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Toyota GT 86 strips for the purists

Unless you're scraping the very bottom of the price ladder, long gone are the days when you could buy a new car with virtually no comfort features and sans any colour coding on the outside.

Unless you live in Japan.

Toyota GT 86 RC has been stripped down to the bone, but it is cheaper and weighs 40kg less. A perfect base for your race car, then.

Here you'll find a few purists (perhaps most of them actual racing drivers) who like to buy their cars without any creature comforts or stylistic features.

LIGHTER, CHEAPER

And now Toyota and Subaru are catering for them with stripped-down versions of their GT 86 and BRZ sports coupé twins.

Let's start with the good stuff - the cars are 40kg lighter and cost a bit less. In Japan, the entry-level GT 86 RC sells for the equivalent of R196 750, versus the R238 200 that Toyota charges for the next-cheapest model, and you'll find similar savings on the Subaru RA version too.

Sure, it's easy to see the appeal of being able to buy a sports car without having to move back in with your parents, but first consider what's actually been done to these cars.

While we can handle those unpainted door handles and mirrors, those ugly unpainted bumpers (on the Toyota) and truck-like 16-inch steel wheels are rather hard to stomach.

Unless this car is the base from which you want to build your next racing car and you don't want to pay for any unnecessary features - in which case you'll also appreciate what they've stripped from the cabin.

Gone is the air conditioning and radio, the steering wheel loses its leather covering and Toyota's strippers have even gone as far as removing the central panel on the passenger side, leaving a gaping hole in the dashboard.

MOTOR UNSCATHED

Peek under the bonnet and you'll also report the plastic engine cover as missing, but thankfully that 147kW 2-litre boxer motor (the most important bit of all) remains unscathed.

Engineers did, however, replace the torque-sensitive torsen rear diff with a conventional mechanical diff and the rear brake discs are no longer ventilated.

Even though these twins make sense for those going racing, it's unlikely that the companies will offer the RC and RA for sale on international markets.

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