Home » Someone Tell Netflix To Adapt This American Version Of Initial D With A Fox Body Mustang

Someone Tell Netflix To Adapt This American Version Of Initial D With A Fox Body Mustang

Initial D Ts3
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Initial D has done a lot for drift culture. It popularized the Japanese culture of touge racing and told stories about teenage racers in legendary JDM cars. But what would that look like if you translated the whole concept to American shores?

Thanks to Conor Lawlis and his YouTube channel, Project33, we have our answer. He put together a short video that epitomizes the Initial D vibe but with an American flair instead.

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To get this concept to work in the U.S. you have to abandon the stars of Initial D. Forget about cars like the Toyota Corolla AE86, the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo, or the Nissan Skyline GT-R. There’s only one American car that could take the place of Takumi Fujiwara’s legendary Panda. That’s right—it’s a Fox body Ford Mustang.

As the camera pans past an overfilled trash can, we hear the distant call of a revving V8 as the Eurobeat remix of “Free Bird” roars into our ears. With the moon shining down on Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, the gorgeous 5.0 Mustang roars past, headlights blazing in the night. It rocks a brutal drift through an S-bend, rear suspension dipping in the bend. We see the cupholder bravely hanging on to a Mcdonald’s soda while the burger and nugget sauce go flying. The hero car, emblazoned with the name “Fuji Farms,” roars off into the sunrise.

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Lawlis is presently a Visualization Media Specialist with Stellantis. Previously, he worked as a 3D media artist with Turn10 Studios—the creators of the Forza franchise. Basically, he’s really good at this stuff, and does it for a day job.

It may just be 90 seconds or so of video, though, but it has us grasping at tantalizing possibilities. What if some streaming service actually picked up an American version of Initial D? Surely, somebody’s got a few million bucks to throw at such a project, right?

Initial D But It's In America Unreal Engine 5.3 0 24 Screenshot

Initial D But It's In America Unreal Engine 5.3 0 31 Screenshot

Initial D But It's In America Unreal Engine 5.3 0 44 Screenshot
I want it! I WANT IT!

It’s funny just how fitting the Fox body Mustang is for the hero role. It’s got a hatchback design built around simple straight lines, and it wears the two-tone black-and-white “Panda” colors well. Plus, just like the AE86, it’s a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive car with a live axle at the back. The Fox body may not be known worldwide as a drift hero, but it’s been a popular choice for a lot of grassroots drifters in the States.

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I almost wouldn’t even care if they butchered the storylines when porting them to America. Sure, nobody’s going to believe that a milk company is delivering milk in the back of a souped-up Fox body. Maybe it could be that, like… American Takumi drifts on the way to market, churning the milk into butter along the way, and that’s how he learned to drift?

Or,  you know, he’s like… transporting, the uh… breeding samples from bulls on ice to distant dairy farms in the region, and they gotta get there FAST. Those lady cows aren’t going to impregnate themselves! Icky, sure, but that’s killer, right?! You know you need me in this writer’s room.

Viperman

Okay, so we’ve got our American Takumi insert. What about the rest of the gang? Well, American Takumi needs a best friend, American Itsuki. Let’s give him a goofy pal whose wealthy father owns a wheat farm. If it’s in the ’90s, he has a brand-new Viper. If it’s set in the modern day, it’s a Hellcat. Either way, he can’t drive for crap and he crashes it in the first season and ends up in a Malibu.

Keisuke

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Then, a rival, the stand-in for Keisuke. Make them a young upstart agronomist who works with local farmers to improve corn yields. They use their speed on backroad passes to get between farms in record time. They’re always reinvesting in their IROC-Z and they give Takumi a run for their money out on the back roads.

Oh, and American Takumi’s father, with whom he has a complicated American relationship. I’m talking about American Bunta, of course. He’d drive a heavily-tuned C5 Corvette, and he’d have the driving skills to put it to good use.

You could do a whole episode about this car coming to town.

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You can then have a revolving cast of challengers and fellow street racers who drive hot American metal. Firebirds, nitrous-sucking Buick Grand Nationals, overboosted Dodge Neons… there’s a ton of gold to mine here. Not everything has to be domestic, either, just stuff that fits the U.S. market and overarching themes.

The trick would be to focus the show on a certain era and aesthetic, and not fall into the obvious trap of making it about golden era American muscle. It would come across hackneyed and try-hard if the show tried to appeal to that market by having ancient ’67 Mustangs racing against old Camaros. Any parochial domestic-versus-import stuff should be avoided, too, it’s a tired and lazy trope. I’d say, keep it inspired by the source material, and stick to U.S. market cars from the 1980s onwards. You can stir in NSXs, RX-7s, and Supras to taste, because they all made it over the border.

Seriously. We’ve only got a few years left before the neon-soaked neo-’80s aesthetic is old hat and the opportunity has passed. Drop your own opinions below. Voice actors, car casting, storylines—what would make an American Initial D a hit worth watching?

Image credits: Project33 via YouTube Screenshot, Dodge, Chevrolet via Favcars.com

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Delorean859
Delorean859
17 days ago

Going to leave the same list as I left on the video, but this time I can add explanations.

Itsuki: 2nd gen Mercury Capri with NA I4 – Itsuki has two main things against him in the show. He’s a broke high-school student and is a car enthusiast that doesn’t quite know enough. Therefore I can see him wanting to buy a Foxbody and falling prey to a buy-here-pay-here special. He can then spend the series upgrading the Capri into an SVO of sorts.

Wataru: Ford Mustang SVO – The turbo 86 used by Wataru can perfectly be replaced by the SVO.

Ryosuke: C4 Corvette ZR-1 – The Takahashi brothers are guys that would likely go with the Corvette due to it being one of the more renowned sports cars. The ZR1 was chosen by virtue of being an oddball of the C4 generation, having a DOHC V8 compared to the traditional pushrod V8.

Keisuke: C5 Corvette (non Z06) – Given the era that Initial D was released, the C5 Corvette would be a very new car to go with. Unfortunately since it was in the late ’90s, the C5 Z06 wasn’t released yet so the C5 would be the best option to go with.

Nakazato: Buick GNX – In the show, Nakazatos intro is meant to show the GTR as something sinister and unusual. Given this, the GNX (coincidentally also sharing a three-letter name starting with G) was chosen as it came in black and also was a Turbo V6 rather than a V8.

Todo School: 1st-gen Dodge Neon ACR – The Honda Civic is usually thought of as an economy car driven by the young and the old. The Neon filled a similar case and, just like the Civic, can be a good performance car when set up correctly. The ACR was a competition-ready version of the Neon, making it the ideal counter to the Civic Type R used by the Todo School.

Shingo: 1st-gen Dodge Neon R/T – The R/T wasn’t quite as aggressive as the ACR but was still a good car, making it a good counter to the EG6.

Iketani: Thunderbird SC – I wanted to feature the Thunderbird in this list at least once and the choice for Iketani’s car was what I decided on.

Kenji: Mercury Cougar XR7 – Just as the 180sx was platform mates with the Silvia, the Cougar shared platforms with the Thunderbird.

Mako: 3rd-gen Pontiac Firebird V6 Turbo (with Camaro front end swap) – Originally I chose an IROC Camaro, but then I received a suggestion that seemed a good choice. The Sileighty is named due to it being a 180sx with a Silvia front end, modified to reduce repair costs (fixed headlights vs. popups). Likewise, the Firebird had popup headlights while the Camaro had fixed lights. The idea of this one is to have an IROC front-end on the Firebird.

Bunta: GMC Syclone (repainted blue) – When hinting that he’ll get a new car, Bunta says that he will go with something with AWD. For this version, Bunta hints that he’ll get a small truck since he’s getting older and the Mustang is “for someone younger”.

Kai Kogashiwa: Pontiac Fiero GT – The MR2 was a car that took commuter car parts and made a sporty car with an FF driveline moved to the middle. The Fiero did similar making it a good choice as the alternate.

Team Emperor: 1st and 2nd Gen Eagle Talon TSis- In the US in the ’90s there were not many awd performance cars (let alone sedans) from America so a DSM will do.

If you made it here, one other tidbit. I like the idea of this alternate universe show being made around the same time as Initial D. I would want it to be animated and, it being an American animated show from the ’90s, the best choice for it would be the animation used by King of the Hill.

Sbzr
Sbzr
17 days ago

the fastest Uber eats delivery guys

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
17 days ago

Man, I’ve tried to get other gearheads I know into initial D and they just say they can’t watch cartoons and I’m like BROOOooooo. Honestly initial D is probably one of the best automotive series ever created.

World24
World24
17 days ago

Itsuki had a single cam AE85, didn’t he?! I’d rather bet he’d have the base 2L version of the Conquest before throwing him to the wolves of the psycho snake and a cat from hell!
For Keisuke, why not a Catfish Camaro? He wasn’t rocking a FC RX7, he was rocking an FD. If it was a FC, it’d make sense to have the 3rd gen.
And if Takumi is rocking a Fox body, I’d say either give his father a Thunderbird to keep it in America.
Of course, my car choices are based on the first season that I’m assuming was based in like ’92.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
17 days ago

I gotta disagree on the car assignments. Keisuke Takahashi (Ken Townsend) would have a C5 Z06 while Ryosuke (Randy Townsend) would drive a C4 ZR-1. Bunta (Bob Fuji) would have the Viper that you gave to Itsuki Takeuchi (Isaac Tanner), while Itsuki would drive a 4-cylinder Mustang like others have said. The Camaro would be Korichiro Iketani (Carson Inkster)’s car, and Takeshi Nakazoto (Tom Nicholson) would drive a GMC Cyclone. Ya boy Shingo (Samuel) would 100% start with a Probe GT and move on to a Neon SRT4, and Natsuki Mogi (Maggie Nord)’s, erm, “sponsor” would drive a Cadillac Fleetwood.

Last edited 17 days ago by Ricardo Mercio
Gubbin
Gubbin
17 days ago

[Whitesnake intensifies]

Professor Chorls
Professor Chorls
17 days ago

I’ll take several. As someone who regularly bombs up and down the Blue Ridge (not just the BRP but all around) in completely unsuitable vehicles, they definitely got the vibe right.

Citrus
Citrus
17 days ago

Other people said it already, but there is no way that Itsuki would be in a Viper – too broke, too stupid. He has to be in a worse Mustang, one of the four cylinder models.

I’d suggest a notchback LX with a 4-cyl. People do say that when that model has a 5.0 it’s the best one, and hearing that but not getting the 5.0 is a total Itsuki move.

Jason Kern
Jason Kern
17 days ago

The only issue I see with this idea is that if we were to “Americanize” Initial D, Takumi wouldn’t be driving a Foxbody 5.0. He’s probably be driving an Escort RS, since that fits the idea of it being an American AE86 more than a V8 muscle car. Alternatively, he still could drive a Foxbody Mustang, but he’d drive the Mustang SVO, which came with an inline-4 turbo instead of the standard V8.

Itsuki drove an AE85 in the original series that he fitted with a turbo, so he’d probably have a standard Escort.

Keisuke and Ryosuke both drove two different years of the RX-7, and if we wanna keep that up, I would probably say they would either drive two different years of the Viper or two different years of the Camaro (Ryosuke in an I-ROC Z actually sounds kinda cool).

Last edited 17 days ago by Jason Kern
Tiki Bunny
Tiki Bunny
17 days ago

Holy hell why do you do this to me so early in the morning. I’m not going to stop thinking about this now.

rctothefuture
rctothefuture
17 days ago

Great, now I want an Initial D Mustang.

Chewcudda
Chewcudda
17 days ago

How about medical transport instead of bull juice? Organs gotta get to the recipient quick too.

Alternatively, change the whole setting to the 1940s/50s, set it in The South and you don’t even have to explain what the cargo is.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
17 days ago
Reply to  Chewcudda

The hero car could be a ’39 Ford 5 window coupe, raspy flathead snarling as it slides around mountain dirt roads, with clinking jars faintly heard coming from the trunk… 😉

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
17 days ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Them good ol’ boys, never meanin’ no harm.

Maymar
Maymar
17 days ago

It wouldn’t cash in on the current Radwood Era nostalgia, but take the basic framework and drape the basic framework of the show over moonshine runners? I 100% assume there’d be bluegrass covers of modern pop songs as the soundtrack, maybe NASCAR would play a partnership role if there’s a plot line about characters trying to go legit.

Genewich
Genewich
17 days ago
Reply to  Maymar

As someone that lives in Appalachia, I can 100% confirm that the tradition of illegal moonshine continues. You don’t have to even go that far back in time.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
17 days ago
Reply to  Genewich

Not far at all: I personally knew a couple around 2000. Later met a just-retired ATF agent who told stories of busts up to 2008. Though I don’t drink or transport it, I enjoy driving dirt roads around the VA/WVA line in a Subaru as if I were moving a load

Sbzr
Sbzr
17 days ago
Reply to  Maymar

Fast and Furious Minus One

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
17 days ago

It needs some background characters, too! How about a couple of rival hydraulics gangs? Traditional low riders vs mini-truckers! Bed dancing vs hopping!

Vee
Vee
17 days ago

Itsuki’s broke as fuck, ain’t no way he’s affording either a Hellcat or a Viper. Considering Itsuki gets stuck with an AE85 it’d be fitting if he got the companion to the Mustang: The Fox Body Mercury Capri. With the inline four, of course.

Ryosuke and Keisuke would definitely be Lotus snobs. They value the light weight more than anybody, hence why they got with an FC an FD RX-7 respectively. So Ryosuke I think would have a Lotus Elan S2, and Keisuke would have the first generation Lotus Elise, eventually upgraded to be a like for like clone of the Exige.

Shingo would still drive a Civic. Because Cool Vibrations.

Bunta would drive something weird, no doubt. He chose the Trueno Sprinter originally because it was a car with a lot of potential that nobody saw. The American market equivalent of that would be, of course, the then brand new first generation Hyundai Tiburon. And as for the Subaru Impreza STI 22B he gets, what’s a better equivalent than a GMC Cyclone?

Kyoichi would definitely be rushing around in one of the early market Dodge Stealths, because he values AWD too much to ever give it up.

Also please for the love of god never make this.

Steve Balistreri
Steve Balistreri
17 days ago

I think this is a great idea but have a suggestion. Itsuki was broke, buying the base model AE86 which led to him being mocked, so I don’t think he could afford a viper. Maybe a Neon or Cobalt would fit him better.

Toecutter
Toecutter
17 days ago
Jj
Jj
17 days ago

Leave Netflix out of this.

They’ll just hand a blank check to Adam Sandler to produce more of his garbage – but this time he’ll be playing a mentally challenged person who drives a Mustang (instead of inheriting money, golfing, delivering water, loving Halloween…). What range.

Last edited 17 days ago by Jj
Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
17 days ago

In an alternate universe, our very own version of Captain Slow (the lovable Torch) finally owns a fast car and knows how to do a full send, is behind the wheel of that Mustang in the video. I mean the location and license plate certain lend an air of plausibility to it, amirite?

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
17 days ago

One thing that Initial D pointed out that missed on many who watch drifting. Drifting is not about speed, it is not faster than a standard race, it is about pression driving.

Plus hasn’t this been done, I am looking at a you FF franchise.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
17 days ago
Reply to  Arrest-me Red

My dude, they were literally racing in Initial D. It was believed at the time, that drifting during a touge was the faster way up or down the mountain. Not ever car in Intial D was even rear wheel drive, you had the Todo School squad and their sick collection of Civics.

And speed is real important in competitive drifting. Jumping out while in lead and forcing your chase to cut the corner to keep proximity is becoming plan A for big money, high horsepower teams.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
17 days ago

I have watched it. I remember on of the father’s racing buddies mention it was not faster. still racing. Good way to block you opponent though

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
17 days ago

The mustang fits, but i think it needs to be a 4-eye or SVO. The 4-eye fox is pre-HO and was oft overlooked in favor of the aero fox. The SVO, despite having things like 4 wheel disc brakes, 5 lug, better pedal placement, and similar power, never got the public attention. Plus the bi-wing svo just looks so good

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
17 days ago

SVO is the correct answer, it usually isn’t, but for this application it is.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
17 days ago

This has awful written all over it.

I can just imagine some horrendous mix of FF-shenanigans (ala Fiero-in-space) with Torque’s equally bad physics (motorcycle on a train) crossed with Michael Day explosions – net zero characterization. Effectively zero re-watchability, and cringeable first-view.

Please don’t.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
17 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold up. You mean you can’t sword fight with a motorcycle while simultaneously riding said motorcycle with shlocky soda ads filling the background?!

Is it wrong that absolutely adore Torque for being a ridiculous pile of crap, in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way? Nothing makes sense, the story is abysmal, the characters are generic cliches, yet somehow I just love watching it the same way I enjoy fail videos on YouTube.

Citrus
Citrus
17 days ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

Not wrong, Torque rules.

The thing with Torque is that it is actually a parody. That’s not just me making stuff up, everyone who worked on the film said that was their intent, to make a racing movie that was incredibly over the top and goofy to make fun of how the Fast/Furious series took itself. They might not have taken it far enough, since people do think their intent was genuine, but the stupidity is the point.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
17 days ago
Reply to  Citrus

They clearly needed to go much further when they parody a show who used duct tape as insulation from the hazards of space travel. What it showed was that FF continued to be a parody of itself, with Torque unable to get out from under the shadow that it didn’t go far enough.

Maybe if they had Steve Smith cameo a scene as Red Green to duct tape some motorcycles.

Citrus
Citrus
17 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Remember at the time that FF was a lot more grounded (hah!) and it was just a response to a Vin Diesel movie about VCR theft (and the sequel that wasn’t able to keep Vin Diesel at all). The actual series got increasingly ridiculous in the years since, so Torque wound up predicting the future.

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
17 days ago
Reply to  Citrus

Ha! I didn’t know that, but that’s fantastic! That seals the deal, Torque rules!

Chronometric
Chronometric
17 days ago

The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed well before dark but I guess you could sneak on it. Even at full drift it won’t get you anywhere fast but it does look fantastic.

And the Fox body aesthetic works well here.

JShaawbaru
JShaawbaru
17 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Closed? I’ve driven on it after dark several times, most recently last October near Asheville. I’ve heard of seasonal closures in certain areas, but never heard of any part of it closing at night.

Chronometric
Chronometric
17 days ago
Reply to  JShaawbaru

On one section I was traveling they closed the gates at dark. Maybe they were experiencing vandalism (or hooliganism) there.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
17 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I can attest that, at least from Peaks of Otter to Floyd Va, they don’t close the gates at night. Great meteor shower viewing up there!
Also, south of the 220 exit on Bent Mountain, they don’t even close it for snow 😉 (though we have seemingly fewer & fewer events producing it here)

Vee
Vee
17 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia have plenty of mountainous roads where people still race because even during daily driving they’re challenging. They’re likely more challenging than some of the fictional courses featured in Initial D because they were built without standards and paved in the ’90s, with some not benefiting from a full repave since. Imagine racing on a road where the cant is to the outside lane because it was originally a trail cut into the side of a mountain, meaning your car wants to lift on the inside even more.

Jason Kern
Jason Kern
17 days ago
Reply to  Vee

All of the courses used in Initial D were real roads, Akina was the only one that went by a fictional name, IRL it’s Mt. Haruna.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
17 days ago
Reply to  Vee

Love those roads: Old Waitville Rd near the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory is one of my regular routes up into WV to play in the mountains. Way less traveled than Back of the Dragon 🙂

Vee
Vee
17 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

It adds about four hours to go an additional hundred and twenty miles, but if you have to travel from Ohio to Pennsylvania or Maryland, take I-77 south, then get off at exit 170 and follow Route 14 to Grantsville, then north to Ellenboro. You still end up on Route 50 heading east at the end of it, but it’s some of the best driving. Especially in late summer when all of the trees are covering the road.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
17 days ago

NO, do not tell Netflix to adapt any more anime.

Alexk98
Alexk98
17 days ago

Counterpoint, you wont be able to hear the awful dialogue over endless V8 noises.

Arch Duke Maxyenko
Arch Duke Maxyenko
17 days ago
Reply to  Alexk98

Parry-point, you won’t be able to hear the V8 noises because the background music will drown out everything

Citrus
Citrus
17 days ago

Parry-point, Eurobeat rules.

Vee
Vee
17 days ago
Reply to  Citrus

Esquive, knowing American production companies all music will be Awkwafina and bad covers of ’70s rock because they can’t afford the rights to the real songs.

Citrus
Citrus
17 days ago
Reply to  Vee

If they try to make Initial D without Eurobeat, we riot.

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