Executive Meddling: The translators working on the English version of the manga originally wanted a straight translation, but Tokyopop executives demanded various changes because they were "aiming for a younger audience than Japan". This resulted in the translators writing an open letter to the fans in which they joked about releasing the manga shrink-wrapped with White-Out and a felt-tip pen.
Additionally, they wanted even more significant changes including, but not limited to: removing the kanji from the show's logo and the car, changing "tofu" delivery to "pizza" delivery, and having Takumi renamed "Jeffery" because it was "easier to pronounce". In the end the translators elected to give everyone the "nicknames" used in the English versions of the Arcade Stage games. As a result, "Takumi" became "Tak", for instance.
Hey, It's That Voice!: If there's one thing this series is known for, it's its cast of very notable voice actors and actresses for the original Japanese version. Also, most of the cast have also been involved in a Gundam series either before, during, or after they voiced a role in Initial D.
No Export for You: With the expiration of Tokyopop's licenses to all the manga series it got from Kodansha (the publisher for the Japanese version of the manga), expect any manga volume of this series after Volume 33 to fall victim to this trope, taking into account that the chances of another company picking up the English distribution rights to the manga are currently looking very slim. However, Funimation only picked up licensing rights to all 3 TV Stages, and the Third Stage movie. Most of the [OVAs] aside from the first Extra Stage have also not been picked upnote the second Extra Stage and the 2 Battle Stages.
The fact that Battle Stage 2 wasn't picked up is a little disappointing because people will question what happened in those two hillclimb races in Fourth Stage that were not shown, especially the race against Sakai which was a pretty important race.
With Kodansha USA taking the torch from Del Rey it could be possible for licenses that expired under Tokyopop to be rescued, including Initial D. But that may have to wait until Kodansha USA actually announces something...
This series is what pushed it from "old used car" to "sought-after classic" both in Japan and the US; slightly subverted by the fact that the notchback coupe model is more sought-after than Initial D's hatchback due to a slightly stiffer shell.
And guess what? The notchback appears much later in the manga, driven by a young boy named Shinn.
What Could Have Been: Tokyopop had big plans for Initial D, which according to reports, was being eyed as their "marquee title". Indeed, other reports claimed that TP was intending to market it as "Speed Racer" for a new generation. They licensed it with the intention of turning it into a multi-media franchise. Besides a TV broadcast of the anime, it would have included various merchandise such as die-cast cars, video games, and "comics". North America did get all three, but besides there being no franchise to speak of, the comics were of course the original manga (i.e., which came first, and has ended in summer of 2013), which had been changed to be more like the anime, all because TP was going for "a younger audience than Japan". The "initial" DVD release had even been delayed because TP was trying to get the show on TV. Tokyopop did manage to get a Collectible Card Game licensed and released...