 11:54 a.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Convertibles are mainly popular because TV shows in the 60s used convertibles as the characters' cars to make it easier to see them on screen, people wanted to be like the TV stars, and the meme stuck.

There, I said it, I feel better.

Nothing far-fetched about it.  This is unquestionably part of the appeal of the convertible.  I mean, even JFK's Presidential Limousine started life as a 1961 Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible.  So, it's easy to understand the popularity.  Oh, wait....

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/1/22 12:16 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

This one was lowered the right amount and sounded good, too. Dog and I were waiting for the rocket launch, though, and for whatever reason I didn't take a photo of the car. 

350z247
350z247 Reader
2/1/22 10:14 p.m.

In reply to Definitely gone now :

Yes, Miata and sex appeal. Two things I have never once associated...

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/1/22 10:20 p.m.
z31maniac said:
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

Convertibles are mainly popular because TV shows in the 60s used convertibles as the characters' cars to make it easier to see them on screen, people wanted to be like the TV stars, and the meme stuck.

There, I said it, I feel better.

This is literally one of the weirdest "hot takes" I've ever read. 

It's defensible, though. There's logic behind it. I've also read that one of the reasons blondes became viewed as sexier than brunettes is because of how their hair showed up on earlier movie screens. There's really no functional reason why a convertible is superior, they're worse for sports cars ever since we discovered aerodynamics. But they do engage you more with what's going on.

Every one of my own Miatas has a hard top and two of them don't even have soft tops under there...

And Miatas can have sex appeal. Maybe not to everyone but an RF is arguably sexier than a lot of vehicles.

parker
parker Reader
2/2/22 10:47 a.m.

The RF is a damn fine looking automobile.  Unlike the overstyled mess of the Civic Type R and Supra.  Actually, Mazda's whole lineup is handsome.

 

Jerry
Jerry PowerDork
2/2/22 9:09 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to z31maniac :

That is an odd take.

Anyway, a white 86 coupe passed by while walking the dog yesterday. I still had to watch it go by. 

I miss warm weather. Every morning at the first stop sign on my street about 4-5 young boys wait for the school bus, and every time I drive the BRZ they run over to the corner and start waving and pumping their fists waiting for a burn out.

I usually rev it up a little and chirp the tires for a few feet. I remember being those kids.

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
2/3/22 9:17 a.m.

I wonder if enough were built to someday capture the throne.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/3/22 10:22 a.m.

In reply to Tim Suddard :

Didn't they build something like over a million Miatas so far? I don't think they built that many 1st gen 86s or anywhere close to that number. Fortunately they did build enough of them to support a pretty thriving aftermarket.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/3/22 10:28 a.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

They crossed a million a couple of years ago. Number 500,000 was a 1999 model, so nearly half of all Miatas built are NAs.

The aftermarket for BRZs is way out of scale for the production numbers. That thing hit a rich demographic seam for modification. It'll be interesting to see if it holds up over time as the cars transition from "modify for performance" to "repair and restore". 

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/3/22 10:42 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Maybe I'm a little paranoid from seeing some other cars' aftermarket slowly disappear, but I suspect the 86 aftermarket - at least for parts that only fit the first series - probably isn't that sustainable. Part of it seems to be that the aftermarket is ripe with knock-off parts, and part of it is that a lot of the discussion about modifications I've seen lately were definitely focused on price.

Like the "I want stupidly loud and low" leading to the cheapest straight pipe and maxpeedingrod competitor's coilovers that one could find on fleabay.

Either that or I need to hang out with a better class of 86 owners .

Regarding the restore vs modify - while I like mine (I just resent the money I'm currently dumping into it to get it working again), I don't think they're that great stock. They really can be improved with proper modifications, and my impression is that this was the intent - build them more down to a price, and if someone wants fully adjustable rear suspension and Öhlins coilovers, the aftermarket will sort it out.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/3/22 12:41 p.m.

All cars have to traverse the valley of depreciation before ascending into the sunny hillsides of value. The cheap coilover phase is an unfortunate one but impossible to avoid with a car of this type. Once a large number are destroyed by drifter stancebros who willfully damage things for lols, the remainder will be worth spending money on and the aftermarket will respond.  
 

Hopefully. Not all cars survive the valley. Some just get used up and don't have enough innate value to be preserved. My first gen CRX is a bit like that, only a very few examples are worth anything and the aftermarket is almost nonexistent. That's because the second gen basically defined an era and the first gen went from "cheap but with potential" to just "cheap". 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/3/22 12:50 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

This is why I was stressing to buy a FoRS as soon as I could find clean stock examples in the $25k range, as I wanted to buy before they got wrecked through modification or bad driving.

 

Fortunately their values skyrocketed right about the time I was seeing 2016s for $27k-ish, so I am safe.  For now.  As long as RS3 prices don't crater.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/3/22 12:51 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Hopefully. Not all cars survive the valley. Some just get used up and don't have enough innate value to be preserved. My first gen CRX is a bit like that, only a very few examples are worth anything and the aftermarket is almost nonexistent. That's because the second gen basically defined an era and the first gen went from "cheap but with potential" to just "cheap". 

Yeah, there's a delicate balance between availability, price, and average owner disposable income level needed to maintain a healthy aftermarket of parts.  FDs and E46 M3s had similar prices when new and fall into a similar range of used prices now, but the vastly smaller number of FDs (both production and especially survivability) means there are 10-20x as many options for any given part on the BMW.

 

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/3/22 12:55 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

It also helps that there were "base" models of E46 that the M3 might share some parts with.  The Turbo II also had the nonturbo FC that shared a lot of parts.  The FD had... other FDs.

I've long opined that Mazda should have made a nonturbo FD.  I had been derided for it because a lot of FD people liked the exclusivity more than they liked the actual car.  I was looking forward, to a time when you could no longer just buy new parts for them and used was your only option.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/3/22 3:42 p.m.
BoxheadTim said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Maybe I'm a little paranoid from seeing some other cars' aftermarket slowly disappear, but I suspect the 86 aftermarket - at least for parts that only fit the first series - probably isn't that sustainable. Part of it seems to be that the aftermarket is ripe with knock-off parts, and part of it is that a lot of the discussion about modifications I've seen lately were definitely focused on price.

Like the "I want stupidly loud and low" leading to the cheapest straight pipe and maxpeedingrod competitor's coilovers that one could find on fleabay.

Either that or I need to hang out with a better class of 86 owners .

Regarding the restore vs modify - while I like mine (I just resent the money I'm currently dumping into it to get it working again), I don't think they're that great stock. They really can be improved with proper modifications, and my impression is that this was the intent - build them more down to a price, and if someone wants fully adjustable rear suspension and Öhlins coilovers, the aftermarket will sort it out.

Outside of cosmetics, most of the previous BBKs and suspension setups fit, Headers and exhaust fit (if you do a catback not a header back).

Certain BBKs will not fit the Gen 2 BRZ because the way the aluminum knuckle is cast for strength, but AP Racing is already working on a new bracket. And one of them has a different rear sway bar setup on the 2nd gen, but a lot of the other suspension/performance stuff all bolts over. 

In December, there were already guys with full exhausts, coilovers, BBKs, and larger/wider wheels and tires. 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/3/22 4:40 p.m.
Pete. (l33t FS) said:

It also helps that there were "base" models of E46 that the M3 might share some parts with.

There are surprisingly few performance-related parts that are common between the M3 and the "normal" 3 series, at least in the E46 generation.  Obviously the drivetrain is completely different, but so are things like suspension uprights, hubs, control arms, etc.  Even the mounting points for a lot of that stuff is different, so things like big brake kits come in M3 and non-M3 versions, even if they're using the same aftermarket rotors and calipers.

 

Furious_E (Forum Supporter)
Furious_E (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/3/22 4:40 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I have a feeling the attrition rate is going to be high on these as time moves on. They were cheap enough new that many ended up with crappy first/second owners, lots of poorly modded and R-title examples out there already. As an example, literally the week after I bought my FRS we had a 20ish year old kid start at work with a twin of my Twin, bought brand new and festooned with the requisite eBay coilovers, straight piped exhaust, coffee table sized wing, ect. I witnessed multiple neutral drops out of the parking lot (yes, it was an autotragic frown) and other similar behavior. As they continue to slide down the depreciation curve, I don't see that trend improving, especially once they hit the point of being financially viable for the Dorifto crowd. 

On the positive side, as Z31 mentions a lot seems to carry over to the gen 2 cars as far as common aftermarket parts are concerned, which should help sustain the size of the market. I also think just by virtue of being an affordable RWD performance platform they'll sustain the interest of the enthusiast market. I just don't think they have the raw numbers to survive and thrive quite like the Miata has. Total production looks to be just over 120k so far, less than half the Nissan 240sx for comparison and how many of those do you see in salvageable condition these days?

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
2/3/22 6:28 p.m.

In reply to Furious_E (Forum Supporter) :

You've got a point, though I'm still amazed at how often clean unmodified S13s come out of the woodwork and show up on Instagram. Hopefully the 86/BRZ appeals to people who were maybe cross shopping a Cayman but would like to keep some money in their pockets, and they'll keep the cars in good condition. The other day I looked for a Hakone edition 86 and there were only 2 for sale within 1500 miles, which is a shame because the paint color is lovely.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/3/22 6:54 p.m.

In reply to dannyp84 :

Based on my experience on the Facebook groups and forums the last 7+ years, it's almost all as mentioned. Kids who are too lazy to search or learn, using their new credit cards to buy eBay/rep parts and knock off body kits to try and like on Instagram.

I can't tell you how many videos I've seen of these "car gatherings" where there are literally hundreds of people standing around watching to see if a car that's slammed to the ground can make it over a speed bump or into a parking lot. 

A lot of it is treated more like fashion now. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/3/22 6:58 p.m.
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/3/22 8:00 p.m.
dannyp84 said:

In reply to Furious_E (Forum Supporter) :

You've got a point, though I'm still amazed at how often clean unmodified S13s come out of the woodwork and show up on Instagram. Hopefully the 86/BRZ appeals to people who were maybe cross shopping a Cayman but would like to keep some money in their pockets, and they'll keep the cars in good condition. The other day I looked for a Hakone edition 86 and there were only 2 for sale within 1500 miles, which is a shame because the paint color is lovely.

Its funny I was actually cross shopping caymans but pulled the trigger in December on a new BRZ.  I figure it should be similar performance wise to an s2000, e36 m3 or a cayman in a package that isn't 10 to 20 years old.

Not to mention it should be extremely competitive in DS autocross out of the box 

dannyp84
dannyp84 Reader
2/3/22 8:43 p.m.

In reply to pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) :

This would be my argument in support of the 86, the driving experience is probably very similar to cars everyone loved from 20 or more years ago, and the curb weight is under 3k lbs, but all the bushings and everything are new and everything feels tight and fresh. It probably also has better chassis rigidity than most cars from decades ago. I've definitely considered parting with my Sportcross for an 86.

Furious_E (Forum Supporter)
Furious_E (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/3/22 8:57 p.m.
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) said:
dannyp84 said:

In reply to Furious_E (Forum Supporter) :

You've got a point, though I'm still amazed at how often clean unmodified S13s come out of the woodwork and show up on Instagram. Hopefully the 86/BRZ appeals to people who were maybe cross shopping a Cayman but would like to keep some money in their pockets, and they'll keep the cars in good condition. The other day I looked for a Hakone edition 86 and there were only 2 for sale within 1500 miles, which is a shame because the paint color is lovely.

Its funny I was actually cross shopping caymans but pulled the trigger in December on a new BRZ.  I figure it should be similar performance wise to an s2000, e36 m3 or a cayman in a package that isn't 10 to 20 years old.

Not to mention it should be extremely competitive in DS autocross out of the box 

Ha, I guess I fit that description as well. Would have loved a Cayman instead, but felt it would have been just a bit too expensive and ostentatious at the time. Someday though...

And yes, I think the new ones will be absolutely killer in DS this year. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
2/3/22 10:41 p.m.

And the worry about them being hammered into the ground is why I bought new. The model was 3 years old when I did and even then, I knew what type of people these cars attract. I didn't want to undo a hard park stance-bro's stages. Its my forever car, so I care nothing for depreciation. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/4/22 9:30 a.m.

I think it's mostly I really dislike the "stance" culture and these guys purposefully making their cars less safe to drive, while also looking stupid.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
2/4/22 9:05 p.m.

Less safe and looking stupid has been around a long, long time.

I'm disappointed that even though these cars get wadded up at an alarming rate, slavaged parts still seem to command a premium (at least in Chicagoland). Maybe they're desperate to pay off the bank note on a ball that used to be an 86.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/5/22 10:14 a.m.

I really like the twins. Probably the biggest issue stopping me considering one is they mistakenly shipped them all with steel instead of fabric overhead, but that does come with the advantage of a vestigial rear seat for the doggos that isn't available on the Miata.  
 

For those who are saying that the 'crappy' engine will prevent it be a classic, may I present the RX7 as exhibit A.  Now I know I'll upset a significant number of grease encrusted basement dwellers, but at the end of the day the rotary is basically a E36 M3 engine.  Sure, sure the examples of 1,000,000 mile never opened up versions making double the stock power and even getting double digit fuel mileage will start coming out of the woodwork.  But the truth is that for the vast majority of people, enthusiasts included, they were not good, reliable engines by any measure. This coming from a past happy rotary owner.  I think the relative quirkiness of the boxer will addd to its long term appeal.

 

And for those complaining about lack of power and needing to swap to a different, more powerful engine.  Yawn.  A lot of us prefer small, light, tossable, momentum machines over extra weight and power.  This coming from a 1.6l NA Miata, two V6 S550 Mustangs and a 2.5L Boxster owner.  It's fun to be able to ring out a car through the rev range in 2nd and 3rd without being a total asshat and jailbait.  On the racing side the relatively modest power makes consumables magnitudes cheaper.    

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/5/22 12:00 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

The power thing is an interesting discussion - of course every car needs more power, but this discussion seems to be even more prevalent in places where everybody looks at quarter mile times. After all, they sell the ND Miata with a 1.5L in Europe and some of the motoring rags over there actually declared it better compared to the 2L.

With the gen 1 Frisbie, the issue to me is more the Valley of Torques than outright power, but then I don't take issue with winding out engines based on past and current rotary ownership. Yes, more would be nice but like a Miata, these things are about the overall balance.

I would suspect however that the long term prospects of these cars might be hampered somewhat by their engine's propensity to self destruct. Objectively, even the non-turbo FA20 isn't that great an engine and I'm still trying to figure out if people have actually managed to make them properly reliable. I suspect at some point, someone will have figure out most of the necessarily reliability mods. Are people going to be willing to pay for them? That's going to be another question.

So I guess the proper answer would be to 13B swap them.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/5/22 12:08 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim :

1st gen Frisbees certainly had a torque dip problem, but I don't know about the Internet insistence about Scoobie Boxers being unreliable.  I know many people with Scoobies.  Imprezas, Foresters, WRX's, STi's from new to 20 years old.  Owned by enthusiasts, school teachers, moms, college kids, dad's etc.  The one common factor?  The engines have all lasted throughout their ownership and beyond 100k miles with nothing but oil and gas.  But then all my VW and Audi owning friends also have zero issues.

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/5/22 12:21 p.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

Well, the original engine in my car pretty much self destructed in a spectacular fashion with a hole in the block and most of a piston in the oil pan. There is a ready market  for second hand engines on these - pretty much every time someone does a part out, the engine is the first part that sells.

I know a few people involved with Subarus in a motorsport - mostly time attack - environment, and they mostly seem to agree with the Internet that the FA20s have some issues that older Subaru boxer engines don't necessarily have. Part of the issue is that nobody seems to agree on why they blow up, although a lot of knowledgeable people do point at the oiling system. There are certainly upgrades available that are supposed to help, but of course the other question is how many people are willing to pay extra for that, at least as long as there is a supply of decently cheap engines.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/5/22 3:20 p.m.

How are they doing in spec frisbee autocross?  Are they popping there?  If not I'm good as that's already a 99.9th percentile.  
 

if they regularly pop in track use, they are already popular enough that a fix will be found.  

parker
parker Reader
2/5/22 7:07 p.m.

105,000 trouble free miles on my 2015 FR-S.  Of course the engine is stock and I've only tracked it a couple of times. 

What gets me is the number of people who take an engine with 12.5:1 compression ratio, add forced induction, and are surprised that it blows up.  Stock they make just over 100hp per liter.  That used to be the realm of strictly race engines, except for the S2000.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/6/22 9:21 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

How are they doing in spec frisbee autocross?  Are they popping there?  If not I'm good as that's already a 99.9th percentile.  
 

if they regularly pop in track use, they are already popular enough that a fix will be found.  

Even NA, they pop. They almost always wipe the #3 or #4 rod bearing. This has been known for years at this point. If you really want a reliable FA motor for track use, you need a built block from IAG (at a minimum) and I wouldn't track one regularly unless I also spent the money for a sump setup. 

That said, I still really like Subarus, and for some reason we don't see all the hullaboloo around LS7s and the fact that you HAVE to spend a few thousand to fix the heads or the motor eats itself. 

I really can't think of a car outside of a Miata that doesn't have problems that need fixed before wringing it's neck around the track. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/6/22 12:08 p.m.

There was one of the Mustangs a couple of years ago that was fully hardened - Emilio at 949Racing has one and he doesn't noodle around. 

For all those that have no acquaintances with Subaru engine failures, it's because I know them all. And not a single one was modified or tracked, all were well maintained. They're just not the robust little things they were 35 years ago when they got their reputation. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
2/6/22 12:33 p.m.
z31maniac said:
​​​​i really can't think of a car outside of a Miata that doesn't have problems that need fixed before wringing it's neck around the track. 

Off the top of my head Civics, Miata, s2k, gti of all flavor, MS3, 350z, 370z, all the B-spec cars (Fit, Mazda2, Mini, etc) all sorts of old cars, etc don't take anything special that I'm aware of in the "don't have catastrophic engine failure" department. I have personal experience with half that list on track and beaten within an inch of their collective lives. 

The K-swap is going to make for a mean little car.

https://kpower.industries/blogs/news/kpower-ft86-swap-faqs

pimpm3 (Forum Supporter)
pimpm3 (Forum Supporter) UberDork
2/6/22 6:56 p.m.

For a little perspective the spec miata track record at roebling road raceway is a 1:21.9.

A guy on the gr86 forum ran a 1:21.71 with a bone stock 2022 GR86 (down to the brake pads and fluid) yesterday at a track day. He was on a set of 225 AO52's but it was his 1st track day in the car. 

Pretty impressive for a 1st outing with a new car.

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/1/22 9:27 a.m.
BoxheadTim said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Maybe I'm a little paranoid from seeing some other cars' aftermarket slowly disappear, but I suspect the 86 aftermarket - at least for parts that only fit the first series - probably isn't that sustainable. Part of it seems to be that the aftermarket is ripe with knock-off parts, and part of it is that a lot of the discussion about modifications I've seen lately were definitely focused on price.

Like the "I want stupidly loud and low" leading to the cheapest straight pipe and maxpeedingrod competitor's coilovers that one could find on fleabay.

Either that or I need to hang out with a better class of 86 owners .

Regarding the restore vs modify - while I like mine (I just resent the money I'm currently dumping into it to get it working again), I don't think they're that great stock. They really can be improved with proper modifications, and my impression is that this was the intent - build them more down to a price, and if someone wants fully adjustable rear suspension and Öhlins coilovers, the aftermarket will sort it out.

Sometimes I question my sanity - occasionally it answers back

We must be looking at different mods, I'm seeing absolutely no shortage of very premium mods available for the Toyobaru, and aftermarket parts prices for these in general seem to be affected by a hint of "rich guy tax" compared to what I'm used to for low-end Japanese sporty cars.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
4/1/22 9:30 a.m.
GameboyRMH said:
BoxheadTim said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Maybe I'm a little paranoid from seeing some other cars' aftermarket slowly disappear, but I suspect the 86 aftermarket - at least for parts that only fit the first series - probably isn't that sustainable. Part of it seems to be that the aftermarket is ripe with knock-off parts, and part of it is that a lot of the discussion about modifications I've seen lately were definitely focused on price.

Like the "I want stupidly loud and low" leading to the cheapest straight pipe and maxpeedingrod competitor's coilovers that one could find on fleabay.

Either that or I need to hang out with a better class of 86 owners .

Regarding the restore vs modify - while I like mine (I just resent the money I'm currently dumping into it to get it working again), I don't think they're that great stock. They really can be improved with proper modifications, and my impression is that this was the intent - build them more down to a price, and if someone wants fully adjustable rear suspension and Öhlins coilovers, the aftermarket will sort it out.

Sometimes I question my sanity - occasionally it answers back

We must be looking at different mods, I'm seeing absolutely no shortage of very premium mods available for the Toyobaru, and aftermarket parts prices for these in general seem to be affected by a hint of "rich guy tax" compared to what I'm used to for low-end Japanese sporty cars.

Not to mention there has already been shown A LOT of Gen 1 mods that are compatible with the Gen 2. 

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