The 86 RC was the latest rear-wheel drive sports car in the Toyota 86 line.
It was a pared-down 'blank canvas' version of the Toyota 86, designed for race enthusiasts who wanted to customise their own cars. It was also a bespoke production model, which was made to order only. That meant you couldn't visit a showroom to see one.
How to sell a car the public can't see? The answer was a New Zealand first. Sell the car online only via a bespoke car production and ordering website.
This sounds easy, but deserves recognition for a couple of good reasons. Firstly, Toyota was the first auto-manufacturer in the country to take this large, and somewhat scary step.
Secondly, there were massive complexities involved in the business model which had to be distilled down to a functioning, streamlined website that made the whole thing feel fun and easy for the consumer.
The 86 RC customiser achieved both goals.
The launch of the 86RC was announced on Facebook on 8 June 2013 to 12,000 dedicated 86 Club members. With a single-minded proposition of ‘excitingly simple', those classic petrol-heads and customisation enthusiasts were encouraged to visit and play with the 86 RC customiser, and then share their creations on social media. Their dream car could then be shared with friends, or ordered by simply clicking their mouse.
The idea was simple, but audacious. Give the consumers a blank canvas – basically the production vehicle's shell without any of the frills like air-con, a stereo or even a paint job – and then empower them to create their own version of the car online, with all changes made and seen in real time. The entire 'visible' parts catalogue was rendered to make sure that what they saw was what they got.
The website made the user feel like they were in a secret underground garage, where mechanical magic really could happen. Images of the 'media car' and of 86 RC's that people had made and bought were posted on the website to provide inspiration.